Comparative Fault: How Does It Work in a Car Accident?

comparative fault

Comparative fault isn’t a concept a lot of people understand. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you probably realize that nobody is ever 100% at fault. Regardless of how good a driver you are, if someone looks hard enough, they’ll find something wrong with the way you drive. Perhaps you hit the brakes too late. Or maybe you don’t keep enough distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. Our Buckhead accident lawyers meet with new clients every week who were injured in a car crash. In most of these cases, the plaintiff insists that the other driver was at fault. They don’t want to admit that they may have played a role in the accident.

There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you were partly at fault for your car accident. Your Georgia injury lawyer will explain that you will still be entitled to damages, even if you were partially at fault. Here, we’ll explain what negligence is and how your Buckhead accident lawyer can prove it. We will also explain the principle of comparative negligence and how it can impact your case. If you still have questions after reading this article, contact our office directly. You can take advantage of your free, initial consultation.

Most Personal Injury Lawsuits are Based on Negligence

If you’ve already done some research on negligence, then you know how it works. Your Buckhead accident lawyer must prove that the other driver was negligent in order for you to collect damages. Negligence is just another way of saying that the defendant didn’t behave the way a reasonable person would have given the circumstances.

The basic elements of negligence are:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of this duty
  • Injuries
  • Causation

Without getting into too much detail, let’s discuss negligence for one more moment. In order to win your case and get you compensation for your injuries, your Georgia injury lawyer will need to first prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care. All drivers owe a certain duty of care to other motorists. At a minimum, they must obey all the traffic laws.

When it comes to proving a breach of this duty, your Buckhead accident lawyer must prove that the defendant didn’t obey the traffic laws. For example, they can demonstrate that the defendant was texting and driving at the time of the crash. Or they can prove that they were speeding when they hit you.

The third element of negligence requires that you were injured. As long as you went to the hospital immediately after your accident, this shouldn’t be hard to do. Your Buckhead accident lawyer will simply submit a copy of your medical bills.

Finally, you’ll need to demonstrate that the other driver caused your injuries. As long as the defendant’s attorney can’t prove that something other than the crash caused your injuries, you should be fine.

Georgia Follows the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

You may be thinking that you can’t win your case unless your Georgia injury lawyer can prove that the defendant was 100% at fault. This isn’t true. Georgia follows something called the “modified comparative negligence” rule. This rule states that a plaintiff can still collect damages in their car accident lawsuit, even if they were partially at fault. However, their damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault.

For example, imagine that you were walking down the street in your town and were hit by a car. Clearly, the defendant can’t argue that you caused the crash. However, they may be able to prove that you didn’t cross at a designated crosswalk. If this is the case, you will be found partly at fault – perhaps 20%. This means that your damages will be reduced by 20%. So, if you initially sued the defendant for $250,000, your damages would be reduced by $50,000, or 20%.

You May Be Wondering How You Could Be Partially at Fault in a Car Accident

It can be hard to imagine a scenario in which an accident victim was also partly at fault. Sure, the pedestrian example above makes sense. Everyone knows that you’re supposed to use a crosswalk when you cross the street. However, there are other ways in which you could be found partly at fault.

Some of these examples include:

  • You stop at a red light. The light turns green. You see that a car coming from your right is speeding and seems to have no intention of slowing down. You decide to proceed through the intersection anyway. You took the risk of knowing that the other driver may not stop. You may be found partially at fault for the crash.
  • You are trying to make a right-hand turn. You see that the car coming from the opposite direction is trying to make a left turn. You don’t wait to see if they move. Instead, you try to make the turn quickly, so as to avoid a collision. As feared, the other car comes barreling around the corner and smashes into your car. There’s a good chance you could be found partly at fault here.

The Good News is That Your Buckhead Accident Lawyer Knows the Law and Will Negotiate a Fair Settlement

There’s no secret as to why you hired a Buckhead accident lawyer. If you were hurt in a car crash, you want the other party to pay. You may call it justice or accountability. What you really want is compensation for your injuries. Our Georgia injury lawyers understand this. They will do whatever they can to get you the damages you deserve. However, they can only get you damages for injuries you actually suffered. Furthermore, your damages will be reduced if you were partly at fault.

Since we offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, we suggest you call us right away. Sit down with one of our seasoned Buckhead accident lawyers and let them review your case. They can answer any questions you may have. If they determine that you were partially at fault for the crash, they’ll still fight to get you damages.

Since the consultation is free, you have nothing to lose. And remember – you don’t have to pay anything upfront. Our attorneys aren’t paid until your case is settled.