Understanding comparative fault in Georgia
Posted on Saturday, February 25th, 2017 at 5:16 pm
In most personal injury cases, there is a single injured party and a single party who was responsible for an accident. What happens, however, when the circumstances are more complex? What happens if there are multiple negligent parties? Or if the injured party somehow contributed to the accident that harmed them?
In these cases, Georgia’s comparative fault law comes into play. Comparative fault makes it so that multiple civil defendants can share a percentage of fault. This percentage is decided by the court after the facts of the case are presented and argued by the all involved parties in a civil trial.
To take a look at how this law works in action, let’s review a theoretical example. Let’s say that, after a leaving a sporting event, plaintiff “Joe” is hit by a driver traveling too fast in an icy stadium parking lot. In following civil trial, the jury awards Joe $10,000 for his injury—but both the driver and the stadium are found negligent.
In this case, a possible outcome would be:
The driver is found 70% negligent for driving too fast and must pay $7,000
The stadium is found 30% negligent for the icy lot and must pay $3,000
“The 50% Rule”
There is one safeguard built into the comparative fault law that prevents especially negligent parties from collecting money. This is called the 50% rule and it prevents any party who is found to be greater than 49% at fault from collecting money. So, in the example above, if the driver sustained whiplash from the accident described, he would still be barred from receiving any money for his injury because he was found to be more than 49% at fault.
While the comparative fault law makes our civil law system more forgiving and accurate, is also opens up the opportunity for defendants to dispute the facts and allege fault in others—including the victim. This why it is so imperative to have proven counsel by your side. At Jonathan R. Brockman, PC, Attorney Brockman has more than two decades of legal experience. He knows what it takes to assert to the truth with an injury claim and ensure that rightful compensation is diligently pursued.
Your post-accident hardships deserve to be answered for. Call us to speak to a dedicated Alpharetta personal injury lawyer today.