Understanding Georgia’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
Personal injury lawsuits are often based on the concept of negligence, meaning that someone had a duty to help keep others safe, and because of that person or organization’s actions or inactions, another person suffered an injury. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a person, a company or even a government body, you may be entitled to compensation. A court, however, must first determine who was responsible for the accident — and in many cases, the victim and the person being sued share responsibility. Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule addresses these situations.
Imagine two cars driving the same direction on a road. One car, on the left, is ahead of the other. The driver switches into the right lane, but does not use her directional indicator signal. At the same time, the other car in the right lane is driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. The two vehicles collide, with both drivers having acted negligently.
In cases like this, a court must assign a percentage of fault for the accident to each party. This is typically done by the jury. Under Georgia’s rules, the plaintiff (person bringing the lawsuit) will be allowed to recover compensation as long as they are found to be less than 50 percent responsible for the wreck or injury. Any damage award, however, will be reduced based on the percentage of fault that is attributed to them.
For example, if one driver is found to be 20 percent at fault for an accident, he or she can usually recover the remaining 80 percent of the total damages for expenses such as medical costs. However, if that driver is found to be 50 percent or more responsible for the accident, they will be entirely barred from recovering compensation through the courts.
Most injury cases never actually reach a jury — they are settled based on the evidence and comparative negligence rules. If you have been hurt in a traffic accident in the Atlanta area, trust an experienced auto wreck attorney at McMenamy Law LLC to guide you through the litigation and settlement processes.