Regardless of who was at fault, a car crash can have expensive and painful results that can have a lasting effect on your life. If you were partially – but not totally – to blame for the crash, are you still able to sue to recover compensation for your injuries, the damage to your car, your missed days of work, and so forth? Or does your partial liability mean that you have to deal with your losses yourself?
Modified comparative negligence
Every state has a different method for dealing with injuries in which both parties are partially to blame. Georgia’s method is called modified comparative negligence, and it contains two parts.
First, you are unable to recover anything from the other driver if you are 50% or more at fault for your own injuries. Only the party that has less than half of the responsibility for the accident can receive compensation.
Second, if you win the lawsuit, the amount that you do recover will be decreased in accordance with your percentage of responsibility. This means that, if you are 30% at fault for an accident, then you will only receive 70% of the total amount that you otherwise would have been able to recover.
The ordinary care requirement
Georgia law has a special provision that requires plaintiffs to have exercised ordinary care in order to be able to recover. What this means is that, if the court finds that you had the opportunity to avoid the damage that the defendant caused, but you didn’t avoid the damage because of a lack of ordinary care on your part, then you won’t be able to recover for the damage that the defendant caused to you.
A car crash is no laughing matter, and dealing with the aftermath can mean months and even years of stress and pain. If you are able to recover financially for even a fraction of your damages, taking legal action could be well worth it.