If you were hurt on someone else’s property and are worried you partially caused the accident, don’t give up all hope. Under Georgia’s comparative negligence laws, you may still have options even if you were partly at fault in a premises liability case. A Georgia premises liability lawyer can help you seek compensation based on whether or not the property or business owner was also partly at fault.
This article will cover your options if you suspect you played a part in the slip and fall accident (or another injury accident) on someone else’s property.
What Comparative Negligence Means in a Georgia Premises Liability Case
- In cases where the injured party is partially at fault for the injury, the courts will determine the injured party’s percentage of fault.
- If the injured party is 50% or more at fault, they will be barred from recovering any damages.
- However, if the injured party is less than 50% at fault, the damages they can recover would be reduced by that percentage of fault.
For example, say you are hurt at a business and your damages total $100,000. You are determined to be 10% at fault, while the business holds 90% of the fault. You would be responsible for 10% of the damages, which is $10,000, while the business would be liable for the remaining $90,000.
Comparative negligence is the opposite of contributory negligence, which prevents the injured party from receiving any damages if they hold a portion of fault. Most states, including Georgia, use comparative negligence laws to still allow victims to recover compensation when more than one party is at fault.
True comparative negligence would mean the victim could still receive damages if they were even one percent at fault. However, Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence law because recovery is only available at less than 50% fault.
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Your Duty to Exercise Ordinary Care on the Premises
In Georgia, property owners and businesses have a duty of care to maintain safe premises for those who are legally invited onto their property. The owner or occupier can be found negligent if they do not uphold that duty. If they were negligent in your injury accident, they may be liable for your damages.
As the victim in a premises liability case, you also have a certain duty of care. You must exercise “ordinary care” to avoid the consequences that led to your accident. If it’s found that you were not careful enough, you would not be entitled to recover damages (Georgia Code § 51-11-7).
The property owner or their insurance company may try to claim you should have known about or been careful enough to avoid the dangerous or hazardous condition that caused your injuries. However, don’t let them deter you from bringing your case. It’s best to contact a Georgia premises liability lawyer right away so you can discuss the details and begin legally protecting your rights.
How to Limit Your Fault and Liability in a Georgia Premises Liability Claim
Since Georgia’s comparative negligence laws are modified, there is a chance you might not be able to recover damages at all. You’ll need to show that you had no more than 49% fault in the accident, which can be difficult if the property owner or insurance company is trying to blame you. Insurance companies are well-aware of the laws in Georgia, and they know they can use them to help decrease their responsibility for damages.
The best way to limit your degree of fault in a premises liability accident is by hiring an experienced Georgia premises liability lawyer. They can maximize your chance of compensation by gathering the right evidence and building a strong case for you.
There are some ways you can also help protect your rights, even before you speak with a lawyer. Here are some actions you can take to help demonstrate what happened, show the owner’s negligence, and reduce your liability:
- Taking pictures of the accident scene and your injuries
- Talking to witnesses and getting their names and contact information
- Reporting the accident to the property owner or business where you were injured
- NOT accepting any blame or admitting any negligence in the accident
- Seeing a doctor as soon as possible for treatment of your injuries
- Keeping track of all medical expenses, missed workdays, and other losses you face because of your accident injuries
Once you speak with your lawyer, the information you compile can help them get started in building your case. The more evidence your lawyer has, the better your chance of negotiating for a higher settlement. A good premises liability lawyer will not let the insurance company take advantage of your situation or use the law against you.
You should also be very careful to never accept the first offer from the insurance company. They may reach out to you soon after your injury accident and offer you a lump sum of money. This is enticing for many accident victims because they are dealing with increasing medical bills and lots of monetary stress. However, this offer will never be enough to cover all of your expenses.
A premises liability attorney can account for all damages you face—past, present, and future—because of your premises liability accident and injuries. Your costs are often surprisingly much higher than you realize after an injury. A lawyer can calculate everything and hold the insurance company accountable while you focus on healing.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
Even if you did not exercise complete care in your injury accident, you likely still have grounds to seek damages. Property owners and businesses still have a legal duty to keep their premises safe for you, as the customer or visitor, and our lawyers at John Foy & Associates can make sure they’re held accountable.
Our premises liability lawyers have been helping injury victims win the compensation they need and deserve for the past two decades. We are not afraid to communicate and negotiate with insurance companies and fight for your rights. To get a FREE consultation and discuss your options, call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now.