For the most part, you would only retain a car accident lawyer in Augusta if the other driver caused the crash. You wouldn’t expect to get damages if the accident was your fault. The truth is, there usually isn’t just one person responsible for the accident. Both drivers are usually somewhat at fault.
You can ask two drivers who caused the accident and, chances are, they’d both point to the other person. However, rarely is one person 100% responsible. Even if one driver is primarily responsible, the other one may not be totally innocent.
Car accident lawyers in Augusta understand this. They know that the reason it’s hard to prove the fault is that both sides have their own version of what happened. Even the police report may not be totally one-sided when it comes to determining fault.
The law understands this too. Georgia, like most states, has something called comparative fault. Under this rule, as long as someone is less than 50% at fault, they can still file a claim against the other driver. The rule also dictates that your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Here, we explain how this rule can affect your lawsuit. We’ll also explain how your Augusta car accident lawyer can help keep your level of fault to a minimum.
How Does Comparative Fault Work in Georgia?
Comparative fault in Georgia works the same as it does in most states. There are a handful of states where, unless you can prove the other party is 100% at fault, you receive nothing. That means that, even if you’re only 5% at fault, you can lose your right to damages.
Thankfully, Georgia isn’t like that. In Georgia, you only have to prove that the other driver was 50% at fault or greater to recover damages. Your August auto accident attorney understands this. They also know how important it is that you prove the other driver was at fault.
The way this rule works is as follows:
- The judge will determine what percentage of fault each party holds
- As long as the plaintiff is less than 50% at fault, they can recover damages
- Your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault
- If both parties are equally at fault, nobody will recover any damages
This means your car accident lawyer in Georgia needs to work hard to prove that the other party is more at fault than you.
How is My Settlement Affected by My Percentage of Fault?
The best way to explain how the comparative negligence rule works is with an example. Consider the following scenario:
Driver A is stopped at a red light. Their right brake light has been burned out for weeks. Driver A is aware of this because this is the reason their car failed inspection last week. Driver B is going 40 mph in a 25-mph zone. They don’t notice that you’ve stopped at the red light because they’re too busy eating a burrito. At the last minute, Driver B slams on the brakes but it is too late. They hit your car from behind. You suffer serious medical injuries and damage to your car. Your damages are $100,000.
In the above scenario, fault can be assigned to both Driver a and Driver B. Had Driver A been driving a car with two good brake lights, maybe Driver B would have seen them sooner. However, Driver B was speeding, eating while driving and did hit you from behind. In this case, fault will probably be assigned as follows:
- 80% fault to Driver B
- 20% fault to Driver A
If Driver A wins their case, their $100,000 damages award will be reduced by their percentage of fault – 20%. Therefore, instead of getting $100,000, they will only get $80,000.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Augusta, Georgia Today
If you’re involved in a car accident, you should contact an injury lawyer in Augusta, Georgia. They can review your case and let you know if you have a valid claim. They can also give you an idea of what your case may be worth.
Call Ted A. Greve & Associates today and schedule your initial consultation. It’s absolutely free. You’ll get a chance to sit down with a skilled lawyer who has handled dozens of cases just like yours. And remember – you pay nothing until you settle your case.