In Georgia, comparative negligence is the standard the judges use to assign fault by a percentage in a personal injury matter. If someone else injured you, comparative negligence allows the civil courts to consider the level of negligence you contributed to the accident as compared to the defendant.
Comparative negligence matters because it can affect the award you receive from an insurance settlement or lawsuit in Georgia, per O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33. For cases where you contributed 50 percent or more of the negligence to the accident, you cannot recover any money.
Limiting Your Liability After an Accident
Since the opposing party can attempt to place blame on you as a defensive strategy, you may need to present evidence in your case that clearly defines the amount of liability you and the other party each had. When you partner with a personal injury lawyer on your case, they can work to produce such evidence for you.
Your lawyer can also preserve evidence, investigate the facts, and establish a case theory. They can also communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. Remember, if the responsible party’s insurance company contacts you after your accident, they may be able to use your statements to reduce or deny your claim.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
You May Be Able to Win Your Case Even if You Are Partially Responsible
With comparative negligence, it may still be possible for you to win your personal injury case even if you are partially responsible. However, the insurance company or judge may reduce your overall monetary award by your percentage of fault.
For example, pretend that you are injured in a car accident by another driver. The jury finds that you were speeding, which played a significant role in the accident. It decides that your total recoverable losses are $100,000 but establishes you were 40 percent at fault. In this arbitrary scenario, your payout may be reduced by 40 percent to $60,000.
As you can see, there is a possibility that you may lose a portion of your financial award based on what the opposing party’s insurance company can prove. Personal injury cases are seldom black-and-white.
Proving Liability in Your Case
Winning your case may require you to establish and prove the four elements of a negligent action. In its simplest form, negligence is the act of someone acting carelessly or recklessly toward you. It may become a civil case when you experience an injury and lose money as a result of negligence.
Accordingly, you may need to prove the following in order to recover compensation in your personal injury case:
- Defendant’s duty of care: the first element to establish is that the defendant owed you the responsibility of acting safely or providing a hazard-free environment.
- Duty breached: if the defendant failed to meet that duty, he or she is acting negligently, willful, or otherwise. This is called a breach in the duty of care.
- Negligent cause of injury: if you or a family member were injured, you must show that the defendant’s negligence was a significant contributing factor.
- Financial damages ensued: without verifiable financial losses, you do not have an actionable claim. As such, it is imperative to obtain immediate medical attention early on. You do not want the defendant to claim that your inaction caused your injuries to become worse.
A personal injury attorney can gather evidence to demonstrate that these elements were true in your case when they represent you.
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Call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation on Your Case
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers represents car accident victims in the Atlanta area. When we work together on your case, our firm can:
- Answer your questions and design a legal strategy for your case
- Investigate your accident
- Defend you against unfair allegations of fault
- Collect evidence of the responsible party’s liability
- Hire an accident reconstruction expert to testify in your defense
- Negotiation with the responsible party’s insurance company
- Take your case to trial, if necessary
This may allow us to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
For a free consultation on your case with a member of the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, call us today at (678)-562-5595 now. We will be happy to discuss your accident, your legal options, and how comparative negligence may factor into your case. Bader Scott Injury Lawyers offers representation on a contingency-fee-basis with no up-front payment required.