Equal fault after getting rear ended while stopped?

by Sondra
(Marietta, Georgia)

I was backing out of a parking space and a car rear ended me. I talked to his insurance and my insurance company. My company said to see what his company says about fault and call them back (being that I clearly thought, and still think, that he's at fault because he struck me after I stopped my vehicle).

His company stated that after speaking with both parties they found that it was equal fault. I then contacted my company again. They came out to do an estimate and said damages were around $468. Me being naive to how insurance companies work (with the estimates - that's just an initial "first estimate"), I figured well I may as well pay for it myself being that my deductible is $500.

Knowing what I know now I would have taken the car and got my own preliminary estimate. This was in Sept. 2014. Is it to late to get compensation/repairs for this accident? Did I pass the statute of limitation for this? Is this really an equal fault accident? Thank you for any perspective you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Equal fault after getting rear ended while stopped?":

Sondra (Marietta, Georgia):

Under Section 9-3-32 of the Georgia Code, statute of limitations for personal property damage is four (4) years. To read the actual law go to this page, agree to the terms, then enter 9-3-32 in the search box.

As you can see, it is not too late for you to file a claim with the other driver's insurance company. However, if you are able to recover any amounts for your property damage, your insurance company will likely ask you to reimburse them for the amount the already paid to you.

If you want to proceed with a claim, go back to the insurance information you likely exchanged at the time of the collision. Contact the driver's insurance company and tell them you want to file a property damage claim. You will subsequently be contacted by an insurance claims adjuster.

At that point, the adjuster will likely ask for photos, estimates of repair, and receipts. The adjuster may also want to take your recorded statement. After reviewing the facts, it's likely the adjuster will again tell you the insurance company believes you were 50 percent at fault.

The State of Georgia follows the modified comparative negligence rule. This means in a car accident, the victim's recovery of compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company can be decreased proportionately to the percentage of the victim's own negligence.

However, if the percentage of the victim's own negligence is determined to be 50 percent or more, the victim is barred from recovery of any amount from the at-fault driver. Learn more about 50% modified comparative fault here.

Whether or not this was really an equal fault accident is usually determined by the insurance company asked to pay for the victim's damages. In your case, the issue is solely about property damage.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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