The recovery period following a serious car accident can feel like anything but “recovery.” Despite being injured, you may be facing mounting medical bills, property damage and time off work to recuperate. If you have sustained an injury in a crash that was caused by someone else, the good news is that the other party may be legally responsible for your medical expenses and other damages.
The following types of compensation are generally available to car accident victims in Georgia. However, each case is different. The attorneys at Scholle Law are available to listen to the details of your case and determine which types of compensation you may be able to receive.
What are damages?
A car accident can be extremely inconvenient and cost tens of thousands (even millions) of dollars in damage. Georgia is an at-fault state, which means the person who caused an accident is liable for all related costs. The expenses that arise from an accident are legally referred to as “damages.” An accident victim has incurred damages if he or she faces expenses that arise as a result of the accident and would not have occurred otherwise.
Types of damages Georgia courts frequently award include compensation for:
- Medical care
- Vehicle repair
- Lost wages
- Emotional damages (pain and suffering)
- Punitive damages
Let’s look at each of these damages more in depth.
Following a car accident, medical costs can easily add up to the extent that they comprise the bulk of your expenses. After receiving an initial evaluation, you may be admitted to the hospital and require surgery, a medical device, prescription medicine, follow-up visits and continued therapy for months or even years after the date of the accident.
By contacting an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible following your accident, you can help shift the burden of worrying about medical expenses. While you focus on healing, we will diligently attend to the cumbersome legal process of securing compensation for your medical expenses.
Vehicle repair costs
In addition to focusing on healing, accident victims may also be inconvenienced by the process of filing a claim to have their damaged vehicle replaced or repaired. The vehicle claims process typically involves extensive communication with one or more insurance companies, and in the meantime you may be without a car—making getting to doctors’ appointments difficult.
You may find that missing work and losing compensation while you recover is one of the most frustrating parts of being injured in a car accident. As your legal representative, Scholle Law will fight to get you the compensation you deserve to make up for the time you miss while away from work.
Emotional (general) damages
While medical expenses, property damage and lost wages are easily calculated using receipts and estimated costs, general damages are more vague. Therefore, courts have more difficulty calculating awards for general damages, and attorneys must carefully calculate how much the victim is owed. These damages are intended to compensate the victim for intangible costs, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment or disability
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship (for the victim’s spouse in accidents that cause the victim’s death)
In some cases, the court may award punitive damages to punish the defendant for his or her grossly negligent behavior. These car accident cases typically involve drunk or intoxicated driving, or other reckless behavior. Punitive damages may be awarded if the party who caused the victim’s injury behaved in a manner that was fraudulent, malicious, intentionally put others in danger or constitutes willful misconduct in the eyes of the court.
When should you sue for damages after a car accident?
Most car accidents are handled by insurance companies. However, there are times when the victim has a compelling reason to file a legal claim in court against the other party. If the person who caused the accident doesn’t have sufficient auto insurance to cover the victim’s damages or if the insurance company denies a claim, the victim can sue to recover all costs. Sometimes victims may be unable to reach favorable settlement terms with the insurance company. In these cases, a knowledgeable and trained lawyer can be invaluable.