Accidents happen all the time, can happen to anyone, and in many cases, more than one person or entity is at fault. In some cases, the injured party themselves may share in the fault for the accident. However, even when the injured party is partly at fault, they can often still recover compensation as long as the negligence of another party is greater than their own.
Contributory and Comparative Negligence
Comparative fault generally considers the fault of the plaintiff in determining if the plaintiff can recover and how much is recoverable. The rules on contributory and comparative negligence are set forth in O.C.G.A. § 51-11-7 and § 51-12-33.
Under Georgia law, if a plaintiff could have avoided the resulting injury by exercising ordinary care, a plaintiff cannot recover. This particular defense is very difficult for a defendant to prove and, in my practice, I have yet to see it succeed for a defendant. In addition, a plaintiff who is more than 50 percent liable for his or her injury cannot recover. However, if a plaintiff is 50 percent or less at fault, the plaintiff can still recover for their injuries, and the damages are reduced by the percentage of their fault.
Surgeon Awarded $7 Million After Jury Finds Him 30 Percent at Fault
A jury in Lowndes County recently awarded a surgeon $7 million after he fell while attempting to sit on a stool in an operating room. According to a news report covering the case, the surgeon had just finished a surgery and was sitting down on the stool to write post-operative orders. As he sat down, the stool slid away from him, and he fell backward on the floor. Soon after the fall, the surgeon began feeling nauseous and then experiencing seizures. He was hospitalized and released, but he continued to have seizures. He claims to still suffer from cognitive memory problems and migraine headaches. The surgeon, who was a successful doctor and vascular specialist, had to leave his practice because he feared he would be a danger to his patients.
The surgeon brought a claim against the hospital and alleged that the hard plastic casters on the stool were not suitable for the hard floor. He also claimed that other staff members had reported falling from the stools. His attorneys argued that under basic safety standards, hard casters should only be used on carpets or soft surfaces, and soft rubber wheels should be used on hard surfaces. The hospital argued that the risk that rolling stools could slide away was obvious, and the surgeon knew he had to be careful. The hospital also said that the surgeon had performed thousands of surgeries using a rolling stool and knew how to use them. At the end of a trial, the jury determined the hospital was 70 percent at fault, and the surgeon was 30 percent at fault. Thus, the jury’s award of $10 million was reduced by 30 percent, allowing the surgeon to recover $7 million.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
Serious injuries may take both an emotional and a financial toll. Whether you are hurt in a motor vehicle collision, on someone else’s property, or in another accident, you should retain an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer. At the McAleer Law Firm, we give each case the personal attention and care that it deserves. We serve Georgia residents who need assistance in any type of personal injury claim, as well as claimants seeking workers’ compensation or Social Security Disability benefits. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys can help you explore your full range of options and advocate vigorously throughout the legal process. Call the McAleer Law Firm at 404-622-5337 or contact us through our online form if you need a personal injury, Social Security, or workers’ compensation attorney.
See More Posts:
Man Shot by Stranger While at Home in Apartment Complex Fails to Establish Property Management Company Was Liable, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, January 30, 2017.
Plaintiff Receives $21 Million After Wife Suffers Catastrophic Brain Damage During Back Procedure, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, February 10, 2017.