Over the years, our car accident lawyers in Atlanta have handled hundreds of car accident cases. The one thing almost all of them have in common is that neither driver was 100% at fault. If you wanted to, you could criticize the way almost everybody you know drives. Some people drive too fast while others drive too close to the car ahead of them. You probably have your own bad habits. For example, you may drive through yellow lights a second or two later than you should.
This is why it’s so hard to prove that a particular driver is 100% at fault. When we prepare our clients’ car accident cases, we do our best to show that the defendant was responsible for the crash. We gather enough evidence to prove that the other driver was negligent. However, it’s almost impossible to prove that the other driver was entirely responsible for our client’s accident. This is why, when our Atlanta injury attorneys enter settlement negotiations, we always have a bottom line. Knowing the other driver’s attorney will argue that our client was at fault, we go in expecting to settle for less than our full demand.
Here, we’ll explain what happens if you’re found to be partially at fault for your motor vehicle accident. We’ll also explain how this can impact your damages and settlement amount. If you’re worried that you may not be able to recover damages for your car crash, give us a call. One of our car accident lawyers in Atlanta can review your case and let you know what your options are.
In Order to Collect Damages, Your Atlanta Injury Attorney Must Prove Negligence
The only way you’ll be able to collect damages is if your car accident lawyer in Atlanta can prove fault. They do this by demonstrating that the other driver was negligent. This basically means that the other driver didn’t behave the way a reasonable person would have given the circumstances.
To show negligence, your Atlanta injury attorney must demonstrate the following:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care – This shouldn’t be all that hard to prove. All drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists. For example, you aren’t allowed to text and drive because it puts you and other drivers at risk.
- The defendant breached this duty of care – If your attorney can show that the defendant broke a traffic law or was drunk driving, it’ll go a long way toward proving breach.
- You have to show that you were injured – The best way to do this is by submitting a copy of your medical records. This is why we always tell our clients to go to the hospital immediately after their car crash.
- Finally, your car accident lawyer in Atlanta must show that your injuries were directly caused by the defendant’s breach – Unless the defendant can show that something other than the accident caused your injuries, you should be fine.
Once your attorney has proven negligence, you can move on to prove your damages.
What Kind of Damages Can Your Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta Demand?
If you can prove fault, then you can start discussing damages. In most of the car accident cases we handle, our clients are entitled to some or all of the following:
- Medical bills and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Of course, you can only recover damages that your Atlanta injury attorney can prove. And, as mentioned earlier, if you’re found to be more than 50% responsible for the crash, you won’t collect anything.
Georgia Allows Plaintiffs to Collect Even if They Were Partially at Fault
One of the good things about Georgia law is that you’re still allowed to collect damages, even if you were partly at fault. For example, if you were hit from behind, the other driver would normally be held totally responsible. However, if the other driver can show that your brake lights were out, you may be found to be 30% at fault. Normally, and in some states, you would be barred from recovering compensation. However, because Georgia follows the comparative negligence rule, you can still collect damages.
Basically, if you are partially at fault, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Let’s take the above example of a rear-end collision. Let’s imagine that you sued the defendant for $100,000. The judge finds that you were 30% at fault. Your damages would be reduced by $30,000 and you would only receive $70,000.
Keep in mind – this is a very basic example. In real life, the cases are much more complicated than that. There’s a good chance your car accident lawyer in Atlanta will have to go back and forth with the defendant’s attorney to come up with a percentage both sides think is fair. Since your case is probably going to settle anyway, the exact percentage shouldn’t matter all that much.
Come On in and See What Our Expert Atlanta Injury Attorneys Have to Say
If you’ve recently been involved in a car crash, you may be entitled to compensation. It all depends on the facts of your case and what your Atlanta injury attorney can prove. If you’re able to show that you were less than 51% at fault, there’s a good chance you’ll receive damages. However, the amount of your settlement will be affected by your degree of fault.
Rather than worry about whether you have a legitimate claim for damages, come in and sit down with an experienced attorney. Our car accident lawyers in Atlanta have decades of combined experience handling these types of cases. We know how to prove your case and we know how to negotiate with the insurance companies. If you think you may be entitled to damages, take advantage of your free, initial consultation.