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Five Things to Understand About Comparative Negligence Law and How it Can Affect Your Claim

Sometimes an injury is clearly the fault of one person, such as an auto accident caused by a driver who runs a red light. Other accidents and their causes are more complicated, however. Sometimes more than one person may be at fault, and sometimes when you are injured even you may share some small portion of the blame. If you are injured in a situation like this and you are considering filing a personal injury claim, you may have questions about whether your being partially at fault will prevent you from recovering for your injuries. This is where the issue of comparative negligence comes in to play. Here are five key things you should understand about comparative negligence if you have been injured in the Atlanta area.

Georgia is a Modified Comparative Negligence State That Uses the 50% Bar Rule

Just as different states have different laws on things like speed limits, they also have different rules regarding comparative negligence. Georgia is what is called a modified comparative negligence state that uses the 50% bar rule. This means that you can only recover for your injuries if you are found to be less than 50% at fault for those injuries.

If You are Found to Be Less Than 50% at Fault, Your Compensation Will Be Affected

If you are found to be 50% or more at fault you can not recover for your injuries. If you are found to be anywhere from 1% through 49% at fault you will be able to recover something, but the degree to which you are found to be at fault will affect your ultimate recovery. Imagine that a jury awarded you $1,000,000 after a car accident, but found that you were 30% at fault for the accident. If that were to happen, your $1,000,000 award may be reduced by the amount you were at fault, which is 30%. That means that of that $1,000,000 you would only actually recover $700,000.

Comparative Negligence is a Way to Apply the Theory of Contributory Negligence

Comparative negligence and contributory negligence can be easily confused, but they are two slightly different concepts. Contributory negligence is the concept that applies when an injured person failed to act prudently and in doing so contributed to his or her own injury. Comparative negligence is a principle that actually apportions the fault and leads to a plaintiff’s potential award being impacted. There are different approaches to comparative negligence, but Georgia’s modified approach is the most common. It is modified in that any fault over 50% bars any recovery, whereas in a pure comparative negligence state a plaintiff who was 80% responsible for his or her injuries could actually recover for the other 20%.

Contact Goldstein & Hayes, P.C.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to another’s negligence, the experienced attorneys at Goldstein & Hayes, P.C. are here to help you with your case.Contact us today for a free consultation