Most people will be in at least one car accident at some point in their lives. Moments after the crash, the first thing most drivers do is point their finger at the other driver. Nobody ever wants to admit that they’ve done something wrong. It’s human nature to want to blame somebody else for your injuries. However, you can ask any Georgia car accident lawyer, and they’ll tell you the same thing. Very rarely is one driver totally at fault in a motor vehicle accident.
It’s important to point out that just because you were partly at fault, that doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to compensation. The way the law works in Georgia is that even plaintiffs who are partially at fault can still collect damages from the defendant. It’s a matter of determining who was primarily at fault for the crash.
You should also know that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. We will explain all this in detail below. However, it’s important to point these things out now so that you have a better understanding of whether you have a case.
If you still have questions about your own car accident case, contact our office right away. Sit down with a Georgia injury lawyer who can review your case and give you a better idea of whether it has merit.
Your Georgia Car Accident Lawyer Knows that Nobody is Ever 100% at Fault
One thing our Georgia car accident lawyers have learned over the years is that it’s very rare for one person to be 100% at fault. This is the case for all personal injury cases, not just car accident lawsuits. If one were to sit back and could criticize even the best of drivers, they will still find fault. Perhaps someone drives a little too fast. Or maybe you’re the kind of driver who talks to their passengers way too much. It’s very easy to judge somebody else’s driving until we take a moment to judge our own.
The reason we point this out is that the defendant and their attorney will argue that you were the one who caused the crash. They want you to say that you had absolutely nothing to do with the accident. This way, they can turn around and submit evidence showing that you were partially at fault. When they do this, they will try to portray you as a liar. And one thing every Georgia injury lawyer knows is that credibility is key. If the judge, jury, or even the mediator believes that you’re not telling the truth, they may rule in the defendant’s favor.
Your Goal is To Demonstrate that You Were Less than 50% at Fault
What you and your Georgia car accident lawyer need to do is prove that the other driver was more than 50% at fault. Ideally, you will be able to prove that they were 80% or 90% at fault. The reason this is important is that according to Georgia law, a car accident victim can only demand damages if they were less than 50% at fault. Furthermore, if you were close to 30% or 40% at fault, you can’t expect to collect a great deal in the way of damages. Will explain how this works a little bit later in this article.
The question then becomes, how can my Georgia car accident lawyer demonstrate that I was less than 50% at fault? There are several ways you can do this:
- Your attorney can submit a copy of the police report showing that the impact was almost entirely to the side of your vehicle.
- There may be eyewitnesses available who saw the accident happen and can testify that the defendant was mostly to blame.
- You may be able to show that you bore the brunt of the injuries in the crash
- There may have been tickets issued at the accident scene proving that the defendant was speeding, distracted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident
Of course, every case is different, so there’s no way to know for sure how things will work out in your case. That’s why we urge anybody who’s been in an accident to contact our office and schedule their free, initial consultation.
Thankfully, Georgia Follows the Modified Comparative Negligence Law
As mentioned above, the state of Georgia follows something called the modified comparative negligence law. What this means is that plaintiffs are still allowed to collect damages even if they were partly at fault. However, their damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault. This can best be explained by way of an example.
Imagine that you’re in a rear end collision and suffer whiplash and a broken leg. You hire a Georgia injury lawyer, and they file suit against the other driver. You have medical bills of more than $75,000. You also missed three weeks of work which cost you an additional $5,000. Of course, as with most car wrecks, you had to spend another $4,000 to get your car fixed. This means that, excluding pain and suffering, your damages are approximately $84,000. To make things easier for this example, let’s say your damages were an even $100,000.
If the court finds that you were 20% at fault for the crash, they will reduce your damages by 20%. In this case, your damages would be reduced by $20,000, or 20%. Knowing this, your Georgia car accident lawyer will use this as a jumping off point when they begin settlement negotiations.
The Good News is that Your Georgia Injury Lawyer Will Likely Settle Your Case
If you’ve been injured in any sort of car accident, you’re probably wondering if you’re entitled to compensation. The only way to know for sure is to speak with a Georgia injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will review your case and determine if there’s enough evidence to prove fault. If they believe your case has merit, they may be willing to represent you. Since we offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, it’s in your best interest to reach out to our firm today.