How Georgia Law Will Affect Your Car Accident Claim
Making a claim in Georgia will require a basic understanding of the state’s legal system. An attorney that specializes in Georgia personal injury lawsuits and insurance claims will be able to help you navigate the legal landscape. Georgia uses some laws that are not in most states, like the modified comparative negligence system.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Georgia is part of a group of 14 states that used a comparative negligence system for calculating financial compensation after an accident. Under this system, each involved party is given a percentage representing their level of fault for the accident. People who are up to 49% at fault for an accident can still receive compensation.
Insurance companies will use any tool and tactic at their disposal to shift blame around and avoid paying some or all of the damages. Comparative negligence percentages are the result of police reports, witness statements, and crash analysis. You should always speak to insurance company representatives with your insurance litigation attorney present.
Percentages and Your Compensation
In Georgia, if you want to sue someone personally after a car accident, you will need to work around the state’s modified comparative negligence system. The percentage of your fault determines whether you can file a claim or lawsuit.
You must be 49% or less at fault to pursue compensation. Insurance companies have a clear incentive to show that people involved are at least 50% responsible because this absolves them of paying out any settlement.
The amount of compensation is also dependant on your comparative negligence. Your percentage is subtracted from the total amount of compensation. For example, if you are 40% responsible for an accident and then reach a settlement, you will only be able to receive 60% of the settlement amount.
Another interesting thing about the laws in Georgia is the lack of a cap on damages in personal injury cases. Many states set a limit on the amount that a plaintiff can attempt to win in a settlement, but Georgia does not play by this rule. This means that there is no limit to your risk of financial exposure if you are found at fault in a car accident and the other person is injured.
Georgia’s Statute of Limitations
All states have a set of laws that determine how long someone can wait before initiating litigation over different issues. This is called the statute of limitations, and it will vary among events resulting from a car accident.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
A personal injury lawsuit is one of the most common legal actions after a vehicular collision. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two years in Georgia. The clock starts ticking on the day of the accident.
It always pays to act quickly when filing a claim or suit. No attorney would suggest waiting anywhere close to the two-year limit.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
According to experts like a wrongful death attorney, a wrongful death suit would be a family’s chance at compensation if a loved one was killed due to the negligence or actions of another driver. Wrongful death lawsuits also have a two-year statute of limitations under Georgia laws. However, the statute of limitations will begin on the day that the victim passed away, not the date of the accident.
Vehicle Damage Lawsuits
If it has been longer than two years since a car accident that you were involved in, you are not quite past all legal processes yet. A vehicle damage lawsuit or claim has a statute of limitations of four years. This would be another reason to settle quickly, even if you were the at-fault driver. Having a potential legal action against you looming over your head for four years since the date of the accident can be frustrating.
What to Do Now
If you think that Georgia’s laws will give you a good chance at receiving a settlement, you should move forward quickly. A Georgia personal injury or vehicle damage attorney can lay out all your options and advise you on the best place to start. You should also include an auto collision repair claim if your car was totaled.
About the Author
Samantha Alvord is a legal expert and a passionate writer who works tirelessly to inform people about the field of personal injury, her area of specialty. She has a talent for making complex legal concepts accessible to the public. It is Samantha’s goal to present a clear and structured piece to the reader, which can easily be used as a guide to solving legal matters.