The state of Georgia is one in a small sampling of states that use the modified comparative fault rule when addressing lawsuits after an accident. It is important to understand what this rule means if you are going to try to sue for personal injury after a car accident.
What is the Modified Comparative Fault?
Modified comparative fault is also referred to as the 50% rule. This means that under modified comparative fault, the person filing the lawsuit for personal damages must fall under 50% responsible for the accident.
After an accident, it is important to call the police and have an accident report filed. The officer will collect information that you can use in your case if you are injured. This information includes:
- All the information of the other party involved
- The position of the vehicles before, during, and after the accident
- The written statements of both parties involved
- Witness statements if there are any
- Pictures of the scene
It is at this point that you should go to the hospital to be checked for injuries. Make sure to get copies of all the medical reports from the accident.
If you have been seriously hurt in an accident, you need to hire a Georgia car accident attorney to represent you in your case.
Compiling Your Modified Comparative Fault Case
Once you have obtained your legal counsel for your lawsuit, they will begin creating a case to show that the other driver showed negligence while they were driving. This negligence will be the factor that helps calculate the modified comparative fault percentage.
Negligence in a car accident case is anything that goes against the general rule that when behind the wheel of a car everyone has an obligation to be cautious and careful. Anything that shows that the defendant in the case was not careful is considered their violation of that general rule and supports the case for negligence.
- The duties of a responsible driver include:
- Maintaining and driving at reasonable speeds
- Making sure to keep a vigilant eye on their surroundings and other vehicles
- Keeping constant control of the car at all times
- Making sure that the car and the components of the car are in working order at all times
- Not using drugs or alcohol while driving
- Following all general licensing laws like right-of-way rules
- If the defendant violates any of these basic driving responsibilities, they can be found negligent behind the wheel of the vehicle and that can make them more responsible for the accident.
The lawyer and the plaintiff have to create a case that supports the fact that the injuries were sustained by the negligence of the defendant. If that cannot be proven, they will not be able to build a case.
Once the plaintiff and the lawyer have compiled their case and the defendant and their counsel have had a chance to respond with their side of the story, the judge will then decide who what at fault and to what percentage.
If the judge finds that the plaintiff was even 51% responsible for the accident, even though they were injured they cannot sue. If the defendant was injured, at this point they could counter sue for the injuries that they sustained in the accident.
If the judge finds the evidence from the accident is in favor of the plaintiff, it is then that the personal injury lawsuit can then be filed.
Statute of Limitations in Georgia
In Georgia, they impose a statute of limitations on personal injury cases and property damage cases. If you intend on filing a personal injury case or wrongful death suit from a car accident, you only have two years from the accident to file it. Once the two-year mark passes you will not be able to go after damages at all.
If you are seeking out retribution for a property damage case, you have up to four years from the incident to file. If you do not do it within that time period, you will not be able to do so later on.
Waiting in either situation is not recommended because if someone is called to testify in your case, they may not be able to recall all of the events as well as they would be able to close to the accident.
Make Sure You Have the Law on Your Side
Even though it is possible to sue someone without the help of an Athens, GA auto accident attorney, it isn’t always the best idea. Let a lawyer help you compile your case and get the justice you deserve for your pain and your suffering.