Attorneys Fighting for Compensation for Car Accident Injury Victims Throughout Georgia Including Alpharetta, Cumming and Atlanta
Damages (or compensation due to injuries and damage to property) resulting from a car accident are unique in each case and may be recovered from the responsible driver, or more likely, his or her insurance company. Damages due to car accidents are generally divided into economic and non-economic damages.
The Georgia personal injury attorneys at Van Sant Law are very experienced with car accident cases. They know how to determine the damages in a case and present the evidence and arguments needed to successfully obtain both kinds of damages.
Economic damages are to put the person back to where they were financially before the accident, or make them whole. There are several types of economic damages in Georgia that a plaintiff (the accident victim filing the lawsuit) may be able to recover due to a car accident:
1. Medical expenses
These include all costs associated with treatment (both physical and psychological) for injuries. This can include:
- Cost of surgery and other procedures
- Hospital stays
- Doctor’s fees
- Physical therapy
- Assistive devices like crutches
- Modifications such as a wheelchair ramp or grab bars in the victim’s home
Damages can include the expected costs of future medical treatment if the plaintiff can prove continuous, future medical care is needed because of the injuries received in the accident.
2. Lost wages
Lost wages are the earnings that an accident victim would have earned but for the injury in the car accident.
- They are calculated from the time of the accident to the time of the judgment.
- An unemployed accident victim may be able to recover lost wages if the plaintiff can show wages would’ve been earned if not for the accident.
3. Loss of earning capacity
Loss of earning capacity may be recovered if a plaintiff can prove their ability to earn an income, or earn wages at a certain level, has been impaired due to the accident. Proof of past earnings would be submitted to the jury so they can understand what the person could have earned in the future if not for the accident. Expert testimony or the testimony of the plaintiff’s employer could also be used.
4. Damage to property
Compensation for damage to your vehicle and any other property in the vehicle at the time of the accident could be recovered.
Non-economic damages may be more difficult to measure, prove, and obtain. But they can be very important, depending on the severity of the injury and its impact, because these damages may be far greater than economic damages. Non-economic damages can be recovered with the right evidence, applicable law, and skilled legal representation.
1. Pain and suffering
This refers to physical pain and mental anguish felt by the victim. A jury would look at the nature of the injury, the degree of pain reported by plaintiff, how long it’s expected to last, and testimony by the treating physician and expert medical testimony.
In addition to the physical feeling of pain, other issues can include: shock, worry, anxiety, nervousness, fright, depression, embarrassment, or grief caused by the accident.
2. Loss of consortium
- If the accident victim is married, the spouse may also be able to recover on a theory known as of loss of consortium (compensation due to the negative impact of the accident on the spouse’s relationship).
- This kind of claim will only succeed if the injured spouse’s underlying claim is successful.
- This type of damage covers the impact of the accident on the relationship, including assistance, comfort, sexual relations, and companionship.
- This will require the spouses to reveal to opposing counsel intimate details of their relationship both before and after the accident, so this is not the type of claim for a couple who highly value their privacy.
- To determine the amount of damages, a jury should consider the age of the partners, the stability of the relationship, the degree to which the relationship suffered, and whether the loss is permanent or temporary.
3. Punitive damages
Punitive damages (damages intended to punish the defendant, the person being sued) can be awarded in cases in Georgia where the responsible driver was intoxicated or showed a reckless indifference for the safety of others. These damages are normally capped at $250,000 unless the driver acted with a specific intent to harm another person.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Georgia and want to learn more about potential damages, your legal rights and the legal system, contact Van Sant Law for a free consultation.