Ten years ago, an apportionment statute allowed juries to apportion damages among defendants. However, questions are still being settled about this statute.
On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that workers’ compensation law does not prevent defendants in a tort suit from asking the jury to apportion a percentage of the liability to the employer. This is true even though the employer cannot be sued in tort by the injured employee. This case was decided Monday November 16, 2015 by the Georgia Supreme Court, Walker v. Tensor Machinery, and came to the Supreme Court from a federal court judge on this undecided question of law.
Comment from Attorney Zack Hendon:
This case is continuing down the path of Tort Reform from the 2005 legislation. Unfortunately, this apportionment law allows negligent people who have injured someone to avoid a good portion of their liability. Often times the injured person is then not “made whole”, and one or more of the negligent parties is allowed to walk away with the injured party still damaged.
The issue is between the injured party and a negligent tortfeasor who is at least partially responsible, who should carry the burden of this negligence, the innocent plaintiff or the negligent defendant whose negligence combined at least in part with the negligence of another who cannot be sued. Our legislature and our courts are saying the innocent party must bear the burden of the negligence of one who cannot be sued. This hardly seems fair.
If you or a loved one is involved in a workmans’ compensation claim and needs help, don’t hesitate to contact Zack Hendon and his team. Call 770-284-3737 for a free consultation to answer your questions.