The concept of negligence is a vital part of any personal injury case. In fact, success in most personal injury cases is close to impossible without being able to prove the other party’s negligence. There are a few types of negligence, and how a personal injury case is approached from a legal standpoint will vary depending on which classification of negligence a state uses.

Comparative vs. Contributory Negligence

Most states use either comparative negligence or contributory negligence framework for personal injury cases.

Contributory Negligence

States that use this type of negligence approach say that anyone injured in an accident cannot recover any damages if they contributed to the accident in any way. Essentially, if you share any fault for the accident, you are not entitled to recover anything. This system has a significant impact on personal injury because it is not uncommon for injured parties to share in the fault.

Comparative Negligence

Within this category, there are two types of negligence: pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence. A pure comparative negligence system allows an injured party to recover damages even if they share fault for the accident, but the amount they receive is reduced according to their shared fault. Modified comparative negligence follows that same framework, but anyone who is more than 50 or 51% responsible cannot recover damages.

Georgia’s Comparative Negligence System

Section 51-11-7 of the Georgia Code discusses the comparative negligence definition. Law in the state says that if the injured party could have prevented the harm caused by the other party, then they are not entitled to recovery damages. Georgia uses a modified comparative negligence system, so anyone who is determined to be more than 50% responsible for an accident cannot recover damages for the harm they suffered as a result of the accident.

How Might Georgia’s Negligence Principle Affect Your Case?

There are endless scenarios in which more than one party could have contributed to a personal injury accident.

  • In a car accident, one person made an illegal turn, and the other ran a red light.
  • A customer is running quickly through a store when they slip on a spilled liquid.
  • Someone crosses the street in an unmarked area not designated for pedestrians and is hit by a speeding vehicle.

Nearly every personal injury case has some element of causation and fault, so it is important to understand Georgia’s comparative negligence system as you prepare for your claim or lawsuit.

A Practical Example of Georgia’s Fault System

Here’s an example of how the outcome of a case could be impacted by this state law:

Gloria and Michael are in a motor vehicle accident, and Gloria files a personal injury lawsuit and claims that Michael caused the accident when he pulled out in front of her. During the course of the lawsuit, it was determined that Michael did pull out in front of Gloria, but Gloria was also speeding at the time.

Let’s say that fault is assigned in this case as follows: 65% to Michael and 35% to Gloria. Michael cannot seek compensation because he is more than 50% at fault. Gloria is awarded $25,000 in damages, which must be reduced by 35%. Due to Georgia’s modified comparative fault system, Gloria receives $16,250.

Why You Should Have a Personal Injury Attorney

Georgia personal injury law is complex, and proving fault is a challenging endeavor. Because fault and negligence are such crucial elements of a personal injury case, it is best to leave this process in the care of an experienced attorney.

Flanagan Law has extensive experience representing injured accident victims in Georgia, and we are well-equipped to handle your accident case. Contact us to discuss your accident and schedule a free consultation.

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