Sid Weinstein Law

Comparative Negligence And “The Last Clear Chance” Doctrine In Georgia

Under the doctrine of comparative negligence (which is followed in the State of Georgia), if a person is partially responsible for her own injuries, her recovery may be barred or reduced by the percentage of her fault. Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence approach, allowing a personal injury victim to recover damages even if she is partially at fault, unless she is found to be 50 percent or more at fault. In other words, if a person is suing another for injuries she sustained in a Georgia automobile accident and it is discovered that she contributed to the accident by speeding and is found to be 20 percent at fault, she will only be able to recover 80 percent of her damages from the other driver that caused the accident. If she is found to be 51 percent at fault, her recovery will be barred.

However, there is a “last clear chance” rebuttal available to avoid such a result. In Georgia, the “Last Clear Chance” doctrine permits a personal injury plaintiff (such as yourself) to recover even if she contributed to her own injuries if she can show that the other party involved in the incident had ample opportunity to be aware that you were in danger and avoid injuring you. In order to invoke the doctrine, the injured person (such as yourself) must show that: 1) she put herself in a position of peril from which she could not extricate herself, and 2) the other person must have knowledge and appreciation of the injured person’s peril in time to avoid the injury.  Therefore, the doctrine is only applicable where the other person’s failure to avoid the incident is the last negligent act leading up to the incident and foreseeably causes the accident. The doctrine is not applicable if you commit a negligent act which is the final negligent act before the accident. It is also important to note that it is not enough to show that the other party should have known about the danger.  Rather, actual knowledge of the danger is required.

The classic application of the doctrine is where a person has drunkenly fallen asleep or is unconscious in the roadway due to a self-inflicted condition.  Her negligence may be overcome by the other person’s failure to discover her peril (i.e., lying in the roadway unable to remove herself from danger) and to avoid hitting her with his car. Call the Law Office Of Sidney Weinstein, 24/7, at 404-522-3108 for a free consultation to determine your rights and to pursue all legal remedies for your personal injuries and damages.  We can come to you at your home or any of the Atlanta, Georgia area hospitals including Grady Memorial Hospital.

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