The short answer to this question is no. Georgia is among many states who use the “at-fault” doctrine. This simply means that fault must be determined in every accident. When it comes to injury accidents in Georgia, the at-fault party is liable for damages and reparations. There is a lot more to it though as fault can be assigned to both parties.
Georgia Is A Comparative Fault Statue
Georgia’s personal injury laws allow for the other party (defendant) to file a counterclaim. Their lawyers and insurance company will insist that you (the plaintiff) is the one at fault. This holds true even in drunk-driving cases.
If the defense is successful, they may prove that both parties have some fault in the accident. The damages awarded to the plaintiff are then reduced or even eliminated. The amount received is based on the percentage of fault attributed to each party. As the plaintiff, if you are 20 percent responsible for the accident, your award decreases by that same 20 percent. (A $10,000 award would be reduced to $8,000.)
As the plaintiff, this can be tricky. If for some reason you are found to be 50 percent or more responsible, you will collect no money. It has nothing to do with whether the other driver was drunk or negligent. The plaintiff must have a fault of 49 percent or less responsibility or there will be no monetary award.
At-fault states such as Georgia require drivers to carry insurance. This is to ensure they are protected in the case of an accident. It allows for coverage of medical treatments and vehicle repair or replacement.
There are three typical ways of obtaining reparation and reimbursement in Georgia:
- Filing a claim with your own insurance company who can then go after the other party’s insurance.
- Directly filing the claim with the at-fault party’s insurance.
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
When you or a loved one is in an accident in the state of Georgia, you need to surround yourself with the best team available. You may feel confident that your insurance company is on your side. They are — up to a point. Don’t forget that they are a business out to make money. If they can get away with paying you the smallest amount possible, they will. They are in the business to protect themselves first with you coming in a distant second.
This is when you need to bring in a skilled personal injury attorney like the ones at Butler Law Firm. You need to have a strong, well-presented case in order to win an appropriate judgment. It is not uncommon for your case to never reach a jury. Fault is often determined by court officials and in some cases, insurance adjusters. An experienced lawyer makes sure that all your concerns are addressed. They will work to get you a fair judgment and everything you’re entitled to by law. Just a small example of what your legal team will do for you includes:
- Collecting and preserving any evidence from the accident.
- Interviewing and talking to witnesses and involved parties.
- Interpreting and applying Georgia laws and regulations to the case.
- Negotiating with the insurance companies on your behalf.
- Preparing any necessary documents for court and filings.
The Clock Is Ticking
From the moment you or your family member is involved in an accident, the timer is counting down. For most personal injury cases in Georgia, there is a 2-year window for you to file your case. If you miss the deadline, you will be unable to file a claim and seek damages even if you suffered severe injury or loss.
Don’t delay, call one of our caring attorneys at 678-940-1444 for a free consultation today. Let us help you determine what your next step should be.