How much can I Expect to recover if my Case is Successful?
The amount you will receive in damages in the event your personal injury claim is successful depends on a variety of factors.
First, your award will be dependent upon if you were at least partly responsible for your injury. Georgia is considered to be a Comparative Fault state in that your damage award will be reduced or eliminated if you are found to be partly or mostly at fault for your injury. By law, your total monetary award is reduced by the percentage of blame assigned to you.
For example, if a court awards you $100,000 in damages but finds that you are 30% responsible for your injury, your total award will be reduced to $70,000 (30% of the original sum).
Second, not taking into account your own contribution to your injury, jurors can take into consideration the following factors when determining the amount of your damage award:
- Past and future medical bills associated with your injury
- Loss of wages due to being unable to work as a result of the injury
- Loss of future earning capacity as a result of your injury
The pain and suffering you endured as a result of being injured
The types of damages mentioned above are considered to be compensatory. Compensatory damages are meant to provide you with an amount of money necessary to replace what you lost and nothing more. In effect, they are making you whole by putting you in the same financial position you would have been in had the injury not occurred.
In addition to compensatory damages, in some situations, the court may award punitive damages. Punitive damages differ from compensatory damages in that they are meant to punish, penalize, and deter a defendant. Punitive damages are awarded in situations where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to the consequences.
How Long Does a Case Take to be Resolved?
Each case has a multitude of variables that make it unique unto itself. Some personal injury claims will go all the way through trial and fall at the hands of a jury. Others will never reach the courtroom due to an out-of-court settlement. Because each case is different, it is impossible to speculate as to how long your case will take to be resolved.
Why Should I Hire an Attorney?
The hiring of an attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make in the personal injury process. An attorney will make sure that the procedural aspect of your case is handled properly and with care while discussing your options with you. Most importantly, a good attorney will get you the compensation you deserve, instead of allowing the insurance company to devalue your case.
How Soon Should a Personal Injury Claim be filed?
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim that is filed based on a negligence theory is two years from the date on which your injury occurred.
If you try to file a personal injury claim after the statute of limitations have passed, it is almost a certainty that the court will refuse to hear your case. There are exceptions, so make sure to consult an attorney if you have questions.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is the usual theory used in an attempt to prove that someone else is responsible for your injury having occurred.
To prove negligence, the following elements must be proved:
- The defendant had a duty
- The defendant breached their duty
- The defendant’ breach was the proximate cause of the injury
- Damages exist
What if an Insurance Company contacts me?
You should not discuss the details of your injury with an insurance company prior to discussing your case with an attorney. It is usually the insurance company’s goal to settle your case at the lowest possible rate. Therefore, anything you say to them may be used against you down the road.
What if an attorney settles my case without my permission?
An attorney is not authorized to settle any matter without first obtaining permission from the client. An attorney may recommend either accepting or rejecting a settlement offer, but the ultimate decision will always rest with you. If they settle the case without your approval, fire the attorney and file a bar complaint.
What if I was injured by a Product and not a Person?
Product liability cases vary in that different possibilities exist as to how you may recover damages for your injury.
There are three types of products liability lawsuits in Georgia. They include:
Manufacturing – A manufacturing defect is caused by an error in assembly by the manufacturer and will typically only be found in a small percentage of the manufactured goods
Design defect – A design defect exists when there is a flaw in the original design of a product which causes it to be unreasonably dangerous and creates a hazard for potential users
Inadequate Warning – A claim of inadequate warning pertains to situations where warnings or instructions could have prevented injury caused by foreseeable risks of harm
To win a products liability case in the state of Georgia, you must prove:
- A product was defective at the time of injury
- The defective product was the proximate cause of the injury
- The product was in the same condition at the time of injury as it was when it was manufactured
- The product was used in a manner that was reasonably foreseeable at the time of the injury
What if I was injured on someone else’s Property?
A premises liability claim is applicable to situations where you are injured while on property belonging to another person or business. If you are injured while on the property of another, you may bring a claim against either the property owner or the person controlling the property at the time of the injury as long as you fit within a certain protected status and the owner breached a duty to prevent your injury as a result of your status.
The law in Georgia has outlined three distinct types of classifications of status for potential claimants in a premises liability case:
- Invitee – An invitee is considered to be a person with an express or implied right to come onto an owner’s property, such as a customer in a store.
- Licensee – A licensee is considered to be a person who is not an invitee or a trespasser but is granted access to the property, such as a social guest.
- Trespasser – A trespasser is a person who enters the property belonging to another without permission.
Consult our office for what these categories mean to your case.