Most personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits are based on the claim that some other party or parties were negligent or otherwise responsible for the car accident or incident that led to the injury or death. But what happens if you or your loved one were partially at fault for the accident? Will it affect how much you can recover? Can you recover any damages at all?
In Georgia, the answer depends on how much at fault you were for the accident. You can recover damages reduced by your percentage of fault so long as you are found to be less at fault than the defendant or defendants. If you are 50% or more at fault, you will be barred from any recovery at all.
Georgia: 50% or More at Fault = No Recovery
Georgia, like 11 other states, bars a plaintiff from recovering any damages at all “if the plaintiff is 50 percent or more responsible for the injury or damages claimed.” O.C.G.A. §51-12-33(g). This means that if you are found by a judge or jury to be 50% or more at fault, you will be barred from any recovery. If your percentage of fault is less than that, damages are recoverable 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).
Neighboring states deal with the issue of “contributory negligence” or “comparative negligence” differently than does Georgia. South Carolina law is similar, in that allows for the recovery of damages reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault, but if a plaintiff is found to be 51% or more at fault (as opposed to Georgia’s 50% or more), they will be barred from any recovery. In Florida, a plaintiff’s negligence will not bar recovery of damages –even if they were 99% at fault — but it will reduce the amount of damages the plaintiff can recover based on the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
How a judge or jury apportions fault between a plaintiff and one or more defendants can be complicated and depends on the unique facts and circumstances of each case. Even if you believe that you or your loved one may have been at fault to some degree for an incident that led to a serious injury or death, in Georgia you still may be able to recover damages from those who were also responsible. You should consult with an experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your case and discuss your options.
Alan Welch Law: Experienced and Compassionate Brunswick Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured, even if you are unsure if someone else was at fault for your injury, please give me a call at (912) 265-9811 for a free consultation to discuss your situation. Together, we will figure out what happened, what we can do, and how we can take every possible step to bring you the comfort and compensation that can aid in your recovery.
This article has been prepared by J. Alan Welch Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.