If you are injured in an accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, then you should be compensated. The principle seems simple, however accidents are not always black-and-white when it comes to determining fault and, in many cases, both parties may share fault. When liability is split, what impact does that have on your ability to collect damage reparations? The answer lies in “comparative fault” laws.”
All fifty states recognize one of three types of comparative fault legislation: contributory negligence, comparative fault, and slight/gross negligence comparative fault. The state of Georgia falls into the middle category:comparative fault. Under this system, a plaintiff can pursue compensation for damages as long as they are found to be 49% at fault or less. Georgia’s bar is set at 50%.
What does this mean? This means if you are injured and pursue damages, you are eligible to recover damages only if you are found to not have been the principle contributor to the accident. However, if you are found to be partially at fault, this also means your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you are found to be 50% at fault or higher, you are not eligible to recover compensation.
COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE’S EFFECT ON YOUR CLAIM
Let’s say, for example, you were injured in a car accident by a drunk driver after rolling through a stop sign without stopping. You are hospitalized for three days recovering from severe whiplash, and your car has been demolished.
Now, this automatically would seem like the other driver would be entirely at fault since they were driving while intoxicated, which is highly illegal, right? Not exactly. In this example, because you rolled through a stop sign without coming to a complete stop, the accident is no longer entirely the other party’s fault, and you have instead been given 20% fault for the incident by investigators and adjustors.
Your insurance company will then pursue the other driver’s insurance company for the costs of your medical bills, car replacement, and other expenses, minus the 20% for which you were responsible. That 20% will then be covered by your own policy (if you have one), up to its coverage limits. After this, any additional expenditures are your responsibility directly.
This is just one general example. If you are injured as a result of a premises hazard or any other form of negligence, different factors can have an effect on what percentage of fault is assigned to you and therefore influence whether or not you are eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries. Whenever facing a serious injury claim due to the negligent behavior of someone else, you should always consult with a Georgia personal injury attorney for assistance with your case.
The skilled lawyers at McMahan Law Firm, LLC have extensive experience with a wide range of personal injury cases. Our legal team has, on average, recovered more than $3 million in relief for our clients per year since the business was founded. We are also proud to have a 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo and an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. They are located in Dalton, Georgia, and are proud to represent clients from Dalton and the surrounding areas.
For help with your personal injury claim, call McMahan Law Firm, LLC at (706) 956-2395 or contact our firm online today to request a free, confidential case evaluation today.