The law of comparative negligence is something you need to understand if you are planning to litigate your personal injury case. Comparative negligence can greatly affect the amount of compensation you receive once your case is settled or a verdict is returned.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
In essence, comparative negligence laws allow both parties involved in a personal injury suit to share responsibility for the accident. This means that as the injured party, you can still be deemed at least partly responsible for the accident, and the other party will only have to pay their responsibility percentage of the compensation amount.
For example, if you are driving through an intersection and another driver slams into the side of your vehicle, as the injured party, you can become the plaintiff in a personal injury case. However, if the driver that hit you can prove that you ran a stop sign, were texting on your phone or were otherwise driving distracted at the time of the accident, you can be deemed partially responsible for your injuries. The other party will only have to pay for their percentage of fault that contributed to the accident.
So, if a judge or jury finds that you were 30% responsible for the car accident and the other driver (defendant) was 70% at fault, the defendant will only have to pay 70% of the final damages award or settlement amount. The remaining 30% of the damages will need to be covered by you due to your own negligence or fault in causing the accident. It is important to note that if you are a passenger in a vehicle, the negligence of your driver cannot be imputed to you.
Also, if a judge or jury finds that you were 50% responsible for the car accident (or more), the defendant will not have to pay any damages because your negligence equaled or exceeded their negligence. Insurance companies will often try to argue this point to avoid paying anything, or a greatly reduced amount.
The Importance of Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney
In any personal injury case, comparative negligence will most likely come into play. In these lawsuits, it is extremely important that you have the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney who will work through the evidence to minimize your responsibility for the accident while providing you with the best possible chance of receiving the amount of compensation you need from the defendant.
The personal injury attorneys at Murphy & Garner have decades of experience representing individuals in personal injury lawsuits and are well versed in Georgia’s comparative negligence laws. If you or a loved one has been injured in any sort of accident, you should schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys today by calling (678) 563-1584.