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I May Have Been Partially at Fault for My Accident. Do I Still Have a Case?

Posted on - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 under FAQ I May Have Been Partially at Fault for My Accident. Do I Still Have a Case?

So much of personal injury law is about fault and causation. You can’t recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit unless you can prove that the defendant or defendants caused the accident and that the cause of your injuries was their negligence. If a judge or a jury finds that the defendant wasn’t at fault, you’ll receive nothing at the end of your case.

Sometimes, however, an accident can be caused by more than one person. If you were injured in a car accident and you were partially to blame, can you still obtain damages from a defendant who was also partially at fault?

In Georgia, the answer depends on how much you were at fault.

  • Less Than 50%. Under Georgia law, if you are found to be less at fault than the defendant(s), you may still be able to recover damages, but “the judge shall reduce the amount of damages otherwise awarded to the plaintiff in proportion to his or her percentage of fault.” O.C.G.A. §51-12-33(a). So, if you are awarded damages in the amount of $100,000 but are found to have caused 30% of the accident that led to your injuries, you will ultimately only recover $70,000.
  • 50% or More. Some states take the same “comparative fault” approach to damages no matter how little or how much the plaintiff may have been at fault for the accident. That is, even if the plaintiff was 95% at fault for the accident, he or she could still recover damages, but would only receive 5% of what was awarded. In Georgia, however, “if the plaintiff is 50 percent or more responsible for the injury or damages claimed,” they will be barred from recovering any damages at all.  O.C.G.A.  § 51-12-33(g).

Six other states apply the same rule that Georgia does in barring any recovery for plaintiffs who were 50% or more at fault for an accident. But some states, like Alabama, go even further, barring any recovery for a plaintiff who was even the slightest bit negligent in causing the accident that led to their injuries.

Even if you believe that you may have been at fault for your accident, you should consult with an experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.  You still may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, and the determination of how much each party to an accident was at fault depends on many factors. At Parian Law Firm, we represent injury victims exclusively and are committed to getting justice and compensation for our clients. Please contact us at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff today.