If you or somebody you care about them has ever sustained an injury in an accident, you may have been able to recover compensation through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit. In general, Georgia injury victims are entitled to compensation from any party who was responsible for causing their injuries in the first place. However, there are times when injury victims contribute in some way to the accident that causes their injury. In these cases, injury victims often wonder whether or not they will be able to secure any compensation at all. Georgia operates under a modified comparative negligence system, and we want to define this for you.
Modified comparative fault laws
Vehicle accidents are rarely cut and dry, and liability can be difficult to establish. Sure, sometimes it is clear that one person is 100% at fault for an incident, but that is not always the case. If there is a dispute about liability, most states will use some form of comparative negligence to determine liability. In some states, drivers are not able to recover any compensation in the event they shared any fault for the incident, even just 1%. In other states, drivers can recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault. There are some states that operate under a “no-fault” system for car accidents, which means drivers will turn to their own insurance carriers for compensation, regardless of who caused the crash.
Georgia, however, operates under a “modified comparative negligence” system. In this state, an injury victim can recover compensation in the aftermath of an accident so long as they were less than 50% to blame for the incident that caused the injury. The legal system can be confusing and complicated to navigate during an injury claim, our Senoia personal injury lawyers have decades of experience representing accident victims and helping them recover the compensation that they deserve. Contact us to discuss your accident and your legal options.
Can I recover compensation if I was partially at fault for the accident?
Yes, you can recover compensation if you are partially at fault for an accident in Georgia. As we just mentioned, this is allowed under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence laws. So long as you are not 50% or more responsible for the incident, you can recover compensation. However, the total amount of compensation you are awarded will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. Let us take a look at a theoretical example to see how this may work.
Suppose Alex is rear-ended by Matthew. Unfortunately, Alex sustains a traumatic brain injury that results in him incurring $100,000 in total medical bills, lost income, and out-of-pocket expenses. In general, rear-end accidents are usually the fault of the rear driver that caused the incident. In this case, it would be tempting to lay fault completely on Matthew. However, suppose that Alex’s tail lights were out in his vehicle, and Matthew argues that this was the actual cause of the crash.
Here, we have a scenario where both parties likely share fault. Matthew should have been driving a safe distance behind Alex in order to avoid a potential crash, but Alex is responsible for ensuring that his tail lights are working. In this theoretical scenario, it is not out of the realm of possibilities that it will be determined that Alex was 30% responsible for the incident. Therefore, he may only receive $70,000 in compensation instead of the full $100,000. While this is $30,000 lower than his damages, this accounts for his 30% of the fault for the incident.