While we all aim to drive safely, sometimes it seems appropriate for a little risk to be taken. Perhaps you were speeding, but only to match the speed of traffic around you. Or perhaps you did not use your blinker when changing lanes or came to a rolling stop at a stop sign.
These actions may seem inconsequential, but if you engaged in one of them at the same time that another driver rear-ends you or T-bones you, you could be seriously injured. The other party may clearly have been more at-fault for the crash than you, but if you made a mistake that contributed to the accident, can you recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit?
Can I recover damages if I’m partly at-fault for the crash?
Some states bar all recovery if you were even 1% at-fault when you were struck. This draconian rule, however, is not followed by most states, including Georgia.
Under Georgia law, if you were less than 50% at-fault when you were struck you can recover damages in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit. This is referred to as modified comparative negligence. The amount of damages awarded will be reduced proportionally to the percentage you were at-fault. If you were more than 50% at-fault, you will not be able to recover any damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
There is a third rule referred to as pure comparative negligence that is followed in some states. In these states you can recover damages even if you were more than 50% at fault. The damages awarded will be reduced proportionally to the percentage you were at-fault.
Untangling fault can be complicated
Car crashes are rarely straightforward. There are so many factors that lead to one that apportioning fault can become a herculean task. Still, it is good to know that in Georgia you could still recover damages in some circumstances even if you partially contributed to the accident.