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Should I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit If I Might Have Been Partially At Fault?

After an Atlanta accident resulting in a serious injury, it can be difficult to know with certainty how the accident occurred and who may be at fault. You might suspect that another motorist’s negligence caused the car accident in which you were injured, for example, or you may know that a particular hazard on somebody else’s property caused your trip and fall accident. Yet many injury cases are not immediately obvious, and it is important to have a personal injury attorney in Atlanta assess your case to determine who is likely to be liable, and who you may be able to file a claim against if you decide to bring a lawsuit. Under many circumstances like these, you might also be concerned that you were partially to blame for the accident, or you might be concerned that the defendant will try to argue that you were also partially at fault.

If you are in this situation, should you still file a personal injury lawsuit? In many cases, even if a plaintiff is partially to blame, Georgia law allows the plaintiff to recover damages. As such, it does often make sense to file a claim even if there is definitive evidence that you were partially at fault, but you should have an attorney assess your case before you reach any conclusions. In the meantime, the following are some considerations to take into account concerning plaintiff liability and recovery in a personal injury lawsuit.

Georgia’s Modified Comparative Fault Law Does Not Bar a Partially Liable Plaintiff from Recovery

The first thing to know is that, even if you are partially at fault for an accident or for your injuries, Georgia law will not bar you from recovery. Georgia courts use a modified comparative fault rule. What this means is that, if you file a lawsuit against a party who was at fault for your injuries, you can recover as long as you are not 50 percent or more at fault. As long as you are less than 50 percent at fault, you can recover damages from the defendant, but the amount you recover will be reduced by your portion of the fault.

For example, if you tripped and fell on the defendant’s property because of a dangerous condition that the defendant failed to repair, but you know you were looking at your phone at the time of the accident such that you were slightly distracted, the court could determine that you were 20 percent at fault for your injuries. If you were awarded $50,000, for example, you would still recover $40,000 even if you were 20 percent at fault ($50,000 x 20 percent = $10,000). 

Your Own Fault Might Not Even Come Up in Your Personal Injury Case

You should also know that your own fault will only become an issue if the defendant raises the issue of comparative fault. A defendant can raise the issue of the plaintiff’s partial fault or negligence as a defense strategy, in order to reduce the amount of damages they would be required to pay. As such, you will never want to bring up your own fault if you file a claim. If the defendant does raise the issue, you will have an opportunity to show that you are not partially at fault and that you are entitled to a full damages award.

Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you need assistance determining whether your own fault will impact your personal injury case, you should get in touch with one of our Atlanta personal injury attorneys who can help. Contact Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys online or call our firm at (404) 529-3476.

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