An understanding of Georgia law is beneficial to those who are involved in a lawsuit or insurance claim that relates to an accident in Marietta or the surrounding area, especially if it involves catastrophic injuries. This understanding can help you to see how the laws might apply to your specific case. An examination of a few critical personal injury laws is helpful.
First, it should be noted that there are time limits for personal injury lawsuits. As your lawyer will explain, there is a statute of limitations that applies to personal injury cases in the Marietta civil court system. Lawsuits must be filed with the court within two years. This time period begins with the date on which the injury occurred.
Statue of Limitations
Adherence to the statute of limitations is vital. Attempting to file a lawsuit after the deadline has passed is very likely to result in the court's refusal to hear the case. This means you will lose the compensation to which you might have been entitled for your injuries.
Note that when claims for injury are against a county or city, the deadline to file a formal claim is six months. Claims against the state have a have a two year deadline.
Comparative Fault Laws
It also helpful to review the Georgia comparative fault laws. Sometimes, a person prepares to file an insurance claim or a case in court after suffering from an injury, but the other party involved makes another claim. The other party might claim that you are the true party at fault, in part or in full, for the accident that occurred. If you are found to be partly or primarily at fault for the accident, the Georgia modified comparative fault rule will reduce or negate the damages sought. An example helps to illustrate this.
In this scenario, one driver could be struck by a second driver who has run a red light. If the first driver was traveling several miles over the speed limit at the time, it could be determined that the second driver was 90% at fault. The first driver would be considered 10% at fault. The Georgia modified comparative fault rule would then reduce the receipt of damages by 10%. If the damages were $10,000, for example, the amount received would be $9,000. This is because 10% of the original amount is deducted in accordance with the amount of fault assigned to the driver.
When both parties are found to share some amount of fault in an injury case, the Cobb County courts are required to apply the comparative fault rule. Unsurprisingly, the issue might also be a factor in negotiations for insurance settlements.
Georgia is an At-Fault State
Another consideration with auto insurance law is that Georgia is in at-fault state. In such states, people injured in auto accidents have multiple options for pursuing compensation for losses. Individuals may take the case to court in a lawsuit, file a claim as a third party with the other driver's insurance company, or people may file claims with their own insurance companies.
It is also important to note that unlike states that protect dog owners to a certain extent on a dog's first bite, individuals in Marietta are subject to strict liability despite the dog's history. Statute Ga. Code Ann. § 51-2-7 conveys that a dog owner is responsible for any injuries the dog causes regardless of past good behavior. Of specific note, the dog owner is responsible for injuries that result when the dog was not leashed or at heel when it should have been.
Those who have been involved in a catastrophic incident that resulted in an injury should also understand the laws that apply to damage caps in Marietta. Personal Injury compensation in some states is subject to a cap. The damages the injured party or family may receive for losses are limited when such a cap is in place. This is not the case in Marietta. The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled in 2010 that caps on damages violate the right to a jury trial as established within the state's constitution.
Interested parties might want to do additional reading on injury law as it applies in Marietta. Reference Title 40 for information on auto accidents and insurance. See Title 51 for information regarding personal injury cases. You may also contact the Marietta personal injury attorneys at Webb & D'Orazio for assistance.