After a car accident occurs in Georgia, your primary goals will likely be to a) seek medical care and treatment for your injuries, and b) file a car accident claim and settle the claim as quickly as possible.
However, before a claim can be settled, the fault must be determined.
What’s more, negligence will also play a role in how much a party can recover, especially if the case winds up in court.
Here’s an overview of what you should know regarding negligence in a car accident.
Georgia Negligence Laws: Car Accident Fault and Liability
Negligence is the failure to act with the same degree of care that another person of ordinary prudence in the same situation would.
When it comes to a car accident, the party whose negligence caused the accident is the party that will be found “at fault.”
Examples of Negligence in a Car Accident
There are many different examples of negligent behaviors that can cause a crash.
In order to recover the compensation award that you deserve, you will likely need to prove the negligence of the at-fault party.
In fact, if your case ends up going to court, you will need to prove that your accident and injuries would not have occurred but for the negligence of the at-fault party.
A few include:
- Drinking while driving;
- Texting while driving;
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions;
- Failure to look before making a turn;
- Running a red light; and
- Driving aggressively.
Comparative Negligence in a Georgia Car Accident Case
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For example, if you were hit by a drunk driver and only suffered minor injuries, the insurer of the at-fault driver may simply pay your claim without bringing the idea of comparative negligence into question.
However, if the fault is less cut and dry, your injuries are severe, or your case ends in a lawsuit, comparative negligence will definitely be a consideration.
Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state.
This means that you are allowed to recover compensation from an at-fault party if your degree of fault was not greater than theirs, but your recovery amount will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault if any.
So, if you are 15 percent to blame for your car accident and you suffer $200,000 in damages, you will only be able to recovery $170,000 (85 percent of $200,000) from the defendant.
Skilled personal injury attorneys can help you determine what level of fault, if any, you may have in a car accident.
Most Car Accident Lawsuits Are Negligence-Based
Keep in mind that a car accident claim and a car accident lawsuit are not necessarily synonymous.
A car accident claim involves the claimant, the at-fault party, and the at-fault party’s liability insurer.
If a claim is settled through negotiations or pre-litigation mediation, then no lawsuit is ever filed.
A car accident lawsuit, on the other hand, involves the above parties and the court.
In a car accident lawsuit, a judge or jury will decide the outcome of the case (if a settlement is not otherwise reached prior to trial).
The vast majority of car accident lawsuits are negligence-based, meaning that the plaintiffs in these suits allege that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to them.
Car accident lawsuits are rarely intentional tort cases, where the plaintiff claims that the defendant caused their harm with intent.
Sometimes, a car accident lawsuit may involve gross negligence, which is a lack of care that demonstrates “reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others” and which is so great that it may appear to be a “conscious violation of other people’s right to safety.”
If a plaintiff’s injuries are the result of gross negligence, punitive damages may be available in addition to compensatory damages.
Finally, keep in mind that it’s not just another driver whose negligence could cause a crash – a vehicle manufacturer, the party responsible for road maintenance, a furnisher of alcohol, and more could all be partially or entirely to blame, too.
Contact Zach Pritchard at Pritchard Injury Firm to Get Help
At Pritchard Injury Firm we understand negligence in a car accident and your rights, if you’ve been harmed as a result of another party’s negligence, can be confusing.
To help you make sense of it all, build your claim, and improve your chances of recovering your full settlement amount, please call our law firm directly today for a free consultation.