After a car accident, most victims run the events leading up to the crash over and over again in their minds, obsessing over what could have gone differently. Many wonder if they are to blame, or if they could have done something to avoid the accident altogether. Guilt is a common feeling among accident victims, even if they had nothing to do with causing the crash. When you feel as though you may have contributed even slightly, it is easy to fear what the outcome of the case may be.
Fortunately, the law in Georgia does not prohibit you from collecting damages if you contributed to the crash. This legal stance is known as “contributory negligence”, and very few states practice this system. A very harsh method of operating, contributory negligence often seems to harm those who played even a miniscule role in causing their accident.
Instead, Georgia follows what is known as the “comparative negligence principle”, or rather, a modified version of comparative negligence. This method of assigning liability weighs each participant’s involvement in causing the accident, which determine how damages will be distributed. Georgia’s laws state that anyone found less than 50 percent at fault for an accident may collect damages; those 50 percent or more at fault will be unable to collect.
While your exact accident scenario was not mentioned, let’s assume that you were found to be 25 percent at fault for the accident, and the other driver was found to be 75 percent at fault. Your damages totaled $100,000. Because of your 25 percent contribution to the accident, you will receive an adjusted settlement based on your liability—in this case, $75,000.
While no law is perfect, Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law allows settlements to be distributed in a manner that reflects each party’s involvement. If you have more questions about your level of fault and how it will affect your compensation, you can discuss it with us in a free consultation. Contact us today by phone or via live chat online—we look forward to helping you with your case!