As Georgia personal injury lawyers we often come across the situation where an accident victim wants to file a lawsuit but believes he or she may be partly to blame for a wreck.
Not all car wrecks are clear cut. If another driver cuts in front of you on the highway, you may not be able to brake quickly enough to avoid hitting the car in front. But what about if you were driving too fast or you didn’t react as quickly as you should have done? You may have been distracted by a passenger.
What if you were hit by a red light runner at an intersection and but you were found to be traveling at 10 mph over the speed limit? The red light runner clearly caused the crash but you were also traveling too fast.
In some cases, when you try to file an insurance claim after you were injured, the other party will try to claim you were partly or even completely responsible for the wreck.
Georgia has a modified comparative fault rule that reduces or eliminates damages if you’re found to be partly or mostly at fault for your accident.
In the example of the red light runner, if the other driver was found to be 90 percent at fault, but you were 10 percent at fault, your damages would be cut by 10 percent.
The courts in Georgia are required to apply the comparative fault rule in a car accident or other personal injury cases where both parties are found to share the fault for the accident. The issue may also come up in insurance settlement negotiations.
The comparative negligence rule in Georgia is not as harsh to accident victims as the contributory negligence rule in states like North Carolina and Virginia. In these states, you can be barred from a successful personal injury claim if you are found to be as much as 1 percent liable for an accident.
Georgia is a “fault” state in terms of car, truck, and motorcycle accident claims. This means people injured in Georgia car accidents have a wide range of options available when seeking compensation for losses.
They can file a claim with their own insurance company, submit a third-party claim directly with the insurance company of the other driver, or file a lawsuit in court.
If you have been hurt in a car wreck you should be cautious about dealing with an insurance company on your own. An experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer can help you avoid the pitfalls. Contact the Law Offices of Michael West today at (404) 913-1529.