If you’ve been involved in a car accident, one of the first things you’ll ask yourself is how much you can sue for after the crash. There’s no simple answer to this question. However, our Duluth accident lawyers will fight for the maximum compensation possible.
Here, we’ll discuss what types of damages your attorney can demand in your car accident lawsuit. We will also explain some of the things that can impact how much you’ll receive.
What Damages Can Your Car Accident Lawyer Seek?
When you file your lawsuit, your Duluth car accident attorney will include a demand for damages. They’ll have to list both the types and amounts of each type. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be entitled to some or all of the following:
- Compensation for your medical bills
- Compensation for any future medical bills
- Reimbursement for any lost wages
- Damages for any lost future income
- Compensation for damage to your vehicle
- Damages for pain and suffering
We will discuss each of these in more detail below.
Medical Bills and Compensation for Future Medical Care
Even if your injuries are minor, you can end up with thousands of dollars in medical bills. These bills can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars if your injuries are serious.
Typically, your private health insurance will pay for any emergency care you receive. However, they will expect to be reimbursed for any money they pay out.
If your injuries are severe, there’s a good chance you’ll need further medical care in the future. For example, you may need additional surgeries over the next few years. Or, if you become disabled as a result of your car accident, you may need lifelong care.
When your case settles, or when you win in court, the defendant will become responsible for these bills.
In most car accidents, both vehicles sustain some damage. If the accident was serious, your car may have even been totaled. In either case, your lawyer will demand compensation.
If your car is merely damaged, your lawyer will demand reimbursement for what it costs to repair your vehicle. If, on the other hand, it is destroyed, you will be entitled to the fair market value of your car or SUV at the time of the accident.
Damages for Lost Wages and Lost Future Income
If your injuries were serious enough for you to miss time from work, you can demand reimbursement for lost wages. Your Duluth accident lawyer will have to submit copies of your payroll records documenting the time that you missed.
If your injuries are so debilitating that you can no longer do the same kind of work that you did prior to the crash, you can demand damages for lost future income. What your attorney will do is demand the difference between what you would’ve earned had the accident never happened and what you will now earn.
Under Georgia law, you can demand lost future income up until retirement age. Your lawyer will take the difference between the two incomes and multiply it by the number of years left you have to work.
For example, imagine that you made $80,000 as a commercial truck driver. You can no longer drive for a living due to your injuries. Now you will earn about $40,000 per year working as a dispatcher.
This is a significant difference of $40,000 per year. If you were 30 years old at the time of the accident, your injury lawyer in Duluth will demand thirty-five years’ worth of damages. This means your damages for lost future income could be as much as $1.4 million.
Pain and Suffering
Most of our clients are also entitled to damages for pain and suffering. These damages are intended to compensate you for the physical and mental anguish you experienced as a result of the crash.
Proving pain and suffering can be difficult. Your attorney will need to submit specific evidence demonstrating that you did, in fact, experience physical and mental pain and anguish.
Some of the evidence they may use to prove these damages include:
- Your medical records
- Pictures of your injuries
- Testimony by your doctor
- Expert witness testimony
- Statements from you and your family
Since it is difficult to quantify these damages, most accident lawyers will demand pain and suffering damages equal to three times your other, compensatory damages.
For example, if you sued the defendant for $100,000 in medical bills, $50,000 in property damage, and $200,000 in lost income, that comes out to be $350,000. Your lawyer may demand three times as much, or $1.15 million in pain and suffering.
Can Your Lawyer Seek Punitive Damages in Your Car Crash Case?
One question a lot of our clients have is whether they can demand punitive damages as part of their car accident lawsuit. The answer is probably not. These damages are reserved for cases where the judge is looking to punish the defendant.
The court will also order punitive damages in cases where they want to send a message to the public. If the defendant’s behavior was egregious, the court wants people to know they can’t behave that way and get away with it.
Is There a Limit to How Much You Can Collect in Punitive Damages?
Even if the court does award you punitive damages, there is a limit to how much you can receive. Georgia caps punitive damages at $250,000 in most personal injury cases. The only exceptions include cases involving a defective product, intent to cause harm, and drunk driving.
Many have argued that this cap isn’t fair or constitutional. However, the Georgia Supreme Court confirmed that the cap was legal in March of 2023 in a case entitled, Taylor v. The Devereaux Foundation, Inc.
This means that, regardless of how serious your injuries were, your attorney cannot demand more than $250,000 in punitive damages.
What Happens to My Damages if I Was Partially at Fault?
One question a lot of clients have is whether they can still collect damages even though they were partially at fault. Very rarely is one driver 100% responsible for a car accident.
The good news is that according to O.C.G.A. §51-11-7, you can still collect damages even if you were partly at fault. Under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule, you can receive damages as long as you are less than 50% at fault.
Just keep in mind that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, imagine that you sued the defendant for $300,000 for a rear-end accident. However, the defendant can demonstrate that your brake lights weren’t working at the time of the collision.
If they manage to prove this fact, the court may hold that you were 20% at fault. This means your damages will be reduced by 20%, or $60,000. You would then be entitled to the remaining $240,000.
Contact an Experienced Duluth Accident Lawyer Today
If you were involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to damages. As long as your Duluth accident lawyer can prove that the other driver was negligent, you may collect a significant amount in damages. The best way to know what your case is worth is to contact our office so you can sit down with a seasoned car accident lawyer.
We do offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. All you have to do is call us at 770-HELP-NOW. Once we have a chance to review your case, we’ll discuss possible damages and give you an idea of what your case may be worth.