2021 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 12 - Damages
Article 2 - Joint Tort-Feasors
§ 51-12-31. Recovery Against Joint Trespassers

Universal Citation: GA Code § 51-12-31 (2021)

Except as provided in Code Section 51-12-33, where an action is brought jointly against several persons, the plaintiff may recover damages for an injury caused by any of the defendants against only the defendant or defendants liable for the injury. In its verdict, the jury may specify the particular damages to be recovered of each defendant. Judgment in such a case must be entered severally.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 3007; Code 1868, § 3020; Code 1873, § 3075; Code 1882, § 3075; Civil Code 1895, § 3915; Civil Code 1910, § 4512; Code 1933, § 105-2011; Ga. L. 1987, p. 915, § 8; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, § 51; Ga. L. 2005, p. 1, § 12/SB 3.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2005, p. 1, § 1/SB 3, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "The General Assembly finds that there presently exists a crisis affecting the provision and quality of health care services in this state. Hospitals and other health care providers in this state are having increasing difficulty in locating liability insurance and, when such hospitals and providers are able to locate such insurance, the insurance is extremely costly. The result of this crisis is the potential for a diminution of the availability of access to health care services and a resulting adverse impact on the health and well-being of the citizens of this state. The General Assembly further finds that certain civil justice and health care regulatory reforms as provided in this Act will promote predictability and improvement in the provision of quality health care services and the resolution of health care liability claims and will thereby assist in promoting the provision of health care liability insurance by insurance providers. The General Assembly further finds that certain needed reforms affect not only health care liability claims but also other civil actions and accordingly provides such general reforms in this Act."

Ga. L. 2005, p. 1, § 14/SB 3, not codified by the General Assembly, provides for severability.

Ga. L. 2005, p. 1, § 15(b)/SB 3, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the amendment of this Code section by that Act shall apply only with respect to causes of action arising on or after February 16, 2005, and any prior causes of action shall continue to be governed by prior law.

Law reviews.

- For article on 2005 amendment of this Code section, see 22 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 221 (2005). For annual survey of trial practice and procedure, see 57 Mercer L. Rev. 381 (2005). For article, "Premises Liability and Apportionment Following Martin v. Six Flags Over Georgia II, L.P.," see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 1 (2017). For note, "The Effect (Or Noneffect) of the 2004 Amendments to O.C.G.A. §§ 51-12-31 and51-12-33 on Joint Liability in Georgia," see 44 Ga. L. Rev. 215 (2009). For comment, "Where Do We Go From Here? The Future of Caps on Noneconomic Medical Malpractice Damages in Georgia," see 28 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 1341 (2012).



  • General Consideration
  • Master/Servant Relationship
  • Jury


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 74 Am. Jur. 2d, Torts, § 64 et seq.


- 86 C.J.S., Torts, § 39 et seq.


- May acts of independent tort-feasors, each of which alone causes or tends to produce some damage, be combined to create a joint liability?, 9 A.L.R. 939; 35 A.L.R. 409; 91 A.L.R. 759.

Joint, or joint and several, liability of two or more persons guilty of similar acts of misconduct one of which alone caused the injury, 50 A.L.R. 361.

Release of one tort-feasor as affecting liability of others, 50 A.L.R. 1057; 66 A.L.R. 206; 104 A.L.R. 846; 124 A.L.R. 1298; 148 A.L.R. 1270.

Joint liability for injury to third person or damage to his property due to concurring negligence of drivers of automobiles, 62 A.L.R. 1425.

Conflict of laws as to joinder of defendants, or as to the character of liability as joint or several, or joint and several, 77 A.L.R. 1108.

Right of defendant in action for personal injury or death to bring in a joint tort-feasor not made a party by plaintiff, 78 A.L.R. 580; 132 A.L.R. 1424.

Constitutionality, construction, and effect of statutes relating to exceptions to rule denying contribution or indemnity between joint tort-feasors, 85 A.L.R. 1091; 122 A.L.R. 520; 141 A.L.R. 1207.

Judgment for plaintiff in action in tort or contract against codefendants, as conclusive in subsequent action between codefendant as to the liability of both or the liability of one and nonliability of the other, 101 A.L.R. 104; 142 A.L.R. 727.

Negligence of third person, other than physician or surgeon, in caring for injured person or in failing to follow instructions in that regard as affecting damages recoverable against person causing injury, 101 A.L.R. 559.

Right of jury to apportion or sever damages as between joint tort-feasors and effect of their attempt to do so, 108 A.L.R. 792; 46 A.L.R.2d 801.

Rule that release of one joint tort-feasor releases other as applicable in case of anticipatory release prior to accident or injury, 112 A.L.R. 78.

Release of one of two or more persons who independent tortious acts combine to produce an injury as releasing other or others, 134 A.L.R. 1225.

Agreement with one tort-feasor that any judgment that may be recovered will not be enforced against him, as affecting liability of cotort-feasor, 160 A.L.R. 870.

Liability of several persons guilty of acts one of which alone caused injury, in absence of showing as to whose act was the cause, 5 A.L.R.2d 98.

Joint liability for slander, 26 A.L.R.2d 1031.

Release of one joint tort-feasor as discharging liability of others: modern trends, 73 A.L.R.2d 403, 6 A.L.R.5th 883.

What law governs right to contribution or indemnity between tort-feasors, 95 A.L.R.2d 1096.

Apportionment of damages involving successive impacts by different motor vehicles, 100 A.L.R.2d 16.

Liability insurance policy as covering insured's obligation to indemnify, or make contributions to, cotort-feasor, 4 A.L.R.3d 620.

Right of tort-feasor initially causing injury to recover indemnity or contribution from medical attendant causing new injury or aggravating injury in course of treatment, 8 A.L.R.3d 639.

Comparative negligence rule where misconduct of three or more persons is involved, 8 A.L.R.3d 722.

Financial worth of one or more of several joint defendants as proper matter for consideration in fixing punitive damages, 9 A.L.R.3d 692.

Apportionment of punitive or exemplary damages as between joint tort-feasors, 20 A.L.R.3d 666.

Voluntary payment into court of judgment against one joint tort-feasor as release of others, 40 A.L.R.3d 1181.

Contribution or indemnity between joint tort-feasors on basis of relative fault, 53 A.L.R.3d 184.

Right of tort-feasor initially causing injury to recover indemnity or contribution from medical attendant aggravating injury or causing new injury in course of treatment, 72 A.L.R.4th 231.

Validity and effect of "Mary Carter" or similar agreement setting maximum liability of one cotort-feasor and providing for reduction or extinguishment thereof relative to recovery against nonagreeing cotort-feasor, 22 A.L.R.5th 483.

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