Contributory Fault in Georgia
Sometimes, who is at fault in an accident is unclear. For instance, imagine a drunk driver swerves off the road and strikes a pedestrian. In this case, the driver is clearly to blame for the pedestrian’s injuries and should provide compensation.
In other cases, more than one person could be liable. The injured person could have made decisions, acts, or omissions that led to the accident. Suppose one driver was speeding and texting while the other was driving while under the influence of alcohol. In this case, the court could find that both drivers contributed to the accident.
Georgia law accounts for situations where more than one person caused an accident or injury. These contributory fault rules affect how much compensation injured people may receive. They also determine who must provide compensation.
Most personal injury cases are based on negligence. Negligence refers to when a person fails to use reasonable care and injures another person.
There are four main components to negligence.
- Duty — A person has a duty to exercise reasonable care. For instance, drivers have a duty to take care when they operate vehicles on public roads.
- Breach — An individual breaches their duty of care. This could include taking unreasonable risks, making careless mistakes or acting recklessly.
- Harm — Another person sustains an injury or damage.
- Causation — The careless person’s caused the harm.
Careless parties can contribute to accidents and be partially or entirely at fault. More than one person can be negligent. This includes the injured victim.
In a personal injury case, the court examines the conduct of each individual to determine who was responsible and how much they were at fault.
Contributory negligence or contributory fault refers to situations where victims contributed to their own personal injury accidents.
Strict contributory negligence rules prevent an injury victim from recovering damages if they share any fault for their accident. A few states have contributory negligence rules, including Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
States with comparative negligence rules allow individuals who contributed to accidents to recover compensation. Pure comparative negligence laws allow an injured person to recover damages from all parties that contributed to the injury.
Courts typically assign fault by percentage. So, under pure comparative negligence, an individual could recover compensation no matter the percentage of fault. The only limit is that the percentage can’t be 100 percent. Someone who was 99 percent responsible could get payment from the person bearing the other 1 percent.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Some states have modified comparative negligence rules. Modified comparative negligence rules permit injured people to receive compensation in certain instances but not all.
If they were the main cause of the accident, they could not recover. They could recover if they contributed to the accident but were not primarily responsible.
Under the modified comparative negligence rule, a person bearing less than 50 percent of the responsibility for an accident could get compensated.
Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. Under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule, those who contributed to an accident but were not the main cause can receive damages less than (50%). Yet Georgia law prevents individuals who were the primary cause of accidents from receiving damages.
Suppose a car accident takes place between two drivers in Georgia. One driver was texting and not looking at the road. The other driver was speeding slightly. The speeding driver suffered whiplash and a concussion.
The jury finds that the texting driver was 75 percent responsible for the accident. The speeding driver was 25 percent responsible. The texting driver would not be able to recover any damages from the speeding driver.
Reduction in Damages
Contributory fault does not always prevent someone from getting compensation in Georgia. Yet it will affect the amount of money the victim could receive.
The court will reduce an injury victim’s damages according to their percentage of fault.
Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer
Even if you made a mistake that led to your injury, you could get an award or settlement in a Georgia personal injury lawsuit. A Georgia attorney can help you assess your case. A skilled Tifton personal injury lawyer can help convince the jury that another person or multiple people bear the majority of the blame.