You might imagine that the “negligence factor” is a no-brainer when it comes to Georgia personal injury law. After all, if someone else did something that caused you harm they must be held responsible. But liability is not that simple, so if you or a loved one is injured, the negligence factor is a vital element.
All personal injury cases rely on two primary factors for injury claims and settlement. You will need to consult with a Georgia (GA) personal injury law attorney to proceed with a claim in court or to fight a claim against you. But it helps to know key factors that relate to Georgia personal injury law and the way the negligence factor works.
The Negligence Factor in US Personal Injury Law
In a few US states that follow contributory negligence laws, if you contributed to an accident in even the smallest way you won’t be able to claim damages. But most states follow what is known as comparative negligence. Some allow an accident victim to recover all damages even if they played a minuscule (even just 1 percent) role in the accident.
Many US states follow the modified comparative rule of law which takes the degree (or rather percentage) you were at fault into account. Many follow the modified comparative 51 percent bar rule, while others, including GA, use the 50 percent bar rule. What this means is that if you were 49 percent at fault you may apply to the court to recover damages. But if you are 50 percent at fault, you are not eligible to claim anything at all.
Proving Negligence in GA Personal Injury Law
Irrespective of how you were injured, even if you believe you were in no way negligent, you are going to have to prove this in court. Be aware that even if you were not in the wrong in any way, the other party or parties might claim that you were at fault – or at least partly at fault.
If you admit partial negligence, your attorney is going to have to prove that your negligence was equivalent to no more than 49 percent. Since the percentage fault factor will directly affect any settlement figure rewarded, a personal injury law attorney will try and prove that your negligence was as minimal as possible. Undoubtedly, the other party’s attorney will be looking to maximize your degree of negligence. This is important!
How Negligence Affects Settlements
Once the court has decided how much at fault the two parties are, the personal injury claim will be assessed. So, if you are found to have been 10 percent at fault, you will only be eligible for 90 percent of the damages claimed – if these are all accepted by the court. If you were 40 percent at fault, you won’t get more than 60 percent. So if you are faced with significant medical bills, amounts not covered by insurance, or perhaps even wages you have lost, then you’ll have to cover a large percentage of these costs yourself.
The modified comparative rule of law may also affect insurance claims and settlement negotiations. For instance, if you are found to have been partially responsible for a motor accident, the insurance company could reduce settlement amounts.
This is why it’s so important to consult with an experienced attorney who has a track record of successful litigation in personal injury cases.
Georgia’s Statute of Limitations
In Georgia, the time limit according to the statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits is two years. So, even if you were not even one percent negligent, you won’t be able to get compensation if you are out of time.
The Roswell-based Don Turner Legal Team has many years of experience handling personal injury cases in Georgia. Cases range from dog bites and slip and fall accidents to auto, construction, and drunk driving accidents, some of which resulted in death. Don’t waste time if you or a loved one has suffered personal injury, contact the Don Turner Legal Team as soon as possible. If you are a victim of negligence we can help you.