Unfortunately, traffic accidents remain a serious problem in Georgia and all over the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that car crashes send more than two million Americans to the emergency room every year.
Even if you are a safe, careful driver, there is still a chance that you could be involved in a major wreck. If you suffered a significant injury in a motor vehicle crash, you can and should make a personal injury claim.
While not every minor bump or bruise is enough to sustain a personal injury case, you should be ready to make a claim if you have medical bills, were forced to miss time at work, or endured serious pain and suffering in a crash. Have questions about your rights? Contact an experienced Georgia car accident attorney today.
Six Of The Most Common Car Accident Injuries In Georgia
Lacerations are among the most common types of car accident injuries reported in Georgia. Whether caused by broken glass or jagged edges within a vehicle, it is relatively easy for a person’s skin to be punctured and cut in a crash. Of course, lacerations vary widely in their severity. In some cases, they are relatively minor. In other cases, a cut may be a medical emergency—there may be a risk of significant blood loss or even permanent scarring. Further, lacerations in car accidents can become infected.
- Broken Bones
Broken/fractured bones are another relatively common auto accident injury. The extreme force of a collision can be enough to break even the body’s largest and strongest bones. Broken bones always require immediate medical attention. For the victim, the road to recovery can be long and daunting. It is crucial that injured victims are able to get high-quality medical treatment and full and fair financial support.
- Soft Tissue Damage (Whiplash)
Soft tissue damage is damage to muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Most people who are involved in major car accidents experience at least some form of soft tissue damage. In the most minor of cases, it may be little more than a bruise. However, soft tissue damage can also result in severe, long-term injuries. Whiplash—an injury that occurs when a person’s neck is forcefully shifted back and forth—is perhaps the most common type of soft tissue damage associated with car accidents. If you suffered whiplash in a crash, an experienced Georgia auto accident lawyer can help.
- Broken Ribs (And Other Internal Injuries)
When a person suffers broken ribs in a car accident, it can take many months before the injury is fully healed. Further, broken ribs are often associated with other internal injuries. A broken rib or a suspected broken rib requires immediate medical attention. There is always a risk that a person has suffered internal bleeding or organ damage.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Few things are more frightening than suffering a serious head injury in a car accident. If you or your loved one suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI), you need emergency medical care. Concussions are notoriously difficult to diagnose. One challenge is that brain injuries frequently occur with a delayed onset. It may be several days before a person feels the full effects of a brain injury. Anyone who sustained a blow to the head and who is demonstrating signs of a concussion should be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Catastrophic Injuries
Unfortunately, some auto accident injuries are so severe that it is unlikely, if not impossible, for the victim to make a complete recovery. These injuries are often referred to by the umbrella term ‘catastrophic injuries’. Some examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Severe scarring/disfigurement;
- Severe burn injuries;
- Permanent brain damage;
- Spinal cord damage; and
Catastrophic injury claims are complex legal cases. The injured victim needs access to financial support to pay for the medical expenses that have already been accrued and financial support to cover all future medical costs and rehabilitative services. Additionally, financial relief must be provided to account for an injured victim’s pain and suffering, mental distress, and reduced quality of life.
Categories of Damages
Our clients often qualify for compensation to cover:
- Medical care to treat an accident injury
- Lost wages or lost income
- Property damage
- Other consequential damages
- Pain and suffering
When a motorist’s conduct was particularly egregious, we might seek punitive damages as well. These are not compensatory but instead seek to punish a wrongdoer.
Reasonable Damages for Medical Care
Our clients can receive compensation to cover the cost of treating the injuries caused in a wreck. This treatment can include:
- Transportation in an ambulance to the hospital
- Hospital stays
- Prescription drugs or other medicine
- Doctor visits
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Mental health therapy costs
Remember to hold onto all receipts or doctor’s bills, which help us show how much the care cost.
In some cases, our clients receive a reasonable amount for future medical care, especially for permanent disabilities. Someone with spinal cord injuries, for example, might need multiple surgeries going forward, along with continued rehab. We work with experts to help calculate what is a reasonable amount for these future expenses.
Lost Wages or Lost Income
When injuries prevent a client from working, they can receive compensation for their economic loss. Measuring reasonable damages for lost income is fairly easy if you are a wage earner. Bring in your most recent pay stubs that show how much you earn.
If you are self-employed, you will need to fully document how much you could have reasonably made while recovering. We will see any service or business contracts, profit and loss statements, and cash flow statements.
A car accident can damage or destroy a car. Many of our clients need to repair their vehicle, and they seek compensation for this expense. If their car was destroyed, they should qualify for money to cover the cost of a replacement vehicle.
We can prove property damage by repair bills or estimates. If your car was destroyed, then you should receive the current market value of the vehicle.
If you can tie an economic loss directly to the accident, you might receive compensation for it. For example, you might need to rent a car or take taxis as your car is being repaired. Hold onto receipts to show how much it cost you.
This is a tricky category, because you might have a lot of expenses that are not a direct result of the accident. Let our Georgia car accident lawyer review.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Some losses are not economic in nature, but they are very real. For example, your injuries might prevent you from engaging in your favorite hobbies, picking up your grandchild, or even being intimate with your spouse. These are definitely losses, even if they do not come with a price tag.
What’s a “reasonable” amount for pain and suffering? If your case goes to trial, then a jury will decide what is reasonable based on their life experience. Generally, the more permanent or severe the injuries, the more compensation you can receive.
A state law, O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1, allows victims to receive punitive damages when the defendant acted with:
- Willful misconduct
- Conscious indifference to the consequences
For example, if a driver sped into a crowd or deliberately struck someone, then their conduct is so serious that it warrants punitive damages.
Punitive damages are meant to punish drivers, so jurors would use their experience to come up with an amount that they believe accomplishes this goal. Nonetheless, Georgia does cap punitive damages in most cases at $250,000. A large chunk of this amount—75%–is paid into the state treasury.
Were You Injured In An Auto Accident In Georgia?
We can help. At MG Law, our Georgia car accident lawyers are committed to helping injured victims get justice, accountability, and the maximum available financial compensation. To set up a free, no-obligation case evaluation, please contact our legal team today. With law offices in Covington, Conyers, and Atlanta, we handle auto accident injury claims throughout the state of Georgia.
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