By: Cheryl D. Kelly, Georgia Accident Lawyer
In order to recover damages after an auto accident in Georgia a person must typically show that another driver was negligent and that the negligence caused the accident. Negligence generally means the failure to exercise the appropriate level of care while doing something (e.g.: driving a car in Georgia). For instance, while driving a car, you must follow all applicable laws and failure to do so is considered negligence. However, in many states, including Georgia, if the party seeking such recovery was partially to blame (meaning they were also acting negligently), he or she may be limited or stopped from recovery altogether. The terms typically used for this rule are “comparative negligence” or “contributory negligence.”
What is the comparative negligence rule in Georgia?
In short, a party may recover financial compensation for damages sustained in a Georgia car accident if he or she is determined to be less than 50 percent at-fault for the accident. If the party is 50 percent or more at-fault for the accident, he or she is not entitled to compensation for damages sustained in the accident. If the party with less fault recovers, his or her recovery may be reduced based upon the party’s level of fault contributing to the accident.
Example: Driver A merges into the adjacent lane without using a turn signal. Driver B is driving in the adjacent lane, speeding and collides with the rear end of Drive A’s car. Driver A may be considered 25 percent at-fault and Driver B may be considered 75 percent at-fault. At trial, Driver A’s compensation will likely be reduced by 25 percent if the insurance company can prove Driver A was 25 percent at-fault for the accident. (If a jury awards $10,000.00, it will be reduced to $7,500.00).
Why is it important to hire an experienced Georgia accident lawyer to establish who was negligent in your case?
After a Georgia auto accident, time is of the essence. In order to get your car repaired or replaced, the at-fault driver’s insurance must first determine whether their driver was truly at-fault, and whether you were partially at-fault, for the accident. Hiring an experienced attorney is the best way to streamline the process so you do not have to suffer without transportation. Delay in establishing fault can also lead to delay on getting necessary medical treatment. Auto insurance companies will use any evidence they can against an auto accident claimant to deny the claim or to pay as little as possible. If there is evidence that an injured person is partially at-fault for the accident, this factor is typically used during settlement negotiations. Claimants that do not hire attorneys to handle their cases and negotiate their recovery are frequently denied recovery on this basis. If your claim does not settle, and the case must be presented to a jury, the jury may consider the relative negligence level of each party, and your recovery will be reduced if it is determined that you are partially at-fault. You will not recover anything if it is determined that you are 50 percent or more at-fault for the accident. It is important to hire a respected and experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer to fight the insurance company to get the most compensation in your Georgia auto accident case.
At C. Kelly Law, LLC our job is to help you prove that you were not at-fault in an accident and to show that you are entitled to financial recovery for your damages. Submit your Georgia auto accident case today for a FREE evaluation!