The law in Georgia stipulates that if you have sustained injuries due to another party’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation from them.
However, it is not always as straightforward as it requires determining the individual responsible and sometimes, the fault does not entirely lie in the hands of one party.
Even if multiple individuals were involved, and you bear some fault for the injury, does not mean that you are not eligible for recovering damages. This read aims to explain the concept of comparative negligence and how it can affect your personal injury lawsuit.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Every state across the United States has laws dictating how situations involving multiple parties in an accident are handled. In the case of a car accident, for example, the fault is not always apparent initially, usually because more than one motorist is to blame.
In some states, shared fault is handled through a contributory negligence system. This means that people are not eligible for compensation if they are responsible for the accident in any way, including just 1%.
Others follow the pure comparative negligence system, meaning parties are able to recover damages, no matter how much fault they had for the accident.
Georgia, however, as it is with most states, follows a comparative negligence system. The nuances may vary from place to place, but in the state, people can recover damages if they are less than 50% liable for the accident.
Any party that is 50% or more liable is not eligible for seeking compensation for property damage or injury expenses.
It is important to note that Georgia follows the modified comparative negligence principle. If a party was 49% or less responsible for the incident, they may recover the remaining award amount, referred to as partial compensation. This standard assigns a percentage of the fault to everyone involved, making them financially responsible for their part of the blame.
Comparative negligence in personal injury cases can sometimes be complex, and that’s why it is important to hire a lawyer with experience in this field. They can help you comprehend the role that negligence plays in your lawsuit and how comparative negligence comes into the picture.
How Does Comparative Negligence Law Affect My Case?
The principle of comparative negligence law can affect your injury lawsuit primarily in two ways:
- It dictates whether you have a viable claim. If you were primarily at fault, then you do not have legal grounds to claim compensation.
- The law affects the amount of settlement you can receive. If you were 49% or less responsible, then you may be able to receive some amount. However, the exact amount will depend on your percentage of responsibility. If you were not in any way at fault, then you would be eligible for 100% of the damages. However, if you were 30% at fault, then you can only be able to claim up to 70% of the losses.
The percentage can vary significantly and, as a result, affect how much settlement you can recover. A seasoned personal injury lawyer can help bring down your liability and protect your rights during the legal process.
How to Prove Negligence in Georgia
In order to succeed in proving negligence, the injured party must establish four essential elements. The injured party needs to show the following:
- That the alleged negligent party (the defendant) owed a duty of care to the injured party,
- That this duty was violated,
- That there is a direct link (“actual causal” connection) between the defendant’s actions and the resulting harm, OR “proximate causation” concerning whether the harm could have been reasonably anticipated, and
- That the defendant’s actions caused actual harm or damages.
All four of these elements have to be met so that you can have a robust case. Note that if you can’t prove duty and breach of duty, the causation and damages aspects will not be considered either.
Statute of Limitations
It is important to note that there’s a time limit for filing personal injury claims. In Georgia, this is generally two years. This means that individuals typically have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit.
However, it’s important to note that legal time limits can be subject to change, and it’s crucial to consult with a legal professional or check the most recent statutes to ensure accuracy.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer!
Sustaining injuries because of another party’s negligence can be a challenging and bewildering experience. The added concern that the other party might attempt to shift the blame onto you can amplify the difficulty.
As such, it is essential to have a Georgia personal injury lawyer who can assess the details of your case and advocate for the complete and just compensation you are entitled to receive.
At SHElaw firm®, we have decades of experience fighting for the rights of Georgia victims and have been successful in recovering millions for our clients. We provide highly personalized legal services, so you can rely on us to protect your rights and fight for justice. Contact us today at 470-378-1162 to get started.