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Proving Liability for Auto Collisions


Under Georgia law, recovering compensation for injuries sustained in an automobile accident requires the claimant or plaintiff to prove the liability of the other driver.  The elements that a personal injury plaintiff must prove in order to recover compensation include duty, negligence, causation, and damages.  What that means is that the plaintiff has to show that the at-fault driver owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, failed to satisfy that duty by acting negligently or carelessly and that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the plaintiff to suffer from injuries and incur damages.

Oftentimes, people who are involved in car accidents are severely injured, but the question of who is liable for or who caused the collision can prevent recovery of compensation.  In other words, simply being injured in an automobile wreck does not entitle you to recover compensation.  Where there is a question as to who is at fault for the wreck, the expertise of an attorney is helpful.

To prove liability, your injury attorney should investigate the surrounding circumstances of the wreck by gathering information from eyewitnesses, obtaining police reports, videos, 911 tapes, photographs, and cell phone records, and looking at the crash site (or even hiring an expert engineer to look at the crash site).  Sometimes, even when the other driver receives a citation, he or she can still deny liability by pleading not guilty to the charge; and, often, his or her car insurance company will also deny liability based on the at-fault driver’s word.  Or, even worse, you could be the one who wrongfully received the citation!

Other evidence that could assist with liability could be found in records of the other driver’s habitually bad driving or criminal or arrest records.  That information would not necessarily establish liability for the wreck at hand but could help you in showing that the other driver is a bad witness for the defense.  Such information could turn an insurance company that is denying liability.

If liability is disputed before trial and all during the trial, then the ultimate decider of liability based on the facts and evidence is the jury.  A jury can take all of the evidence that both sides present as to liability into consideration and determine if the other driver is at fault for the collision.  If the jury finds that the other driver is at-fault for the wreck, then the jury moves on to determine if the wreck caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and, if so, how much the plaintiff should be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and the question of whether the other driver is at fault for the collision is in dispute, call The Davis Injury Firm at (404) 647-0722 for a consultation with an attorney.