One of my clients (lets call him Rob) came to see me after he was rear-ended in downtown Macon while on his way home from work. Thankfully, he was not too seriously injured, and it looks like he will fully recover.
While discussing the details of the accident with Rob, he told me something that I've heard quite a few times from clients in similar wrecks – “If the other driver hit me from behind, then he is at fault, right?”
Surprisingly, the answer is sometimes “No.” There are times when the person who rear-ends another car is not the driver at fault.
The issue of who is at fault in any car wreck is almost always going to be somewhat disputed. For example, if a car stops suddenly and unexpectedly for no apparent reason and is struck in the rear, then, depending on the circumstances, the driver of the rear vehicle may not be at fault, or may only be partially at fault. Another example is a car that stops suddenly but doesn't have working rear brake lights. Again, the driver who rear-ends the car without lights may be found to be partially at fault or not at fault at all. In situations such as these a jury may have to decide the issue of who is at fault. In Georgia, as in most states, these types of disputed issues are usually issues for juries to decide, and they get it right nearly every time.
Like me, clients usually want clear answers, but law rarely makes things clear and easy. Instead, under our Constitution, we let juries decide most factual matters, even where it may seem that the facts are pretty one-sided.
If you have been in a rear end collision and need help, feel fee to contact our office at 478-238-9758 for a free legal consultation.