Damages from car accidents can range from minimal to severe. Although many people escape car accidents unscathed, others suffer serious and costly injuries. In addition to costing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital stays, surgeries and other treatments, catastrophic injuries can end a person’s career and result in millions of dollars in lost earnings potential.
If you’ve endured serious injuries in a car accident you didn’t cause, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Although car accident settlement amounts vary by case, a skilled personal injury attorney can determine how much your case is worth and relentlessly pursue the fair compensation you’re rightfully owed.
Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Car Accident Case in Georgia
In Georgia, personal injuries from car accidents are classified into two primary damage categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are financial losses you suffered as a result of your accident. They typically have fixed amounts and can be verified with different types of documentation, such as invoices, receipts and medical assessments. Examples of economic damages include:
- Medical bills for car accident-related injuries
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Ongoing medical care
- Housekeeping and childcare expenses resulting from your injuries
Non-economic damages are the intangible losses you endured as a result of your injuries. They can be more difficult to quantify and typically require using special formulas and negotiating with insurance companies. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
There’s another type of damages known as punitive damages a court may order the defendant to pay. Punitive damages are sometimes awarded when a judge or jury determines the defendant engaged in exceptionally reckless conduct or caused the accident and subsequent injuries out of spite or malice.
While there are no limitations placed on the amount of economic and non-economic damages an accident victim may recover, punitive damages in Georgia are typically capped at $250,000.
What Factors Influence the Value of a Georgia Car Accident Settlement?
How much your personal injury case is worth depends on the unique circumstances surrounding your car accident. The value of your claim will be determined based on a variety of factors.
The Amount of Insurance Available
Fundamentally, the amount you can recover depends on how much insurance the liable driver carried at the time of the accident. In Georgia, every driver should have at least $25,000 of liability insurance. However, it’s not uncommon for drivers, especially commercial drivers, to be covered by insurance policies with high limits.
Some drivers may operate vehicles uninsured. If the at-fault driver had no insurance when the accident occurred, your best bet may be to cover your injury costs with your own insurance (as long as your policy includes uninsured motorist coverage). As of 2019, an estimated 12.4 percent of Georgia motorists are uninsured.
The Severity and Permanence of Your Injuries
The severity of your injuries will dictate the amount of compensation you can recover. Minor injuries, such as whiplash or cuts and bruises, although painful, will typically result in smaller claim payments, while severe and life-altering injuries like spinal cord injuries, severe burns and loss of limbs will likely justify large claim amounts, settlements or verdicts.
Keep in mind, you should seek treatment for your injuries as soon as possible after the accident occurred. If you wait, you risk having your claim denied by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They may question any time gaps between your accident and medical treatment and allege your injuries either weren’t serious or were caused by some other event. Insurance carriers are quick to deny or lowball claims, especially if they can chalk up your injuries to a preexisting condition.
How Long Your Treatment Lasts
The length of time needed to treat your injuries will have a direct impact on how much compensation you can recover.
If your accident resulted in a one-time visit to the emergency room, your payout may only be large enough to cover those medical expenses and any wages you lost while undergoing treatment. On the other hand, if you require treatment for your injuries, such as doctor visits, physical therapy or home care for an extended period of time, the expenses related to your ongoing medical care should be included in your settlement.
Are You Seeking Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in or around Atlanta, the personal injury attorneys at the Dressie Law Firm are here to help. We’ll carefully evaluate your case and negotiate fiercely with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to help you make a full financial and physical recovery.
We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning unless we win your case, negotiate a settlement or get your claim paid, you won’t owe us any fees.
Call (678) 619-2977 to schedule your free consultation.