After an accident where you’re the victim, you can choose to commence an insurance claim or file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of an Atlanta injury attorney. Your right to file a civil action is protected by the Georgia fault-based compensation rule. Based on this law, an at-fault party in an accident would compensate a victim for their losses.
This rule appears simple enough, but our experience shows that personal injury cases are not always straightforward. Several factors affect the outcome of a claim, and sometimes, this factor works against the victim (plaintiff). Thus, it is crucial that you understand what to expect when you commence a personal injury claim in court.
Our personal injury lawyers at Calvin Smith Law discuss the possible outcomes of a personal injury claim. If you get injured due to the negligent actions of another person, our lawyers can represent you and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us to learn more about our legal services.
Four Outcomes of Your Personal Injury Claim
Below are four possible outcomes of a personal injury action. However, note that your chances of a favorable outcome are better with an injury attorney.
Your Case Gets Settled Out of Court
Very few personal injury cases get to trial. Indeed at the beginning of your lawsuit, your attorney advises you to prepare for trial. However, chances are you will arrive at a settlement with the defendant before that time. This is because no one wants to go through a lengthy litigation process where they spend more money than is necessary.
If both parties agree to settle, they will enter into a personal injury settlement agreement. The agreement is a legally binding document that stipulates the settlement terms and stops the plaintiff from filing a lawsuit later. After agreeing, both parties will present the agreement to a judge. Once the judge signs off on it, it becomes binding on both parties.
A settlement gets you the following compensation:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Loss income if the injury keeps you from working
- Diminished capacity to earn if your recovery stage affects employment
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress
- Cost of repair of damaged property, e.g., a damaged vehicle
Note that a settlement does not cover punitive damages. Thus, if you believe you have evidence of gross or malicious conduct by the defendant, it would be best to proceed to trial.
The Plaintiff Wins
Where the plaintiff and defendant are unable to agree, the case proceeds to trial. Here, your Atlanta personal injury attorney would present evidence supporting your claim. This evidence includes police reports, witness statements, medical records, photos of the accident scene, damaged property, etc.
If needed, your lawyer might call in expert witnesses like accident reconstruction specialists or medical doctors to testify on your behalf. At the end of the trial, if the scales of justice are tipped in your favor, you win. Afterward, the court will award you the damages the jury deems fit. Note that this can be less than what you asked for or more.
The Defendant Wins
During the trial, the defendant would also present evidence to refute your claims. If the jury finds their evidence more convincing than yours, they’ll rule in their favor. In such an instance, you will be unable to get compensation. In some jurisdictions, you may have to pay costs to the defendant.
Costs refer to the money the defendant spent defending the action. It includes attorney fees, filing of court processes, service fees, etc. In Atlanta, a plaintiff would only pay costs if their lawsuit is entirely without merit and meant to harass the defendant. Also, if the defendant wins, you don’t need to pay your injury attorneys as they work on a contingency fee basis.
The Losing Party Appeals the Case
Although a trial court verdict is binding and presumed correct, a losing side still has the right to appeal the decision. Appeals are usually based on fact or law, and the appellate court will take one of two paths. The appeal judge would either uphold the trial court decision or overrule it with a new one. In some cases, they might order a total retrial of the case.
Let Calvin Smith Law Help You!
At Calvin Smith Law, we have expert personal injury lawyers dedicated to getting the best results for our clients. We will ensure to get you the most favorable outcome, the maximum compensation for your losses and pain. So call today to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys.