While many car accidents involve just two drivers, there are also many Georgia car accidents that involve multiple parties. When this circumstance arises, a plaintiff – or the person seeking monetary compensation for injuries suffered as a result of the collision – may file a lawsuit against multiple parties, known as defendants. It is no surprise that whenever a civil lawsuit names multiple defendants, issues of liability can get complicated fairly quickly. The first and most essential issue in a car accident case involving multiple parties is determining the legal basis for liability for each party named in the lawsuit. Once a legal basis for liability is established, the next step is to determine the proportion of liability for which each defendant is allegedly responsible.
For this reason, if you or someone you know has been involved in a multi-vehicle crash in Acworth or anywhere else in Georgia, you should contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney in Acworth right away to properly pursue your personal injury claim.
Was More than One Vehicle Involved?
Perhaps the most common manner in which a car accident victim may sue multiple defendants in court is when he or she is involved in a multi-vehicle car crash. These types of accidents occur on a daily basis in Georgia and happen when several vehicles crash into one another. The cause of the accident could be a single, negligent driver whose actions caused a chain-reaction resulting in multiple vehicles colliding into one another. On the other hand, the car accident could be the result of several vehicles crashing into one another without one single vehicle being the catalyst for the accident. No matter the particular circumstances of the accident it is crucial to determine each vehicle’s comparative fault in causing the crash.
Because Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state, each driver is held liable for the accident based on the percentage of fault they contribute to it. So long as the at fault party is less than 49 percent at fault for the crash, they still retain the right to recover damages from the defendant, or potentially from multiple defendants.
Can Someone Else Be Held Liable for the Actions of Another?
A second common situation that involves more than one defendant is a case where vicarious liability is applied. Vicarious liability is a legal theory under which another person or entity, and not the driver him or herself, is legally responsible for the actions of another because of the nature of the relationship between the parties. For example, a worker who is involved in a car accident while driving a company vehicle during the regular course of his employment will likely result in the employer stepping into the shoes of the worker and defending the lawsuit. If the employee is found to have been negligent the employer would vicariously liable and, consequently, will assume financial responsibility for the employee’s actions. In such a scenario an accident victim may potentially seek damages from the driver, the employer, and possibly even a vehicle repairmen or manufacturer if evidence arises establishing the cause of the crash was improper maintenance or a defective vehicle.
By The Numbers
Georgia’s Department of Transportation (GDOT) reports the number of car accident-related deaths in the state rose in 2015 and 2016, despite a steady decline in these fatalities between 2007 and 2013. Georgia state troopers note these deaths due to car accidents are often caused by driver error, whether or not the deceased was driving or another driver caused the collision. Common driving errors include distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or failure to wear a safety belt, to name a few.
Georgia Governor’s Department of Highway Safety (GDHS) records statistical data regarding the number of deaths classified by the cause of the accident. These categories include fatalities related to alcohol impaired drivers, speeding, unrestrained passengers, motorcyclists (both helmeted and unhelmeted), bicycle deaths, pedestrian deaths and deaths of those aged 20 or younger. The GDHS’s statistics reveal significant factors that contribute to these car accident-related Georgia deaths. According to Georgia state police, distracted driving is a key reason for the recent increase in fatalities in the state over the last two years. In an effort to reduce traffic accidents, the GDOT has placed overhead highway signs to periodically display the rate of car accident deaths.
Time Limits for Filing A Claim
Georgia’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury. The reason behind this is that while accident victims need time to recover from their injuries, public policy seeks to encourage victims to seek remedies promptly and without undue delay. There are practical reasons for this logic: witnesses move away or die, memories fade, and conditions that were present at the time of the accident change, among others. All of these factors can weaken the quality of evidence that can be provided in support or defense of a legal claim.
Typically the time clock begins at the moment the victim experiences an injury. That being said, Georgia law notes that the statute of limitation does not begin until the accrual of claims. In a personal injury lawsuit an injury “accrues” on the date the injury and its cause is known, or should have known through the pursuit of reasonable due diligence.
While statute of limitations are strictly construed, there are some factors under state law that may delay or toll the time frame. These include if the injured party is a minor or mentally incompetent. In such a circumstance, the time clock is stopped until the child reaches the age of majority or the injured person is able to regain his or her mental capacity.
Moreover, if one or more of the potential defendants in a car accident lawsuit is a government entity, Georgia’s statute of limitations during which you can file a legal action is reduced to 12 months or less.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney In Acworth
If you or someone you know has been involved in a serious car accident with one or more parties in Georgia and believe negligence played a part, you should contact the seasoned attorney at the Roger Ghai Law Offices Hiring a competent and aggressive car accident attorney in Acworth is the first essential step in protecting your rights under the law and pursuing monetary compensation to which you are entitled. Click here today for your initial case evaluation.