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A potential client called and was involved in a car accident. Prior to calling, The potential client attempted to settle the claim without the assistance of legal guidance. The client received a ticket for slightly speeding. The other driver received a ticket for failure to yield.
Later on after the insurance adjuster had completed the investigation it was determines that both parties were at fault.
According to the investigation the other driver was 80% at fault and the young man was 20% at fault. The potential client was incredulous because according to him he did nothing wrong, therefore how can he possibly be to blame for the accident.
This is a common tactic insurance companies use to shift the balance to pay out less on a claim. Patience and persistence are the best approach to navigate the situation especially when the law and facts are on your side.
There are tons of nuances in the law that are sometimes difficult to understand. The fact that someone received a ticket is not absolute proof that they are 100% at fault- the facts specific to the incident will show who is at fault. If the alleged at fault driver pleas guilty and pay a fine, that is an admission and can serve as concrete evidence in a civil claim for damages.
It is crucial to determine what the insurance company investigation revealed and the bases for there determination on fault.
Possibly the insured gave a false version of events that the insurer relied on. This can easily be refuted via testimony from an independent witness (if one exist) or video recordings.
Also, Georgia law is clear on failure to yield citations which states:
"The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.”
This is important because it means that a driver must yield the to ALL traffic from the opposite direction, then proceed when it is (only) safe to do so.
If there is no ambiguity in terms of who had a right to proceed the insurance company claim of comparative negligence can likely be proven false at trial.
While comparative negligence can successfully be claimed in many instances the other driver would have to convince the court that you were even slightly at fault.
If you have collision coverage on your insurance policy, your insurance carrier is obligated to repair your vehicle, and the will seek reimbursement from the other drivers insurance company. If you don’t have collision coverage, it will create a huge problem for you to repair your vehicle.