In the world of personal injury law, the concept of negligence is king.
Nearly all personal injury cases are ultimately centered around proving
that the defendant was in some way negligent; in other words, they did
not exercise the same amount of care that a normal person would use in
While this seems fairly straightforward in theory, it can be challenging
to prove in practice. To further add to the complexity of these claims,
Georgia employs a comparative negligence system which essentially limits
the amount of damages you can recover if you were found to be partially
responsible for the injury in question.
Contributory vs. Comparative Negligence
In contrast to Georgia, a few states still use an older contributory negligence
philosophy. This basically means that if the plaintiff is found to be
even partially responsible, they cannot recover any compensation for their
injuries. Alternatively, comparative negligence states that they can recover
damages in direct relation to the other party’s percentage of fault.
For example, if Car A runs a red light and hits Car B in the intersection,
Driver A would typically be at fault. If Car B was driving at night without
their headlights on, however, they may be found to be at least partially
at fault for the accident. In a contributory negligence state, Driver
B would then be barred from recovering any damages. In a comparative negligence
state like Georgia, on the other hand, the amount of damages they can
recover would be limited.
How Are Damages Limited?
The system of comparative negligence used in Georgia is considered by many
to be one of the most sensible. Georgia uses a modified comparative negligence
rule, rather than a pure comparative negligence rule. This means that
if you are at least 50% responsible for the accident, you have no ability
to recover damages. If you are 49% responsible or less, however, you can
recover damages. This is why it is so crucial to have a skilled Marietta
personal injury lawyer on your side, as proving 1% of fault can be the
difference between success and failure in an injury claim.
Jones & Swanson has more than 60 years of experience with proving negligence.
Contact our firm at (770) 884-6652 for
your free case consultation.