There are quite a few situations where more than one party is at fault for an accident or incident. Before the concept of comparative negligence was developed, plaintiffs weren’t able to get any damages if they were partially at fault for the crash. Now, with comparative negligence, plaintiffs can still have a legal claim even though they may have also made a mistake that led to the accident.
How does comparative negligence work in a car accident case?
Imagine that you were involved in an accident where you have a green light, and you are going through an intersection. You are speeding slightly, but you also have the right of way because of your green light. Another car is coming toward the intersection on your right and goes through their red light and hits you. The other driver is clearly at fault, but, if you hadn’t been speeding, the accident might have been avoided. In that situation, you might be considered partially at fault for the collision in the first place.
When more than one party is at fault, a judge or jury will assign each party a percentage of the blame. In the above example, the other driver may have been 95% at fault while you were 5% at fault. The amount of money that you can get for your legal claim is then reduced based on this percentage. If you have $10,000 in damages, for instance, then you will only receive $9,500 from the other driver because you have to account for your portion of the blame for the crash. Although your damages are reduced, having comparative negligence allows you to still recover most of your losses.
Are there other ways to handle comparative negligence?
Yes. There generally two types of comparative negligence. States vary on which kind of comparative negligence they use:
- Pure comparative negligence: States that use this model allow plaintiffs to recover even if they are mostly at fault for the accident. In the example above, the person that hit you could actually start a lawsuit that alleged that you cause them damage because you were speeding. This likely wouldn’t be a winning case, but it’s possible that the other driver would get 5% of their damages paid for by you or your insurance company.
- Modified comparative negligence: Most states follow this model, including Georgia. Modified comparative negligence does not allow someone who was more than 51% at fault for the accident to recover damages. That means that if the crash was mostly your fault, you could not get money for your losses.
Even if you’re partially at fault for an accident, you can still get money from the other person who really caused the crash. John Foy & Associates can help! Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.