Recovering Compensation If You Were Partially At Fault
Car accidents happen every day. Sometimes a driver isn’t paying attention, or they switch lanes without checking their blind spot. No matter the reason, driving errors cause accidents. Plus, it’s not uncommon for more than one person to be responsible for these accidents.
If you’re involved in a car accident, you can get the money you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering through a personal injury claim.
At Rafi Law Firm, we fully understand the complexity of recovering compensation after you’ve been injured in an accident. It’s important that you hire an Atlanta car accident attorney who is intimately familiar with state laws and the local courts where your case will be heard.
Mike Rafi has helped clients recover over $45 million in compensation for their injuries and other losses. Give us a call at 404-800-1156 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with an Atlanta car accident lawyer today.
Georgia’s Laws Regarding Compensation
Georgia is one of the many states that follows a comparative negligence statute. Under comparative negligence, you can still recover compensation if you are partially at fault for the accident.
Specifically, Georgia follows a “modified contributory negligence” rule, established under Georgia Code §51-12-33. In short, this law says you are legally allowed to seek compensation so long as you are 49% or less at fault for the accident.
In other states, this limit is set at 50%, while in “pure comparative negligence” states, you can legally seek compensation no matter how much you are at fault. However, in a few states, you can’t recover compensation at all if you are even 1% at fault. That is called “contributory negligence.”
For example, let’s say you’re driving down I-285 during rush hour. Traffic suddenly comes to a halt, and you stop a couple of feet from the car in front of you.
However, the car behind you doesn’t stop in time because they were distracted. They rear-end you, and your car slams into the car in front. That three-car wreck leaves you with a few broken bones in your face, as well as broken ribs that puncture your lung.
In total, your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and other damages amount to $50,000. But because you were so close to the car in front of you, you are found 20% at fault for your own injuries. In Georgia, this amount of fault means you are still eligible for some compensation. Ultimately, the judge awards you $40,000 ($50,000 minus 20 percent, which is $10,000).
Your Atlanta car accident lawyer will evaluate all of the details of your case to determine how much compensation you may be owed under state law.
How Is Fault Determined?
Fault for an accident virtually always comes down to negligence and a “he said versus she said”. In legal terms, negligence occurs when a person acts in a way a reasonable person doesn’t and therefore causes injury.
Four general points must be proven in order to show the other person was negligent. These include:
- A duty of care was established. In this case, the other driver had a duty to take every reasonable step to not cause an accident.
- That duty of care was breached. In the example above, the other driver breached their duty of care by not paying attention to the road. You breached your duty of care by following too closely to the car in front of you.
- There were proximate injuries, meaning your injuries were directly caused by the accident.
- You suffered real damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and more.
If these points are proven, the other driver can be found at fault for the wreck. However, you may be held partially at fault because of your own negligence.
Had you left more room between yourself and the car in front of you, you would have been able to stop further back. That way, you wouldn’t have hit the car in front of you when you were rear-ended.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are another devastating possible outcome of a car accident. Individuals who sustain a spinal cord injury risk paralysis, tingling in the extremities, motor skill dysfunction, chronic pain, and even premature death.
Like TBIs, spinal cord injuries are commonly caused by major car accidents. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injury, causing 39.3% of them from 2015 – 2018.
How an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Determining fault in a car accident is one of the most important aspects of getting the compensation you deserve. Without an experienced attorney, the insurance company can twist the police report and other evidence to show that you were at fault for the accident, and therefore claim they don’t owe you any money.
At Rafi Law Firm, we are well aware of the tactics insurance companies use to pay out as little compensation as possible.
Our process always includes:
- 1. A full investigation of the accident, with accident reconstruction if necessary
- 2. Expert witness depositions
- 3. Evidence evaluations and more
Through our investigation, we can determine how much you’re owed. We can also estimate your degree of fault to give you a realistic idea of how much compensation you may be entitled to.
Our lawyers know what it takes to make sure you get paid. Give us a call at 404-800-1156 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with an Atlanta car accident lawyer today.