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What is comparative negligence?

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2023 | Auto Accidents

When a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, they are legally required to adhere to all traffic laws and operate that vehicle responsibly. If a driver fails to act reasonably behind the wheel and causes an auto accident, the driver may be held liable for any injuries or damages that occur because of their negligence.

Driver negligence is generally defined as failing to follow the law or driving in an irresponsible manner. While one driver causes some collisions, in other cases, multiple parties cause other collisions, including other drivers, employers, and vehicle owners. Even a victim of the collision may be partially responsible for what happened.

Understanding comparative negligence

Under Georgia’s comparative fault laws, an accident victim may only recover compensation if they are less than 50% at fault for the accident. The victim’s damages will be reduced based on the percentage of fault attributed to them.

For example, a jury may find that a victim/driver filing the claim was 10% at fault, the other driver involved in the collision was 60% at fault and the other driver’s employer was 30% at fault. If the victim was entitled to $50,000 for past medical expenses and $50,000 for pain and suffering, for a total of $100,000 in damages, the victim would only be entitled to recover $90,000.

The recoverable damages would be split between the two at-fault defendants. In this case, the other driver would likely pay 60% of the damages, for a total of $54,000, while the driver’s employer would likely be responsible for 40% of the damages, or $36,000.

If you were partially liable for your collision, you should consider meeting with a legal professional to determine the amount of damages you are likely to recover.