If you’re involved in any sort of accident, then you know, deep down, whether you were partially at fault. You may be afraid to voice this out loud because you don’t want to get sued. You think you should get damages from the defendant, regardless of your behavior.
And, depending on the facts of your case, that may be the case. It all comes down to what your Atlanta personal injury lawyer can prove. In order to figure this out, you need to call and schedule your free, initial consultation.
Georgia Follows the Modified Comparative Fault Rule
Every state has its own rule when it comes to partial fault. In Georgia, they follow something called the “modified comparative fault rule.” This just means that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, consider that you are hit head-on by a drunk driver. It may clear to everybody involved that you weren’t at fault.
You should get 100% of your damages. However, if the defendant can prove that you had no headlights on and were speeding at the time of the crash, you may be charged with a certain amount of fault. The courts want to make sure that both parties are held accountable for their action.
Your Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Will Have to Prove Negligence
In order to collect damages, your Atlanta personal injury lawyer will have to prove negligence. In other words, they’ll need to show that the defendant didn’t act the way a reasonable person would in the same circumstances. To do this, your lawyer will have to demonstrate the following:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- They breached this duty of care.
- You were hurt.
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach.
As long as you can prove these four (4) elements of negligence, you should be able to collect damages. It’s just a matter of whether you’ll get the damages you asked for. It’s very rare that they will find either party 100% at fault. Don’t be surprised or hurt if they find you partially at fault in your accident.
The Defendant Will Argue That You’re at Fault
In almost any personal injury case, the parties will point fingers at each other. Nobody ever wants to admit they were at fault. Part of this is for financial reasons. But people also don’t want to swallow their pride and admit fault. This means they’ll fight it to the end.
If the defendant claims that you were partially at fault, your Atlanta personal injury lawyer will need to show that you were not at fault. All they really have to do is demonstrate that the defendant was more responsible than you were for the accident.
However, you don’t want your damages reduced if at all possible. You don’t want to admit that you’re partially at fault. Let the defendant prove it.
You Must Be Less than 50% at Fault if You Want to Recover Damages
If you’re found to be more than 50% at fault, you need to be careful. At this point, you’re no longer able to collect damages. The problem is that, once the defendant realizes you were more than 50% at fault, they may sue you. Technically, they could file a counterclaim and try to collect damages from you and your insurance company. Both sides realize this.
That’s why your Atlanta personal injury lawyer will work hard to settle your case. Nobody really wants to take their chances in court. Trials are expensive and time-consuming. Both sides also take the risk of losing if they go to court. If you lose, you walk away with nothing.
Even if You Were Partially at Fault, You Should Call an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer
Some accident victims are afraid to call a lawyer if they were partially at fault in an accident. They figure they aren’t able to sue because they were also at fault. What they don’t realize is that an Atlanta personal injury lawyer can still help them. As long as you’re less than 50% at fault, you’re still able to recover damages.
It just means that you’ll receive less money than you would’ve if you were not at fault. If you suffered serious injuries in any sort of accident, you need to stand up for yourself. Call an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer and schedule your free consultation. Find out from an expert attorney whether you should move forward with legal action.