McDonough Car Accident Lawyer

Male Driver Injured In Car Crash With Airbag DeployedMcDonough, the seat of Henry County, has experienced a population boom in the past 20 years thanks to the growth of industry in the area. This population increase, in addition to the city’s convenient location between Atlanta and the airport, has led to a sharp uptick in the number of cars on the road.

In 2019 alone, there were nearly 12,500 car wrecks throughout Henry County. These accidents resulted in about 4,000 injuries and 28 fatalities. In most cases, these accidents were preventable, caused by distracted driving, drunk driving, or other negligent behavior. No matter the reason collisions happen, the injuries sustained could be severe – or even fatal.

If you have been injured in an auto wreck that was caused by someone else’s actions or negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. At Scholle Law, we have over 25 years of experience taking on insurance companies to get our clients the money they deserve. While some other law firms maximize the number of cases they take by accepting low settlement offers from insurance companies, we work closely with each client to instead maximize their compensation. 

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a McDonough car accident lawyer, call us at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online today.

 

What Types of Damages Can I Recover After a Car Wreck?

Doctor visiting a patient with cervical collarFor many people that have suffered injury at the hands of another, one of the first things that comes to mind is how they are going to be compensated for their damages. The next question that naturally follows from this is what types of damages they can expect to recover. These are excellent questions. 

Under Georgia law, damages in personal injury cases come in two basic forms: special and general. As explained in O.C.G.A. § 51-12-2, special damages are those which flow from a specific tortious act (an act that brings harm to someone); they must be proved in order to be recovered. General damages are those which the law presumes to flow from any tortious act; they may be recovered without proof of any amount. 

In other words, special damages are often referred to as “economic damages,” meaning they deal with real monetary losses you suffered due to the accident. On the other hand, general damages are often referred to as “non-economic damages” and are intended to compensate you for the non-monetary, intangible losses you suffered.

 

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Economic, or special, damages are those that are capable of being quantified with receipts, billing records, and other accounting or expense records. The following are common examples of these sorts of damages:

  • Current medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Ambulance fees
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage and vehicle repair expenses
  • Rental car expenses
  • Costs of household services that cannot be performed while injured
  • Any other out-of-pocket expenses attributable to the injury incident

Non-economic, or general, damages are those that are unable to be quantified with a bill or receipt. The most common element of general damages that most people are familiar with is pain and suffering. What may not come immediately to mind however is the diminished quality of life that a person may endure. This is true for the time frame following the wreck often when injuries are at their worst, through and including treatment and recovery, and into the foreseeable future depending on the extent of injury. The following are common examples of these sorts of damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Mental anguish
  • Fear and mental trauma from injury incident event
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

General damages are those sorts of damages that are non-monetary in nature, meaning that they do not flow from an expense or actual monetary loss. It is a person’s pain and suffering, both physical and mental, that in turn causes them to suffer a diminished quality of life. However, for there to be a claim for emotional pain and suffering, as opposed to physical pain and suffering, there must be an actual physical injury caused from the same injury incident. This is rarely an issue as there is seldom one without the other. And, in cases where the physical pain is significant and long-lasting, this can have devastating emotional effects. 

As for physical injuries, most car wreck victims suffer some amount of neck and back injury. With physical injury there is also pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. All of this affects the ability to function in varying degrees. Neck and back injuries typically limit a person’s ability to lift objects, pull and push things. These same injuries also tend to cause pain and discomfort during prolonged periods of sitting and standing. 

Activities that an injury victim once did without thought often prove to be difficult and cumbersome, if not entirely prohibitive. From the moment an injured person wakes in the morning to the moment they go to bed, they are reminded of their injuries and painful limitations. For instance, simple tasks like bathing and getting dressed can be quite difficult. Likewise, most household tasks are often difficult, if not painfully prohibitive. Then, at the end of the day, getting a good night’s sleep is difficult, leading to increased mental and physical fatigue.

Having to endure this day after day is exhausting, physically and emotionally. Often the emotional turmoil is commensurate with the physical injuries and their limitations. It is not uncommon for people to become clinically depressed as they find their lives turned upside down. This is particularly troublesome with permanent and long-lasting injuries.

When our Duluth car accident lawyers seek to prove these non-economic damages, largely rooted in pain and suffering and diminished quality of life, a bill or receipt is probably not the sort of evidence we would ordinarily use to support this general damage element. This is because these sorts of general damages are completely subjective and based upon what each individual injury victim suffers from the wreck or injury incident. 

Medical bills can however perhaps provide some context as to the magnitude of a person’s pain and suffering. For instance, if someone has sizable medical bills, many jurors will likely make the connection that the pain and suffering was commensurate with those bills. This is because as the bills increase, this tends to be indicative of more serious injuries. From this, most jurors would probably infer that the person must have suffered greater pain and suffering than someone with less serious injuries and less expensive medical bills. 

However, this may not always be the case. In fact, evidence of medical bills may cause a jury to return a verdict for pain and suffering lower than what they might have otherwise found. This may seem counterintuitive, but medical bills can in some instances serve to “anchor” the jury’s total verdict to an amount close to the billed amount with general damages (pain and suffering) being some fraction of this. Depending upon the case, this may or may not be an accurate reflection of the injured person’s pain and suffering. In fact, in some cases, it may be substantially less. 

So, in those cases where the medical bills do not offer a meaningful measure of an injury victim’s pain and suffering, it may be wise to forgo those special damages altogether. This can be a difficult decision because juries are inclined to compensate a victim for their medical expenses. However, in the right case, this approach can yield a larger overall verdict with the focus on the general damages of pain and suffering and diminished quality of life.

The decision here will depend upon the unique facts of each case and personal characteristics of each injury victim. An experienced Duluth car accident lawyer will be able to prove your emotional trauma, pain, and mental anguish so you get the proper compensation to cover your care and suffering. 

Beyond special (economic) and general damages (non-economic), there are also punitive damages that may be awarded in those cases where the at-fault driver committed some act that was especially troubling or aggravated. Punitive damages are not awarded as compensation for injury, but rather to punish the wrongdoer for such aggravated acts and hopefully deter any similar future misconduct. 

In Georgia, punitive damages are generally capped at $250,000. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. One such exception applies to cases where it can be proven that someone acted with actual intent to harm someone. Another exception applies when someone acts or fails to act while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This would cause injuries caused by an intoxicated driver. In these cases, there is no limit to the amount of punitive damages that the jury may award. 

 

Schedule a Free Consultation with a McDonough Car Accident Attorney Today

Car accidents are one of the most common causes of injury in the nation. Thanks to underdeveloped infrastructure in Henry County and the recent population boom, heavy traffic has led to an increase in car accidents in McDonough. While some of these accidents result in minor bumps and bruises, others can cause serious – and even fatal – injuries.

If you have been injured in an auto wreck that was caused by someone else’s actions or negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. At Scholle Law, we have over 25 years of experience taking on insurance companies to get our clients the money they deserve. While some other law firms maximize the number of cases they take by accepting low settlement offers from insurance companies, we work closely with each client to instead maximize their compensation. 

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a car accident lawyer in McDonough, call us at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online today.