Car accidents range drastically in severity from fender benders to serious multi-car collisions, and the damages incurred vary just as widely. If you were involved in an accident and were not at fault, you may be wise to pursue compensation for your losses resulting from the collision. Consulting a personal injury attorney will allow you to avoid low settlement offers from insurance companies and ensure that all of your losses and damages are appropriately compensated.
Types of Damages You Can Claim
Georgia law has two primary categories of damages after a vehicular collision: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages can be objectively determined using bills and invoices, estimates, projections, and other measurable monetary statements. These damages are typically easier to claim as a clear line of evidence backs them.
Types of economic damages include:
Lost income aggregates the total wages lost due to injuries sustained due to the collision. This may include hourly wages, sick leave or paid time off taken while you are unable to work, missed income opportunities, commission earnings, and other measurable lost income.
Loss of Future Earnings
Loss of future earnings applies if you suffer long-term consequences from the accident. For example, suppose you are now disabled or otherwise unable to maintain your previous employment due to your injuries. In that case, your attorney can calculate and forecast the earning you have lost due to the accident.
Medical Bills & Expenses
Medical expenses include both initial and ongoing costs of treating your injuries. Physical therapy, hospital bills, surgeries, prescription medications, and travel costs to access treatment are all recoverable damages. Calculating these costs and showing their connection to the accident can be daunting, but an experienced personal injury lawyer will accurately detail all costs and fight to win the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Property damage often applies to vehicular damage due to an accident. If your vehicle is totaled or damaged, the repair or replacement cost would be claimed as property damage. If your vehicle has been damaged but not totaled, you may also be entitled to additional monies for the “diminution in value” as the value of a vehicle drops significantly after a collision. A totaled vehicle must be claimed at fair market value. Be sure to appropriately assess the value of your vehicle for suitable compensation.
Non-economic damages are intangible harm and loss that are caused by the accident, but typically are more difficult to demonstrate and measure. Since there are rarely hard numbers available to indicate these unquantifiable injuries, victims face a more difficult challenge when claiming non-economic damages after an accident.
Pain and suffering, mental anguish, anxiety, PTSD, depression, emotional distress – the financial impact of these conditions is difficult to assess. You will be required to demonstrate that the accident caused the condition or distress, sometimes using evidence like medical assessments and diagnoses, prescription medication, and therapy costs to demonstrate the consequences of living with these conditions after the collision. Your attorney can help determine the appropriate compensation for your non-economic damages and demonstrate that the accident caused these conditions.
If an accident results in the death of an individual who was not at fault in the collision, certain family members can bring a claim of wrongful death against the defendant. Wrongful death claims combine both economic and non-economic damages in an attempt to account for lost future wages of the deceased, funeral costs, medical costs, pain and suffering of the victim, and loss of companionship for remaining family members.
Wrongful death cases are often complex and difficult. Determining some level of appropriate compensation for the death of a loved one is a truly impossible task. Still, by demonstrating both economic and non-economic losses, the family can receive at least some small relief from the financial stresses caused by a death.
Punitive or exemplary damages.
In cases where the defendant demonstrated gross recklessness and negligence, the court may order additional financial penalties to effectively punish the individual who caused the wreck. It is unusual to seek punitive damages, but in cases where the defendant has shown complete disregard for the lives of others and behaved egregiously, an additional cost may be awarded to the victim.
Remember, insurance companies are businesses too. Their lawyers will attempt to reduce costs by downplaying your injuries or suffering. Choosing an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows the inner workings of insurance companies’ legal departments will give you the edge in any vehicular collision case.
If you have been injured in an accident or are now mourning the loss of a family member due to the negligence of others, The Balams Firm is here to help. Your initial consultation is always free, and we are ready to support you through this time of crisis. So contact us today, and let us be your advocate as you seek the compensation you deserve.