Understanding Georgia’s Comparative Negligence Standard
If you or a loved one was seriously injured a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle wreck, or any other preventable accident, you will need to prove two things to prevail in court – negligence and causation. These are two of the four elements of personal injury liability and the injured party must establish these elements by a preponderance of the evidence.
But what happens if there is evidence that both you and the other party share fault for causing the accident? For example, what if you attempted to cross the street outside of a designated crosswalk and wound up getting hit by a car? Can you still pursue a personal injury claim for your harms and losses? The answer is yes.
In Georgia, there is a law known as comparative negligence that allows an injured party to pursue a recovery of economic and non-economic damages, even if they were partially at-fault for causing an accident. However, the amount you actually recover will likely be affected if comparative negligence is established
Georgia Adheres to a Modified Comparative Negligence Standard
Under Georgia law, an injured party can recover economic and non-economic damages if they were partially responsible for causing the accident, but only up to a certain point. If a jury determines that you were 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, you will be prohibited from recovering anything.
This is why it is so critical to hire an experienced and skilled Georgia personal injury lawyer who can build an effective and persuasive case to demonstrate the other party was more at-fault than you in causing the accident.
Establishing negligence requires a thorough, detailed investigation of your accident, which includes reviewing police reports and eyewitness statements, working with expert witnesses and taking depositions of relevant parties.
The Percentage of Fault Influences the Amount You Can Recover Through a Claim
If you get past the modified comparative standard and were deemed to be 49 percent or less at fault for the accident, this assessment still influences the final settlement or judgment you can receive. This is because the percentage of fault proportionally reduces the amount that is recoverable. For example, if a jury determines you were 25 percent at fault, your financial recovery will be reduced by 25 percent as well.
For example, if you have medical bills and lost wages totaling $20,000 and the defendant can prove you were 25 percent at fault, then you could only reasonably expect to recover $15,000 instead of the full $20,000. That difference can mean quite a lot when you are struggling to pay large medical expenses and other bills. This is where a seasoned trial attorney can play a major role in improving your chances of achieving a financial recovery.
Speak to an Experienced Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer Today
When liability is contested, or there is evidence of comparative negligence, you need to have an experienced and aggressive attorney on your side. Gillette Law, P.A. is here to help. Charlie J. Gillette, Jr. provides comprehensive legal representation and first-hand insight into the personal injury claim process. Contact Gillette Law today to schedule a free, confidential case review.