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What Happens If Both Drivers Are At Fault In A Georgia Car Accident?

By Butler Prather LLP on February 20, 2020

In the aftermath of a car accident, it is important to understand whether or not you will be able to receive compensation for your injuries and other damages. The amount of compensation awarded generally depends on various factors, one of which has to do with proving who was at fault for the incident. In many cases, more than one party is at fault for an accident in Georgia. When this happens, we will need to turn to contributory negligence laws in Georgia to determine compensation amounts.

Both drivers at fault

How these laws work

Each state has laws in place that govern how to handle what happens if both drivers are at fault in an accident. Some states operate under a pure comparative negligence system in which a person can recover compensation for injuries even if they were 99% at fault for the incident. However, Georgia operates under a modified comparative negligence system. This means the injured party will only be eligible to recover compensation if they are 49% or less responsible for the damages. If the courts determine that a plaintiff is 50% or more at fault, they lose their right to recover any compensation for the incident.

Damages will be reduced based on the percentage of fault

Under the state’s modified comparative negligence system, any damages awarded to a plaintive will be reduced by an amount equivalent to their percentage of fault for the incident in question. For example, if a person is awarded $100,000 in damages for a car accident, but the court determines that they were 10% responsible for the incident, they would only receive $90,000 in total damages. In this scenario, $10,000 (or 10%) of their total damages will be subtracted from the award amount.

Why is having an attorney important for these cases?

Georgia is an “at fault” state when it comes to car accidents. Considering that the modified comparative negligence rule could substantially reduce the amount of compensation you receive in the aftermath of a crash, it is vital that you do everything you can to prove the other party’s liability in the incident. A skilled Atlanta car accident attorney will have the resources and experience necessary to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. They will gather all video and photo surveillance, speak to eyewitnesses, analyze accident reports, and more. The goal is to prove to the court that the other party was mostly responsible for the incident so you can secure maximum compensation.

Unfortunately, the at-fault party and their insurance carrier will do everything they can to place some or all of the blame for the accident on you. They will do this in order to reduce the amount of compensation they have to pay out in a settlement on your behalf. Your attorney will understand and predict any tactics the other party will use and prepare your case accordingly.

Please understand that these cases rest on percentage points. If you sustain $100,000 in damages but were found to be 50% at-fault for the incident, you are not entitled to any compensation for damages. However, if you were found to be 49% at fault (just one percentage point less), you would be entitled to approximately $51,000 in compensation. Little increments matter, and your attorney will fight to ensure you are treated fairly throughout the entirety of your case.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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