All motorists need to understand their legal responsibilities before they get behind the wheel. Understanding Georgia’s accident laws could help protect you from significant legal problems later.
Even a minor mishap can prompt someone to file a lawsuit against you. Don’t assume the laws are the same in every state, because each state has different laws and requirements. Make sure you know the law in Georgia before you operate a motor vehicle.
If you have any doubts, seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney.
What are the insurance laws in the Peach State? Like most states, Georgia requires motorists to carry a minimum amount of car insurance.
Georgia car insurance requirements stipulate you must have at least:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person in an accident that you caused. This person could be a passenger in your car, another driver or a pedestrian,
- $50,000 for all injuries or deaths for more than one person in one accident that you caused, and,
- $25,000 to cover property damage for a single accident that is your fault.
Your insurance company can verify your current coverage. Most insurance companies can offer an immediate upgrade to your policy if your coverage is lacking.
Types of Damages
Many people assume their insurance company will take care of everything if they are ever in a crash. But frequently, they find out too late that their insurance companies don’t cover nearly all the expenses resulting from the event.
A car crash can bring all sorts of unanticipated expenses. Besides the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, you may need money for a rental car and lost wages. If you are injured, you may also need medical care, which can quickly add up.
There are likely to be long-term effects as well. You may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering. You may even have a loss of affection or companionship. In the worst case, you may be seeking a claim for wrongful death.
A qualified Georgia auto accident lawyer, auto accident attorney, or personal injury lawyer can advise you on your best recourse should you need to seek damages from a negligent driver.
Limits on Damage Awards
The state of Georgia places several limitations on car accident claims.
Georgia does not place a cap on compensatory damage. Compensatory damage awards are for damages or injuries caused by another person’s negligence or unlawful conduct.
Punitive damages, however, are capped at $250,000 in Georgia, with a few exceptions, including product liability, intentional acts, and DUI. The assessment of punitive damages serves as punishment for the defendant and acts as a potential deterrent.
Statute of Limitations
The state also imposes a statute of limitations or a deadline by which to file a lawsuit. If you are seeking compensation for your injuries, you have two years from the date of a Georgia auto accident law or car accident to file your claim.
In the case of property damage, you have four years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit.
Georgia’s car accident laws include what’s known as “at fault” or “tort liability” provisions. These provisions mean that if you are in a car accident and you seek monetary compensation from another driver, you have the burden of proof to show the other party was at fault.
It doesn’t mean the other driver must be entirely at fault. Georgia law allows for “modified comparative negligence.” In other words, a Georgia car accident can legally be more than one person’s fault. However, to file a claim for compensation for injury or property damage, you must be less at fault than the other driver.
A judge or jury will determine modified comparative negligence and determine comparative fault. If you’re deemed more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover damages. Any damages get reduced proportionally. For example, if you were found 30% at fault, you can claim only 70% of your losses.
Every auto crash has the potential to leave serious, damaging effects. Searching online for “car accident attorney near me” or “car accident lawyer near me” might provide you with many options, but won’t help you identify who can help you navigate the aftermath and advise you of the best legal remedy.
Contact Greathouse Trial Law in Atlanta, GA at (678) 369-6361 for a free consultation to find out more about your legal options and secure the best outcome possible.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.