Comparative And Contributory Negligence In Car Accidents

Unfortunately, many car accidents occur every day in Georgia. If you have been the victim of a car accident, it is critical that you are aware of your legal rights and your legal options. Car accident injury civil cases will generally come down to the legal issue of negligence. Essentially, negligence means that there was a failure to take proper reasonable care in a given situation. Under Georgia law, the negligent party is responsible for the accident. But, there is a common defense to this known as contributory negligence. When the defendant makes a claim of contributory negligence, they are claiming that the plaintiff was negligent too and therefore is also responsible for the car accident. If you have been in a car accident and you believe you might be partially at fault, contact an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney.

Georgia uses Modified Comparative Negligence

In some states a finding of contributory negligence in a car accident eliminates any possible recovery by the plaintiff. However in other states, including Georgia, a more plaintiff friendly system has been implement. Georgia’s system is known as modified comparative negligence. The goal of comparative negligence is to divide the damages in direct relation to the percentage of each party’s fault for the car accident. In Georgia, comparative negligence has been modified so that there is a 51 percent fault limit on recovery. This means that no one can ever recover any compensation for an accident for which they were at majority fault.

An Example of how Modified Comparative Negligence Works in Georgia

Imagine that you get into an accident with another car in downtown Atlanta, in this accident you sustained 10,000 dollars worth of damages. It was also determined that you were 20 percent at fault for the accident. In a contributory negligence state, you would not be entitled to collect any damages for your accident. In a comparative negligence, such as Georgia, you would still be entitled to compensation. Your compensation would be reduced in direct proportionate to your fault. So, your 10,000 dollars worth of damages would be reduced by the same 20 percent for which you were at fault. In the end, you would be entitled to recover 8,000 dollars. It is important to remember that you would not be entitled to recover anything in Georgia if you were at fault for 51 percent or more of the accident. Comparative negligence and dividing up the liability for a car accident can become extremely complicated, an experienced car accident attorney is vital to make sure that you are not held at fault for an unfair percentage of the accident. Being held at fault for more than your fair share of the blame can cost you thousands of dollars and could even eliminate your recovery entirely.

Contact An Experienced Car Accident Attorney In Georgia

All car accidents can be extremely frustrating, it only gets more frustrating when the other party tries to blame you for the accident. After any car accident you should seek the professional assistance of an experienced Atlanta attorney. At The Angell Law Firm we have 20 years of trial experience successfully protecting the rights of our clients. Call our office at (770) 217-4954 or contact us online to set up a free case evaluation.