You were in a serious car accident last year. A jury finds you have damages amounting to $1 million but also finds that you were 10 percent at fault for the crash and reduces the amount by $100,000. Known as comparative negligence, this system determines the proportion of fault between two parties and adjusts any award of damages based on that percentage.

Georgia uses a modified comparative fault system, which means that to collect damages after a car accident, you must be less than 50 percent responsible. If you’re 50 percent or more at fault, you’re barred from collecting anything, regardless of any injury or damages you incurred.

One advantage of this system is acknowledging the complexity of car accidents and that sometimes both drivers were at fault. The driver who was primarily responsible is not burdened with covering the entirety of the damages. The downside is that a reduced damages award may not fully cover expenses such as medical bills and vehicle repair costs. 

Fault determinations are made based on evidence, which can include:

  • Police reports

  • Witnesses’ testimony

  • Recordings, such as security or traffic cameras in the area

Just because one car had more damage or the driver and their passengers sustained more serious injuries does not automatically mean they’re entitled to collect damages or were not primarily at fault. 

Situations such as multiple-car accidents involve more complicated determinations of fault. The jury will consider the conduct of all persons who contributed to causing the accident — even those who are not parties to the suit. This includes parties who settle with the plaintiff prior to trial. A nonparty’s assessed fault can significantly reduce a defendant’s percentage of fault and consequent liability for damages. If fault is reduced to below 50 percent, that defendant may be entitled to recover damages.

A finding of comparative negligence can deprive you of needed financial support after a car accident. Hiring an experienced legal team can help you get the highest possible compensation to assist with medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repair or replacement and other expenses that are the result of an auto accident. 

Jason & Bradley, LLC in Stone Mountain is one of Georgia’s preeminent personal injury law firms. If you or a family member has been in a car accident, contact us online or call 404-297-9933 for an initial consultation.