Car accidents have a devastating impact on our society every year. For example, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that of the 37,461 car accident fatalities that occurred in the United States in 2016, 3%, 1,233 fatalities, were children ages 14 and younger. Moreover, about 9% of all car accident fatalities that year were drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 years old.
Despite these statistics, car crashes will continue to occur due to human error or just plain carelessness. As such, you need to be aware of some of the unique car accident laws in our state, which will allow you to be prepared if you are ever involved in an auto accident.
Insurance Laws in Georgia
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11, Georgia law requires owners and operators of motor vehicles to carry $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, 50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident, $25,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident. The insurance required by law is used to pay for injuries sustained by another driver in an accident you caused, and property damage that occured due to an accident that was your fault.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance Laws in Georgia
As a driver, you are not required to carry uninsured motorist(UM) coverage, but your insurance company is required to offer it to you in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11. The minimum uninsured motorist policy limits must at least be the same as the state minimum insurance requirements for every driver.
Meaning, if you elect to carry uninsured motorist insurance, your insurance company must offer a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury UM coverage per person, $50,000 in bodily injury UM coverage per accident, and $25,000 in property damage UM coverage per accident. Moreover, if you elect not to carry uninsured motorist insurance, you have to reject this option in writing.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Georgia
In Georgia, it is possible for both drivers to be deemed at fault in an accident pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 51-1-2. This is known as comparative negligence, and in the end, each driver can be assigned a percentage of fault that indicates the amount of responsibility they had in causing an accident. A finding of shared fault will diminish any recovery the prevailing driver is awarded by a jury.
The 50/50 Comparative Negligence Rule in Georgia
Moreover, if it is found that both drivers share an equal amount of responsibility in causing an accident, neither driver or their insurance carrier will be forced to pay anything. This scenario is typically referred to as a “50/50 fault” scenario and can have a devastating impact on an injured motorist’s case.
Comparative Negligence Laws for Pedestrians in Georgia
The same standard that is applied to accidents involving vehicles is also applied to car accidents involving pedestrians. A pedestrian can be found to have been partially responsible for causing the car accident under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-2, and as a result, receive a diminished recovery. Moreover, the 50/50 fault rule is often used in an effort to eliminate a pedestrian’s claim entirely, which is why having legal representation in pedestrian accident case is so important.
Aggressive Driving Laws in Georgia
In some states, while aggressive drivers are charged with the contributing offenses, there is no law against aggressive driving per se. However, 15 states, including Georgia, have passed legislation making aggressive driving a separate crime. In Georgia specifically, any driver that operates a vehicle with the intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person could be charged with aggressive driving, which is considered a misdemeanor offense in our state.
If a driver is found to be engaging in an illegal activity that resulted in an accident, this factor can have a significant impact on any claims brought against that driver as a result of the accident, because the illegal act is considered an “aggravating factor” that can increase the level of negligence the driver exhibited which in turn caused the accident to occur. This rule also applies to accidents caused by drivers committing DUI, reckless driving, etc.
Georgia Car Accident Lawyer
Every state has its own unique set of car accident laws, and each state is different. Gaining an intimate understanding of these laws can take years of education and real life experience, which is why you should always contact a car accident attorney if you are involved in car accident. At Cambre and Associates, our team of car accident attorneys have dedicated their careers to helping individuals involved in car accidents seek justice, and we stand ready to help you. So call our office today for a free consultation with car accident attorney that will fight to protect your rights.