Every single day, there are thousands of car accidents. They can happen in the blink of an eye and the damages can be devastating. Accidents can be caused by distracted drivers such as someone who is texting and driving, impaired or drunk drivers, careless or reckless drivers, drivers who are driving too fast in inclement weather, or any number of reasons.
If you are someone you love is injured in a motor vehicle collision or a car accident it is important that you get someone on your side who can take on the insurance company to make sure that you get compensated for your injuries and loss.
Insurance companies will often contact you and tell you they will “pay your medical expenses” or “take care of it” but the reality is that those are most often misleading statements intended to discourage you from taking with a car accident attorney and getting good advice.
Insurance companies do not represent you or your interest. Insurance companies, even your own insurance company, are only interested in protecting their bottom line. It is important that you contact a qualified lawyer who specializes in personal injury and car accident cases and who can advise you of your rights for recovery.
Insurance law in Georgia is complicated and attorneys who do not practice in this area of law may not know how to protect your interest. For instance, most people do not understand how Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage works in Georgia.
Getting an attorney as soon as possible can help you win your case. We do our own accident investigations and sometimes that means getting top accident reconstructionists on the scene to preserve evidence. It is important to get an attorney involved as soon as possible so that you have the best chance possible for winning your case. Getting a car accident lawyer involved early will allow them to:
Investigate the accident scene
Do an accident reconstruction if necessary
Get photographs and other evidence
Talk with potential witnesses while their memory is fresh
Car Accident and other personal injury claims in Georgia involve different types of damages that a plaintiff may seek compensation for their injuries. The first category of damages considered in a car accident or personal injury lawsuit. The goal of compensatory damages is to make the plaintiff “whole” again after an injury or loss to the extent that it is possible. An example of this would be payment for medical treatment required to heal the plaintiff from his or her injuries.
Compensatory damages are generally broken down into two types of damages, “Special Damages” or “Economic Damages” and “General Damages” or “Non-Economic Damages
Special Damages include medical expenses, lost income, and property damages. These types of damages require evidence showing specific amounts and can be easier to calculate than General Damages.
General damages are presumed to result from negligent act and include past and future pain and suffering. General damages can be more challenging to prove and it is important to have a car accident lawyer who understands how to prove these damages to a jury.
“Pain and suffering" is the legal term for the physical and emotional distress caused by an injury. This category of damages is more subjective and there is no easy standard of measure to determine how much money is appropriate to award for such damages. Instead, this measure of damages is left to the jury to determine based on the evidence and testimony presented at a trial. This measure of damages can be more difficult to prove but when it is proved to a jury it can often result in a substantial award. It is important to have a lawyer who understands how to present your case.
Some facts to consider when measuring pain and suffering damages are:
The severity of the injury
The physical pain associated with the injury
The time required to heal
The permanency of the injury
The potential for required future treatment
The effect the injury has had on family
The emotional distress and depression associated with the injury
The loss of enjoyment of life.
In addition to compensatory damages which included Special and General Damages discussed above, punitive damages may be also awarded in certain instances.
While compensatory damages are meant to compensate a plaintiff for his or her injury or loss, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for their negligence or wrongdoing.
Georgia Law allows for punitive damages to be awarded only in claims where the defendant showed “willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to the consequences.” O.C.G.A., 51-12-5.1
In Georgia, the law allows for recovery based on wrongful death. The damages are the "Full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by the evidence" means the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived.”
This “full value” determination is measured from the decedents’ perspective. In other words, what was their own life worth to them? In making this determination, jurors are allowed to consider all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including the descendants' age, physical health and strength, the labor and work which he/she performed, income, the value of any labor or work which he/she, intangible things such as advice and companionship, and every other fact and circumstance which would throw light upon the value of his/her life.