When it comes to filing a lawsuit for a personal injury, one of the critical aspects of the case will be proving negligence. Proof of the tortfeasor’s negligence is one of the elements to recover a settlement under Georgia personal injury law. Many clients ask us to define negligence and we use a simple explanation when doing so. Negligence as it pertains to Georgia personal injury cases is the doctrine that all of us in society owe a certain amount of due care to each other. This due care owed is referred to as a “standard of care.” If someone acts in a way that violates this societal standard, they are said to have been negligent. If that negligence causes you an injury, under Georgia’s personal injury laws, you may be owed compensation.
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In order to win your personal injury case in Georgia, you will have to prove that the person who injured you was negligent. While negligence alone is not the only element of the personal injury case, it is one of the most important. This is why it is critical for you to have an experience personal injury attorney to assist you with the case. If the case proceeds to trial, proving negligence will be paramount.
The Definition of Negligence
Negligence is defined by Cornell Law School as “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct).”
Georgia's Apportionment Statutes
The reason that negligence is not a panacea in Georgia is because of Georgia’s personal injury apportionment statutes. Georgia has an apportionment statute which requires a jury in a personal injury case to decide the amount of fault that each party to a personal injury lawsuit should bear. This apportionment of fault is essentially Georgia’s way of deciding who was negligent and to what degree they were negligent in causing an injury. Georgia’s personal injury fault apportionment regime has been challenged in many appellate cases. The Georgia Supreme Court has reasoned that the apportionment statutes in Georgia are essentially a codification of the common law doctrine of “comparative fault.”
Even if someone is negligent and causes your injury, you may not be able to recover in Georgia if you are found to also be at fault. This balancing of fault is one of the main reasons you need a qualified personal injury attorney to work on your behalf. The determiniation is complicated and very fact specific. The individual circumstances of your case must be reviewed and analyzed in the context of apportionment.
Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury cases are complex and the rules surrounding negligence are a prime example. This is why we advise anyone who has been injured in Georgia to call our team of Savannah personal injury lawyers today at 419-900-0955.
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan