Negligence is the name of the game when it comes to personal injury lawsuits. The person whose actions (or inactions) caused an accident and injuries is the person who should pay for any losses.
What happens, however, when more than one party is at fault? What if the victim is at least partially to blame for the accident that caused their injuries? That’s where comparative negligence comes into play.
Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state
Different states handle these issues in different ways, and Georgia follows a modified comparative fault law that assigns a percentage of blame to each party involved in an accident. Each party’s liability (or compensation) is reduced accordingly.
As a victim, the law recognizes your right to file a claim against the other party as long as your percentage of fault for the accident is less than theirs. If multiple parties are involved, you can collect something for your injuries as long as your percentage of fault is less than their combined percentage of fault. Whatever you receive, however, will be reduced by any percentage of fault you are assigned.
In practical terms, that might work like this: Imagine that you’re in a three-car accident. The court assigns you 25% of the blame because you were following too closely to the driver in front of you. They assign the driver in front of you 25% of the blame for driving too far below the speed limit. They assign the driver behind you 50% of the blame for speeding.
Under that scenario, if you were awarded $100,000 in damages for your injuries, your award would be reduced by 25% (your share of the fault), while the driver in the front would have to pay $25,000 and the driver behind you would pay $50,000.
It’s not easy to understand what a personal injury claim is worth, nor how to best assert your rights. Learning more about how the law works puts you in a better position to advocate for your needs.