Written by attorney Ronald Shane Smith

Personal Injury Claims and Georgia’s Modified Comparative Negligence Laws

Worried about liability? Contact a personal injury attorney in Atlanta to go over your claim and receive advice tailored to your case. Whenever considering these claims, remember that modified comparative negligence laws apply in Georgia. These laws affect the amount of damages you may recover.

You may decide to file a personal injury claim against the responsible person if you were injured in:

· an auto accident;

· an incident on someone else’s property; or

· in some other event in which someone else could be responsible for your injury.

However, if you were partially to blame for the incident, the court may find that you are also partially responsible for your injury. This could affect the compensation to which you are entitled.

Difference Between Contributory and Comparative Negligence

Contributory negligence is a defense used by defendants in a personal injury claim that asserts that the plaintiff was also negligent and therefore was equally responsible for his or her injury.

If the defendant can prove that the plaintiff failed to exercise “reasonable care for his or her own safety," then the plaintiff cannot recover any kind of settlement for the incident. This is to say, any negligence on behalf of the plaintiff prevents him or her from recovering compensation.

Comparative negligence can be proven without completely barring the plaintiff from recovering compensation. In this system, the judge or jury compare the defendant’s negligence to that of the plaintiff to determine who was the most negligent. The extent to which the plaintiff was responsible can diminish his or her overall settlement.

Georgia: A Modified Comparative Negligence State

In Georgia, neither a pure contributory nor a pure comparative negligence system is used. A comparative negligence system is used if the plaintiff is found to be less than 50% responsible for the incident, meaning that the settlement will be pro-rated according to the degree of the plaintiff’s negligence.

If the plaintiff is found to be more than 50 percent negligent, the “complete bar" concept associated with contributory negligence is used, meaning that the plaintiff is completely barred from recovering any settlement in the claim.

The assumption of risk doctrine is included in the same Georgia code as this modified comparative negligence rule. This doctrine states that the plaintiff in a personal injury claim cannot recover a settlement if he or she knew and understood the risks of the situation in which he or she was injured and exposed him or herself to those risks anyway.

Help from a Lawyer

If you have been injured and fear that your own negligence may reduce your settlement or bar you completely from a settlement, consult a lawyer to review your case. He or she can go over the circumstances or your case and examine any evidence pertinent to determining liability.

An attorney can also help you figure out if your negligence contributed to the accident and, if so, how much. These are key pieces of information in personal injury claims because they affect the amount of compensation to which you are entitled.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Shane Smith are well versed in Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law. Contact us today for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney in Atlanta: 866-979-1629.

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