Georgia law allows car accident victims to pursue compensation based on their losses and injuries. This may be true in some cases, even if the accident is partially your fault. When a car accident occurs, there can be many factors that contribute to the collision itself. This usually involves one or more drivers acting negligently, often violating traffic laws.
Imagine a driver failed to yield at a green light while turning left. They turned in front of the oncoming vehicle, who was speeding. While the driver who failed to yield is primarily liable, the speeding driver may have contributed to the accident, as well.
Georgia Law Allows for Comparative Negligence
Georgia’s comparative negligence law, found under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 51-11-7, makes it possible for a person to seek and secure monetary damages after an accident as long as they are less than 50 percent liable for the accident. A judge or jury makes this decision at trial.
The monetary recovery due to this victim, though, will reflect their contribution to causing the accident. Using our previous example, imagine the judge says the driver who failed to yield is 80 percent liable while the victim who was speeding is 20 percent liable. The victim will be able to recover 80 percent of the fair value of their case.
If the victim has $100,000 in medical bills and losses, they will only be eligible to recover a payout worth $80,000 in court because of their role in causing or worsening the accident in question.
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Your Attorney Will Work To Minimize the Impact of Your Contributory Negligence
If the accident is partially your fault, it could significantly affect the settlement value of your case or the court award you qualify to recover. When you work with a car accident attorney who is familiar with Georgia tort law and comparative negligence in Georgia personal injury cases, they will recognize the possibility of this becoming an issue early on.
The insurance company that represents the other driver may try to push a larger portion of fault on to you or use statements you made against you. This tactic is one reason why car accident attorneys manage all communications with the insurance company—they can protect your right to fair compensation from the insurance company’s tricks and tactics.
Your legal team will also work to mitigate the damage done to your case by your contributory negligence. This tactic could include showing how your actions would not have changed the outcome of your case, minimizing the dangers associated with your actions, and taking other steps to show that the other driver caused your accident and injuries.
In some cases, this may be enough for the court to rule that contributory negligence was not a factor. In other cases, the court may rule that the drivers shared fault, but it could reduce the proportion of the fault attributed to the victim significantly.
Car Accident Victims Have a Right to Pursue Compensation
As long as you were 49 percent or less at fault in a Georgia car accident case, you have a right to take action and pursue a case against the driver who caused your accident. Per O.C.G.A § 9-3-33, you generally have two years to file a lawsuit based on a car accident in Georgia.
Your attorney will identify and collect evidence to show negligence and liability on the other driver’s part and may take steps to mitigate any claims of contributory negligence could have. They will also put a figure on the value of your damages, documenting losses that include:
- Medical treatment and any related expenses
- Lost income and benefits
- Reduced earning ability
- Repair or replacement of your vehicle
- Miscellaneous related expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other intangible losses
Certain family members can pursue wrongful death damages under Georgia law O.C.G.A § 51-4-2. If your family member died following car accident injuries, you may qualify to take steps to hold another party liable.
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Speak to a Member of Our Car Accident Team Today
At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we can review your Atlanta-area car accident case and help you understand the factors that could affect your ability to recover compensation and hold the other driver accountable. Our case reviews are free, and we accept car accident claims based on contingency.
Call (404) 888 – 8888 today to discuss your accident case for free with a member of our knowledgeable team. We will not avoid your case because of claims of contributory negligence or other potential complexities.