In an automobile accident it is not always clear which party is at fault. In these cases liability for causing an automobile accident will typically be determined by the party in violation of a motor vehicle code. In other instances there may be contributing factors from both parties that caused the accident. In that case, Georgia uses the law of comparative negligence to apportion liability amongst the parties. Under Georgia’s comparative law statute O.C.G.A §51-12-33, “where an action is brought against one or more persons for injury to person or property and the plaintiff is to some degree responsible for the injury or damages claimed, the trier of fact, in its determination of the total amount of damages to be awarded, if any, shall determine the percentage of fault of the plaintiff and the judge shall reduce the amount of damages otherwise awarded to the plaintiff in proportion to his or her percentage of fault.” There is one caveat to this statutory provision. Under 51-12-33, the plaintiff shall not be entitled to receive any damages if the plaintiff is 50 percent or more responsible for the injury or damages. In plain language what this means is that the plaintiff’s ability to recover is reduced depending on their perceived level of responsibility for the injury.
Insurance companies can take the position that the plaintiff is partially responsible for the accident based on a number of reasons such as: driving faster than the posted speed limit or some other minor traffic violation. Ultimately, the jury is the party that determines fault, and, in this case, the percentages of fault apportioned amongst the parties if applicable. To that end the determination of percentages of liability is litigated just as any other contested matter in Court. At the Faucette Law Firm we have experience investigating automobile accident cases. Reviewing the police report is only the beginning. Items such as dash cameras, surveillance video, body cameras, 911 CAD reports, expert depositions, accident reconstructionist and the use of private investigators are all useful tools to counter a defense argument that the plaintiff is entitled to less than compensation or, in some cases, no compensation at all.
If you have been denied your claim by the insurance company or have been offered less based on partial fault contact our law firm today for a consultation. The Faucette Law Firm, LLC has over 13 years of experience representing Atlanta in automobile accident cases.