Motor vehicle accidents involving multiple vehicles are common along Georgia’s congested highways. Any motor vehicle accident that causes injuries to the people involved is tragic. Multiple vehicle accidents present an added challenge in litigation and investigation because of the need to accurately sort out responsibility in the accident. This will, in turn, determine who is liable for paying damages at the end of the case.
Below, we will discuss what steps go into determining fault in a multi-vehicle accident in Georgia.
Comparative Negligence in Georgia
Georgia operates under a “modified comparative negligence” provision when assigning fault in a motor vehicle accident which means that compensation is determined based on the allocation of fault percentage. For example, if a driver is rear-ended while stopped at a red light, they are absolved of any fault and will receive 100% compensation.
In other rear-end accident, determining fault can be much more complicated. For example, if a driver is driving the speed limit but makes an unsafe lane change on a two-lane road. Then, suppose that another driver who is traveling over the speed limit fails to notice the driver’s unsafe lane change and rear-ends him/her causing an injury. While the driver who was speeding and inattentive is certainly at-fault, the driver who made an unsafe lane change may also be held partially responsible for the accident. But Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. Parties who are 50% or more at fault cannot recover any damages.
Comparative Negligence in Multiple Vehicle Accidents
When traffic is not moving, and a speeding vehicle crashes into a vehicle at the back of the chain of vehicles, momentum from the crash could cause the last car to collide with the car in front of it, which could then cause a chain reaction of rear-end accidents. Several people involved in a scenario such as this one could be injured, and none of them would be at fault.
Separately, suppose traffic is halted suddenly because the car leading a chain stopped for no apparent reason, and a multiple-car pile-up occurs. The driver who halted for no reason could be held partially liable for the injuries caused by the accident.
This situation becomes even more complex in situations where there is an accident involving multiple vehicles all of which are moving. When tailgating is a contributing factor in a chain reaction accident, each driver who is determined to be following too closely while in motion would share liability for the injuries caused to the driver ahead of them.
Multiple vehicle accidents that occur in stop and go traffic present complicated scenarios of comparative negligence. In stop-and-go traffic, drivers are not held responsible for following a vehicle too closely if traffic is stopped. On the other hand, if traffic is moving, comparative negligence comes into play. This becomes even more complicated in situations where some cars are moving, and others are not.
Proving Liability In A Multi-Vehicle Accidents
To establish negligence in a multi-vehicle accident, the personal injury lawyers at Jackson Law Offices will need to prove another driver’s duty of care, a breach of that duty, legal causation, and damages. In some cases, it may be necessary to call on the assistance of an accident reconstruction expert to establish each driver’s fault percentage in the accident. Experts can examine the damage to each vehicle, police reports, skid marks, and witness testimonies to help them establish fault.
Accidents involving multiple vehicles often involve multiple drivers who are partially at-fault. If more than one driver is at-fault in an accident, comparative negligence will come into play. Under modified comparative negligence, the jury will evaluate the total damages of the accident and assign fault to each party involved. Based on this percentage, recovery will be reduced an injured person’s recovery will be reduced.
In some multiple vehicle accidents, joint, and “several liability” can come into play. However, according to Georgia state law, a judge or jury must apportion its award of damages among the persons who are liable according to the percentage of fault of each person.
Involved in a Multi-Vehicle Accident? Speak With Our Car Accident Attorneys
Multi-vehicle accidents can be very complex and hard to understand without the assistance of the motor vehicle accident lawyers at Jackson Law Offices. We can work with accident reconstruction experts and help you understand the laws that are associated with your accident. Our personal injury lawyers care about their clients and are willing to go the extra mile to help them in any way that they can. Can’t come to us? We’ll come to you. Your initial case evaluation with us is free. Contact us today.