Determining who is at fault for a car crash is a very important step, as fault influences insurance claims and also whether or not an injury victim can file a lawsuit. The police officers responding to the initial report of a crash will have to carefully evaluate the situation to establish who is at fault, at least, preliminarily. What they include in their report will affect the insurance claims process and someone’s likelihood of success if they have to go to court for compensation. Either negligent behavior or violations of traffic laws can make someone the party at fault for a wreck.
Is it true that the driver who rear-ends another vehicle is always to blame for such crashes?
The driver in the back is often at fault
Exactly how police officers, insurance adjusters and the courts view a crash will depend on the specifics of the situation. Generally speaking, officers will often assume that the driver in the rear was to blame for a rear-end crash unless there are unusual circumstances. Georgia traffic laws include a statute specifically prohibiting following someone too closely, so motorists that cause rear-end crashes often get a ticket for driving too close and will therefore end up responsible for the wreck.
Of course, it is possible for the others involved in such crashes to contribute to or cause them. For example, someone might slam on the brakes and swerve into another lane of traffic simultaneously, giving the party in the lane that they enter no time to respond to their actions. Those involved in rear-end collisions often need to ensure that the police officer writing the report for the wreck is aware of exactly what happened before the crash so that they can reach the right conclusion.
What if a police officer gets it wrong?
Sometimes, despite training and an understanding of state law, police officers will still make mistakes when designating fault after a car crash. Occasionally, motorists will need to defend themselves against personal injury claims by proving the other driver was actually at fault or raise questions about the accuracy of a police report so that they can make an insurance claim against the driver who actually caused the wreck.
Reviewing the circumstances of a collision with a Georgia attorney can help someone establish if they are in a position to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit to cover their expenses.