Damages are a major concern in any accident case. One of the first questions our clients ask us is how much their car accident case is worth. Some of them are realistic and understand they can only collect damages for the injuries they suffered. Others think they’re going to walk away with millions of dollars. The truth is that every car accident case is different. That’s why we recommend you talk to a car accident lawyer in Atlanta before you get your hopes up.
The general rule is that the more serious your injuries, the more you can expect to receive in damages. For example, if all you suffered was whiplash, you can’t expect to receive more than a few thousand dollars. However, if you suffer a broken neck, you’ll be entitled to a lot more money. It all depends on the facts of your case.
The best thing you can do is sit down with an experienced Atlanta injury lawyer as soon as possible after your car crash. They’ll review the case and give you an idea of what you can expect to receive. Just keep in mind – there’s no way any attorney can give you an exact figure. Since most cases settle, there’s a good chance you’ll walk away with less than your full demand.
Here, we’ll talk about the different types of damages you can demand in your Atlanta car accident lawsuit. We’ll also explain what your car accident lawyer in Atlanta needs to prove in order for you to get paid.
You Must Prove Negligence Before You Can Collect Any Damages
Before you can even think about collecting damages, your Atlanta injury lawyer will need to prove negligence. This is the only way to prove the other driver was at fault. In order to demonstrate negligence, you’ll need to prove four things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care – This won’t be difficult to prove. All motorists owe a basic duty of care to other drivers. At a minimum, they must follow all traffic rules. They also need to use common sense.
- The defendant breached their duty of care – In order to collect damages, you need to show that the defendant breached their duty of care. In other words, you must show that they didn’t behave the way a reasonable driver would have given the circumstances. For example, if you can show they were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it would demonstrate a breach of duty.
- You were injured – You’re going to need to submit proof that you were hurt. This typically involves proof of physical injuries. However, it can also include losses such as property damages and lost wages.
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach – This is often that hardest part of your case to prove. Your car accident lawyer in Atlanta must prove that the defendant’s behavior was the direct cause of your injuries. The defendant’s lawyer is going to argue that something other than the crash caused your injuries. For example, they may claim that you had a pre-existing medical condition. Or they may say that you were hurt in the days following the accident.
If your attorney is able to prove all four elements outlined above, you’ll likely have a case for damages.
Common Types of Damages in an Atlanta Car Accident Lawsuit
Every Atlanta car accident case is different. Our Atlanta injury lawyers meet with dozens of clients every year who were hurt in a motor vehicle accident. Each one is unique. This is why it’s important to understand the different types of damages you can demand in your lawsuit. While you may not be entitled to all the damages listed below, there’s a good chance you’re entitled to some of them.
The most common types of damages associated with an Atlanta car accident lawsuit are:
- Medical Bills
- Future Medical Bills
- Lost Income
- Lost Future Income
- Property Damage
- Pain and Suffering
- Punitive Damages
It’s important to know that it’s very rare that a plaintiff will collect punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit. The courts reserve these damages to cases in which the defendant’s behavior is so outrageous, they want to make an example of them. Unless your case involved gross misconduct on the part of the defendant, don’t expect to receive punitive damages.
What if You Were Partially at Fault?
One other issue that should be addressed here is comparative fault. It’s very rare for any driver to be 100% at fault. Nobody is perfect. This means there’s a good chance you’ll be found to be partially at fault. For example, if you’re rear-ended by another driver, they may argue that your brake lights weren’t working. If this is true, you’ll likely be found to be about 30% at fault.
Under Georgia law, plaintiffs can still collect damages even if they were partially at fault. However, their total damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault. If you sued another driver for $100,000 and were found to be 30% at fault, your award would be reduced by $30,000. This is usually hammered out during settlement negotiations. Your car accident lawyer in Atlanta is still going to push for as much money as possible.
Call and Speak With One of Our Atlanta Injury Lawyers Today
If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you’re probably scared and more than a little frustrated. All you want to do is go back to living a normal life. But you can’t dismiss the fact that somebody caused you pain. You want them to be held accountable for their actions. Our Atlanta injury lawyers want the same thing.
Call today and schedule your free, initial consultation. Sit down with one of our attorneys and find out what your case may be worth. They’ll look at your injuries as well as any economic damages you may have suffered. Once this is done, they’ll put together a complaint with a demand for damages.