After an accident with injuries has occurred, accident liability must be determined. The circumstances of how the accident occurred are what ultimately determine how fault is portioned out to each driver (or just one driver). Apportioning fault can be a complex process, depending on the facts of the case.
Is Georgia a No-Fault State?
No, Georgia is not a no-fault car insurance liability state. “No-fault” means that no one is liable in terms of accident claims, and instead each party would submit their claim to their insurer. But, in the state of Georgia, a person can be found liable for an accident, with the claim placed upon their insurer, for any damages that occurred. That also means that there are no restrictions to the amount an individual can sue for the injuries that occurred in that accident.
Fault is often easy to determine in rear-end collisions or accidents where the other driver was clearly acting negligently. For example, a driver ran a stop sign and was cited by the police for such, or the other driver was drunk while operating a vehicle. In these instances, it is clear which driver is liable for the accident and any damages that result from it.
There are other instances, however, where determining liability is not as simple. In a case of someone failing to yield, for example, it can be difficult to determine who was liable. Also, weather conditions and poor road construction can play a factor in accidents. Typically, an accident attorney and insurance claims adjusters will look to see if either driver was ticketed in the accident, as tickets often tip the liability scale in one way or the other.
The Modified Comparative Negligence
Georgia operates under the modified comparative negligence rules. That means that individuals can recover damages even if they were partially at-fault for the accident. However, if the party is more than 50 percent at-fault for the accident, they cannot recover damages.
In these instances, both drivers are technically at-fault, so the one party would receive compensation minus their contribution to the injury. For example, a driver was struck by another drunk driver. The plaintiff was injured more severely because she did not wear a seatbelt. While the drunken driver caused the accident, her injuries were more severe because she failed to wear the seatbelt, making her partially at fault for her injuries. The courts would have to determine how much at fault she is for the injuries and then reduce her settlement based on that contributory amount.
So, if the plaintiff was considered 25 percent at fault, her damages would be reduced by 25 percent.
Speak with an Accident Attorney Regarding Your Case
If you have been involved in an accident, speak with an attorney right away to help establish liability. The attorneys at The Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. can assist you with your case. Call us for a consultation at 912-200-LAW2, or fill out an online contact form regarding your liability questions.