Comparative Negligence in Auto Accidents in Georgia

find out how comparative negligence influences your car accident claim

Most people are aware that a Decatur car accident lawyer can help them get compensation after a crash caused by another driver. However, they do not know how the comparative negligence principle applies to auto accidents in Georgia.

This is why they are often surprised when the attorney tells them that they are not likely to get the exact amount of damages stated in the demand letter. This is why it is important to understand how the law works.

Defining the Concept of Negligence in Car Accident Cases

Anyone can make a mistake, without intention, simply out of negligence. However, if their mistake causes injuries and economic damages to another person, they are liable to compensate that person for their losses.

This is, in a nutshell, the concept of negligence applicable to all personal injury cases, including auto accidents. But let us elaborate on it a little more. In order to file a claim, you need to prove four key elements:

  • That the other driver owed you a duty of care – this is an implicit obligation for anyone using public roads
  • That they breached their duty through negligence – again, there is no need to prove the existence of a malicious intent
  • That their negligence caused the accident where you suffered injuries
  • That your injuries resulted in economic damages

What Is Comparative Negligence in Georgia?

Now, when it comes to deciding who has the right to file a claim, there are two principles used across the United States:

  • Simple comparative negligence – the party who is less than 50% at fault can file a claim
  • Modified comparative negligence – the party who is less than 51% at fault can seek damages
  • Pure comparative negligence – only the party who is 0% at fault has the right to recover damages

The state of Georgia applies a simple comparative negligence principle in determining who can file an insurance claim after an auto accident. You have to be 49% or less at fault in order to have the right to seek damages.

you must prove the other driver's fault to obtain compensation

How the Comparative Negligence Principle Influences Your Compensation Amount

Accident victims who consult with a Decatur car accident lawyer have to bring evidence related to their case to their initial consultation. The attorney will examine the evidence in order to establish:

  • If it is possible to identify the other driver
  • If the other driver was negligent in causing the accident
  • If the potential client contributed to the crash through negligence of their own

You can be certain that the other driver’s insurance company is also conducting this type of analysis, striving to find reasons to increase your percentage of fault. Why? The answer is: because your damages will be reduced by the percentage of your contributory fault.

Here is a simple example. Your total damages – economic and non-economic damages – are evaluated at $100,000. Due to the fact that you were not aware that one of your car signals was not working, you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident. Therefore, you are eligible to collect only $80,000 in damages.

What Is the Role of an Attorney in an Auto Accident Case?

Obviously, given the principle of reducing damages explained above, insurance companies have a vested interest to increase your proportion of fault. Even if you have a very clear case, you will not get a fair compensation amount and the claim process will not be simple at all without legal representation.

Your lawyer knows the same facts as the insurance adjuster and has an in-depth knowledge of the law. And their vested interest is to make sure that you get fair compensation. They will find ways to present the evidence in the true light, which reduces your percentage of fault.

Often, when faced with a plaintiff without a lawyer, adjusters will not shy away from lying and making exaggerated interpretations of evidence, if they feel they can get away with it. This is why you should not try to fight this legal battle alone.

Bring Your Evidence to an Experienced Decatur Car Accident Lawyer!

Do not delay seeking legal help, because the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is two years after the date of your accident.

 

A Decatur car accident lawyer at The Weinstein Firm is the only ally you have in an auto accident claim. They know how to apply the comparative negligence principle to the facts of your case and show that the other driver was more at fault than you. Call us to schedule a free case review at 770-HELP-NOW!

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