Car accident victims may suffer terribly in the aftermath of the wreck. They may be forced
to cover the costs of significant property damage, emergency medical treatment,
doctor’s bills, and even long-term rehabilitation. Often, accident
victims are also out of work due to their injuries and no longer have
a source of income. Many people who have suffered an automobile accident
then wonder what type of compensation the law grants to help pay for these bills.
Types of Damages in Georgia
Damages are given as compensation for the injury or loss sustained. Georgia
law divides compensatory damages into two main categories: special damages
and general damages.
Special Damages: Those which actually flow from a tortious act and must be proved in a
specific amount. Special damages in an auto accident may include property
damage, medical expenses, hospital bills, ambulance bills, doctor’s
bills, physical therapist bills, and lost earnings or income.
Anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a car accident
knows that these quantifiable financial losses are not the only harms
experienced by an accident victim. Accident victims experience stress,
anxiety, exhaustion, fear, fatigue, and a host of other types of emotional
turmoil. What about these harms? Accident victims who have experienced
these types of suffering may also be awarded general damages after a crash.
General Damages: Those which Georgia law presumes flow from a tortious act and may be
recovered without proof of a specific amount. The exact types of general
damages will vary widely from case to case. General damages in an auto
accident may include physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering,
emotional distress and a diminished capacity to work, labor or earn money.
The Case of a Car Accident Victim With a Rare Condition
In general, a victim’s susceptibility to injury does not limit the
amount of liability borne by a negligent driver. For example, a driver
may suffer from a rare bone condition. During an accident, the driver
may suffer more serious injuries because of the bone condition than he
would have otherwise. Under Georgia law, the person at fault for the accident
bears a responsibility to compensate the injured driver.
Determining a Value for General Damages
Although general damages are associated with types of harm not easily quantifiable,
accident victims must nevertheless offer evidence to prove their losses.
In nearly all circumstances, the only remedy that a civil court can offer
is money. Accident victims should do their best to document their general
damages, including keeping a list of doctor visits, medications, treatments,
therapy, and the like. Often an award of general damages will depend on
such factors as the seriousness of an injury, the sensitivities of a jury,
and the abilities of an attorney. Damage awards in seemingly similar personal
injury cases can vary.
What To Do When You Have Been Injured in an Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, it is
essential that you contact an Atlanta car accident attorney right away.
If you have questions about who may be at fault for your injuries, how
to deal with claims adjusters, or whether you may recover for your damages,
the personal injury attorneys at Goldstein and Hayes, P.C., can answer
your questions and assess your case. We have years of experience helping
personal injury victims navigate the Georgia legal system to hold those
responsible for their injuries accountable.
Contact us today.