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.
Continue reading to learn more about car accident compensation laws in Georgia.
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 an in-depth explanation of the key elements. Forming an attorney-client relationship with a law firm may be helpful if you find yourself needing legal advice.
Georgia's 'At Fault' and 'Modified Comparative Fault' Rules
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.
It's important to know that Georgia is a "modified comparative negligence" 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. This is assuming the claim doesn't settle first instead of going to trial. A measure of 50% or more fault bars a party from recovering. Damages are reduced by the percentage as well. A person who is 40% at fault would only recover 60% of their damages.
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 damage 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. It does not matter whether the damages are to one's property, nor does it matter whether they are the variety of damages that are harder to measure in a dollar value. Such damages include injuries, like compensation for pain and suffering.
However, there is one type of damages that is limited. These are punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish a party for particularly reprehensible conduct. A particularly common situation where punitive damages come into play is when a drunk driver causes 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 for filing your case. This is also called the statute of limitations. 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 to pursuing car accident claims. Sometimes, they can be outright blockers to these 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.