How Georgia’s Comparative Negligence Law May Impact Your Injury Case

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In some Savannah accidents, the injured party bears part of the responsibility. For instance, a pedestrian may have failed to look both ways before being struck by a texting driver. In this case, the negligence of both the driver and the pedestrian likely contributed to the crash. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, the relative fault of each party determines whether the injured party can recover compensation and, if so, how much.

What is comparative negligence?

Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence standard under which an injury victim can only recover monetary damages if he or she is less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. Other states follow the much harsher contributory negligence rule. It bars plaintiffs from recovering damages if they were only one percent to blame.

How are damages determined?

Under Georgia’s comparative negligence statute, the judge or jury must determine each party’s percentage of fault. For example, the texting driver may be 80 percent responsible for failing to stop at an intersection, while the pedestrian may be 20 percent liable for entering the road without looking both ways.

The injured party’s financial recovery is then reduced by his or her percentage of the total negligence. This means that if the jury awards $100,000.00 in damages and you were found to be 20 percent responsible, your damages would be $80,000.00.

Insurance companies regularly raise comparative negligence as a defense in accident claims because it can reduce their potential liability.

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