Accidents happen every day. Car crashes, dog bites, falls on property in disrepair and more are common occurrences that can leave victims with lasting injuries and growing bills.
In every state, the law allows victims to recover compensation for damages sustained as a result of accident.
However, laws can vary widely from place to place. Some states disregard fault, and every person is responsible for carrying insurance to cover their own injuries and property damage.
Georgia, however, is a fault state. This means that those involved in accidents in Georgia must go through a process to determine who exactly caused the situation. This can affect the ability to pursue legal action and the recovery of compensation.
Comparative Fault or Comparative Negligence
Georgia follows what lawyers call comparative fault rules, sometimes referred to as comparative negligence. Comparative fault acknowledges that the victim may also be to blame—at least in part—for the accident that occurred. Each party must show how the other side failed to exercise reasonable caution or reasonable concern for the safety of themselves or others. Negotiations or the trial process will decide how much fault each party holds.
For example, if a driver is speeding and strikes a pedestrian who was walking outside a marked crosswalk, both the driver and the pedestrian may be deemed at fault. The comparative fault system protects those involved in accidents from having to overpay. If both parties share some degree of fault, then they share financial responsibility proportionally to their degree of fault.
Can I Still Recover Damages If I Share Fault?
In personal injury cases, it is possible to recover compensation even if the victim is found to be partly at fault. A judge or jury will assign a percentage of blame to each individual. In this example, perhaps they determine that the driver is 70 percent at fault, and the pedestrian is 30 percent at fault. The pedestrian would then be entitled to recover 70 percent of his damages in a personal injury claim against the driver.
In Georgia, a victim can receive some amount of compensation as long as he is less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. If it is determined that the injured person is at least 50 percent at fault, he is not entitled to any compensation.
How An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
The comparative fault system requires victims to demonstrate how the person responsible for the accident is to blame. This requires investigation and presentation to insurance companies or court officials, and in some cases it can entail the use of expert witnesses.
Many times the defendant will fight the case and attempt to shift as much blame as possible onto the victim. A skilled personal injury attorney with experience in Georgia can help victims prepare as thoroughly as possible. State laws are complex, and the fault decision can rely on many factors. An advocate with knowledge and experience in these areas can help improve the chances of obtaining the compensation a victim deserves.
The experienced legal team at Rechtman & Spevak can help Georgia accident victims protect their rights and obtain the compensation they deserve. Call our Atlanta office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.