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What if a crash victim made a minor mistake too?

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What if a crash victim made a minor mistake too?

by | Oct 26, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

It is usually relatively obvious who is to blame for a car crash. One driver runs a red light or does something else unsafe or illegal, and they end up affecting other people. Typically, the party at fault for a crash in Georgia will be financially responsible for the impact that the collision has on others. Their insurance can cover certain costs, and if their insurance isn’t adequate, then the parties affected by the wreck can possibly pursue a personal injury lawsuit. The rules are a bit different when it comes to a lawsuit as opposed to a standard insurance claim.

Those with major crash-related expenses may worry about whether their case is strong enough for them to prevail in court. Frequently, injury victims may have contributed somewhat to them occurring by making a small traffic mistake themselves. Minor errors may or may not ultimately affect someone’s eligibility for compensation after a crash.

Contributory negligence can affect litigation

In Georgia, state law recognizes the idea of contributory negligence. In other words, it is possible for someone to be partially at fault for a crash even though someone else is primarily to blame. A defendant responding to a crash-related lawsuit in Georgia might raise a claim of contributory negligence as a defense to the pending lawsuit.

The courts would then review the claim that someone failing to use their turn signal or otherwise making a mistake in traffic was partially to blame for the wreck. The courts will allocate a percentage of fault to both the plaintiff and the defendant. The lawsuit can move forward if the plaintiff is less than 50% to blame for the collision. However, if the lawsuit is successful, the courts will diminish what they award the plaintiff based on their percentage of fault for the collision.

In such scenarios, the burden of proof falls to the defendant claiming that the plaintiff made a mistake that contributed to the situation. Even when defendants try to use contributory negligence as part of their legal strategy, plaintiffs may still be able to secure compensation in court. Ultimately, because every crash is unique, seeking legal guidance to better understand how the courts handle scenarios with complex allocations of fault may make people more confident about seeking compensation after a serious Georgia collision, even if they contributed to its cause in a minor way.