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Georgia Car Accident Compensation Laws

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury deaths and the second leading cause of hospitalizations and ER visits in Georgia. In 2017, Georgia had the fourth-largest number of traffic fatalities in the nation, even though Georgia has the eighth-largest population.

Tourists and residents alike should be familiar with the state's laws for car accident compensation – which rule any car crashes, whether they involve tourists or native Atlantans. You don't want to be in an Atlanta car accident, especially one involving serious injuries, and not know what to do.

Want on-demand legal guidance when an accident happens? The award-winning TurnSignl app has launched in Georgia! If you have already been in an accident and need a lawyer, you can find one through our car accident attorney directory.

Georgia's Car Accident Laws: Compensation and Damages

Below, you'll find a table laying out Georgia's car accident and truck accident compensation laws, followed by in-depth explanations of the key elements. Forming an attorney-client relationship with a law firm may be helpful if you find yourself needing legal advice.

Statute of Limitations

Two years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury (Ga. O.C.G.A. section 9-3-33)

Four years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit for property damage (Ga. O.C.G.A. section 9-3-32)

Limits on Damages

No cap on compensatory damages. (Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, PC v. Nestlehutt, 691 S.E. 2d 218 (2010))

Punitive damages are limited to $250,000. (Georgia Code Title 51. Torts section 51-12-5.1)

Other Limits

Modified comparative fault can prevent or limit recovery, depending on the driver's percentage of fault for the accident. (Georgia Code Title 51. Torts section 51-11-7)

Georgia's 'At Fault' and 'Modified Comparative Fault' Rules

As remarkable as Georgia and its capital city are, its car accident rules are not nearly as exciting — Georgia is one of many U.S. states that is an at-fault state. Motorists involved in car accidents who seek compensation from the other driver must prove that the other party was at fault for the accident.

How much fault? Georgia is a "modified comparative negligence" (often referred to as "modified comparative fault") state. In order to recover compensation for car accident injuries or property damages, one must be less at fault than the other party. This is measured by percentages which are calculated by the judge or jury after a trial (assuming the claim doesn't settle first): A measure of 50% or more fault bars that party from recovering. Damages are reduced by the percentage as well — a person who is 40% at fault would only recover 60% of his damages.

Auto Insurance

Georgia law requires motorists to have auto insurance liability coverage in case they are in an auto accident. Liability insurance helps compensate other drivers if you are determined to be the at-fault driver in an accident.

The minimum limits of liability insurance under Georgia insurance law are as follows:

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident
  • Property injury liability: $25,000 per incident

You are not required to carry uninsured motorist coverage in Georgia.

Types of Damages

Examples of damages that result from car accidents include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical bills and medical expenses
  • Vehicle repair or replacement
  • Rental cars
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of affection or companionship
  • Wrongful death

Limits on Damages

Thanks to a Georgia Supreme Court decision in 2010, which held that a cap on compensatory damages violated the state's constitution, there are almost no limits under Georgia law on damages that can be recovered in a motor vehicle accident case, whether the damages be to one's property or for harder to measure injuries, like compensation for pain and suffering.

However, there is one type of damages that is limited: punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish a party for particularly reprehensible conduct — in the case of a car accident, an example might be a drunk driver who caused severe and permanent injury to another party in a collision. These damages are limited to $250,000.

And, as with nearly all legal claims, there is a time limit (known as the statute of limitations) for filing your case. Georgia has two different time limits: two years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury and four years to file for property damage. Pending insurance claims won't delay or extend that time limit, so it is important to consult with an attorney early to evaluate the strength of your claim and to make sure you meet the filing deadline.

Get Legal Help With Your Georgia Car Accident Compensation Laws Questions

Time limits for filing claims and comparative negligence rules can be significant obstacles, and sometimes outright blockers, to pursuing car accident claims. That's why it's a good idea to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer to learn the strengths of your claim, details about Georgia car accident laws, and how much compensation may be available in a personal injury lawsuit. They may be able to help you get a settlement offer from the driver's insurance company and avoid court altogether. Many personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • A lawyer can help seek fair compensation on your behalf
  • Car accident claims are complex and insurance carriers have lawyers on their side

Get tailored legal advice and ask a lawyer questions about your accident. Many attorneys offer free consultations.

 

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