You may be at fault in a car accident if you did not have the right of way. The law enforcement officer who responds to the scene will determine who had the right of way and whether a traffic citation should be issued. Then, insurance companies will conduct their own investigation to decide who they think is at fault. If you file a lawsuit, a jury or judge may make the final decision.
Fault is important because if you are at fault, your car insurance must pay the entire cost of the accident for everyone else who was involved. If you are not at fault, you will be able to recover all your costs from the other driver’s insurance. If you have been injured in a car accident, an experienced car accident lawyer can explain whether you have a valid claim and how you can get money for your injuries.
What is “right of way” and what does it have to do with fault?
“Right of way” rules decide which car has the right to travel on a road, and which car must wait, or “yield,” and let the other one go first. For example, if you are making a right turn on red, the cars that are already traveling on the street you plan to turn onto will have the right of way. You must stop and wait for those cars to pass before you can make your turn. Right of way rules eliminate confusion and help prevent accidents.
When accidents happen, investigators look at who had the right of way. For example, if you hit another car while turning right on red, the investigators might decide you were at fault because you did not have the right of way—the other car did. It is not uncommon for police officers and insurance companies to decide fault based on who had the right of way.
But there are many accidents where right of way only tells part of the story. There may be other factors involved, and the accident may actually have happened because the driver who did have the right of way was careless, or “negligent.” For instance, in the right turn on red example, you might have been perfectly clear to make the turn. The accident might have happened because a speeding car zoomed through the intersection and cut across three lanes of traffic before slamming into you.
This is why it’s so important to have a car accident law firm in Atlanta, Georgia representing you if you have been injured in an accident involving right of way issues. A lawyer knows how to investigate an accident and what to look for in determining who is really responsible.
If the accident is not my fault, what money can I recover?
You can recover money for all the effects of the accident. This includes your bills for healthcare, prescriptions and rehabilitation. It includes paychecks you missed and the cost of fixing your car or buying another one. If you were more seriously injured, you may get money for pain, disabilities or a diminished quality of life.
The insurance company has a legal obligation to pay you this money, but you can expect it to do whatever it can to reduce the amount or avoid paying altogether. The insurance company may say you were at fault just because someone else had the right of way, without looking at other factors. It may say you weren’t really hurt, or weren’t hurt badly. And it may try to get you to take the blame.
It’s hard to spot these tactics, let alone know what to do about them. This is why we recommend you talk to a car accident lawyer before you try to negotiate with the insurance company, give a statement, or take any money. With a lawyer on your team, you stand to recover much more than you would receive by yourself.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
We don’t believe in charging a fee unless we win you money. Let our experienced car accident lawyers give you a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and explain the steps to take to recover the money you need. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.