A story recently released involving a fatal Georgia car accident can be used to demonstrate how Georgia law applies to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed after an accident in which two or more drivers’ negligence contributed to an injury or death. Negligence law in Georgia follows what is known as a “comparative negligence” standard, which allows an accident victim to recover damages even if they themselves were negligent, and their negligence contributed to the cause of the accident. Since Georgia is a comparative negligence state, accident victims who feel they may have been to blame for a crash should still seek legal advice quickly to help determine if they have a right to recover damages and to build a strong case.
Across the country, there are three basic types of negligence laws, which vary by state. Some states have what are know as contributory negligence laws. In these states, if an accident victim was even 1% at fault for a crash, they are not allowed to collect damages from a defendant who was 99% at fault for the accident. The number of contributory negligence states has been steadily decreasing, as legislatures across the country modify these seemingly unfair contributory negligence laws.
Other states, known as pure comparative negligence states, allow accident victims to recover from any negligent defendant an amount of damages proportional to that defendant’s fault. In these states, an accident plaintiff who was 95% responsible for an accident could recover 5% of the total damages from a defendant who was only 5% responsible for the accident. Pure comparative negligence laws allow all victims to recover from any liable party, although the laws also allow drivers whose extreme negligence causes an accident to collect damages from other drivers whose contribution was only slight.
Over half of the states in the country, including Georgia, follow what is called a modified comparative negligence standard. Under the modified comparative negligence standard, a plaintiff whose negligence contributed to the cause of an accident can potentially recover damages from a negligent defendant in proportion to the percentage of that defendant’s fault, but only if the plaintiff was less than 50% responsible for the accident (some states have a similar rule, but the plaintiff must be less than 51% responsible for a crash). If a Georgia accident plaintiff is found to have been 50% or more responsible for an accident, they are unable to recover any damages. Because of this fact in Georgia accident law, it is important for accident victims to build the strongest case possible to demonstrate that the defendant was more than 50% responsible for a crash.
Tragic Accident Involving Police Officer Kills Two Teenage Girls
A recently released news report concerning an accident that occurred on September 26, 2015 discussed how a police officer who was involved in the crash that killed two teenage girls was not indicted on criminal charges stemming from the accident. The grand jury that declined to indict the man decided that he should not be held criminally responsible for the girls’ deaths. The accident occurred when the girl’s car failed to yield at an intersection when making a left turn and was struck by the police officer’s patrol car. It was later determined that the officer was going over 90 miles per hour when the crash occurred. Based on these facts, both drivers involved in the accident may have negligently contributed to the girls’ deaths. In a modified comparative negligence state like Georgia, a negligent accident victim may be able to recover from a negligent defendant if the victim was less than 50% responsible for the accident.
Have You Been in an Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident, the aggressive Georgia personal injury and accident attorneys at Miller Legal Services can help you seek the compensation that you deserve. Our experienced Georgia accident lawyers and staff have helped numerous clients obtain relief, and our detailed knowledge of Georgia negligence law will ensure that you are competently represented. At Miller Legal Services, we represent clients in most personal injury and wrongful death cases, including failure to yield accidents. Call us today at 770-284-3727 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
See Related Blog Posts:
The Reach of Negligence Liability Lawsuits in Georgia, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, January 20, 2016.
State Supreme Court Finds County May Be Liable for Damages after Failing to Trim Bushes at Intersection, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 10, 2016.