Avoidable Consequences and Liability Under Georgia Law

brandon-wong-263419-copy-200x300For some who have suffered a personal injury in Georgia, they may have encountered a legal doctrine known as avoidable consequences. This is a defense that those who cause an accident or injury use to shift the blame from them to a victim. It is one of many reasons why if you are injured in an accident, it is better to get advice and representation from an Atlanta personal injury lawyer instead of going it alone.

The primary law about avoidable consequences can be found in OCGA § 51-11-7. That section of Georgia law provides that if a plaintiff could have avoided a personal injury caused by the defendant by taking ordinary care, then he or she is not entitled to recover from the defendant. This is a harsh legal doctrine that can obstruct a victim from getting his or her just due from a person who causes a personal injury.

Examples of Avoidable Consequences

While this is a harsh legal rule, courts will generally interpret it in favor of the person injured in an accident. They do this by letting the question of whether a case was avoidable be presented to a jury at trial. This takes the question away from the judge and lets ordinary people decide whether a person should be held responsible for the negligence of others. The question always revolves around whether the victim could have avoided the accident by exercising ordinary care.

One example of this legal rule being used was handed down in a Georgia Appeals Court case. In that case, a woman was trying to get to work by crossing an intersection of oncoming traffic. The problem was that a group of trees obstructed her view of the traffic, and she crossed anyway, was struck by a speeding car, and was left injured beyond repair. Inc ases such as these, it is important to contact a qualified Atlanta personal injury lawyer for help.

In that case, the woman’s attorney argued that the city was negligent by leaving the trees in a place that obstructed the view. The city argued that the accident was avoidable because she had used the street for years, knew about the obstruction, and continued to use the street anyway. Thankfully for the woman, the court did not accept that argument.

A Jury’s Decision

In that case the judge correctly ruled that the question of whether the accident was avoidable should be given to the jury. That way it is taken from a judge and given to fellow citizens of a jury who are more likely to understand what an average driver goes through every day, and whether such a circumstance is actually avoidable. This is a crucial role that juries play.

From the time of our founding in this country, we have place some of the most important questions relating to individuals in the hands of jury. It is a hallmark of democratic government and a key element to ensure that justice is not wielded solely by the powerful. It is another reason why an injured party should rely on the experience of a qualified personal injury attorney serving Atlanta to get a case in front of a jury.

Your Personal Injury Attorney in Atlanta

If you are injured because of the negligence of another, contact us. At The Angell Law Firm we will assess your situation, help you understand what you options are, and ensure you get what you deserve.

(image courtesy of Brandon Wong)