The goal of initiating a lawsuit after an accident is to recover compensation to account for the injuries and losses you have suffered. This compensation is known as damages. It is important to know how big of a damages award you are looking for when engaging in a settlement or jury trial. It can be difficult to know all of the damages you should be seeking after an Atlanta car accident, but an experienced motor vehicle collision attorney could assist you in putting together a winning case.
Types of Damages to Recover in a Car Accident Claim
Economic damages are expenses that have a hard dollar value attached, such as property damage, medical bills, lost wages, future medical expenses, nursing care, MRIs, and surgical treatment. A person’s auto insurance typically covers all of those damages.
Non-economic damages are the emotional, social, or psychological suffering that someone goes through after an accident. Individuals could be compensated for the loss of ability to perform daily activities such as caring for themselves, their family, their home, or their business. A plaintiff could also seek compensation for pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, psychological trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Non-economic damages in local auto collision accidents are determined by the jury. If a jury feels that someone should be compensated for the injury they suffered, it is up to the jury to determine how much it is worth. There are typically no caps on damages for economic damages or non-economic damages.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant who was engaged in egregious, reckless, or illegal conduct that consciously disregards the risks associated with it. The goal is for these financial punishments to serve to deter others from committing the same acts. One of our lawyers could help determine if punitive damages are appropriate in a specific case.
Most commonly, plaintiffs could win punitive damages if the at-fault driver was operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or it is proven that they purposely struck the other vehicle. Punitive damages might also be considered if a commercial vehicle driver had a prior record that indicated they had a propensity to drive dangerously. If the trucking company failed to counsel the driver on their poor record, or if they failed to abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations on background checks, they could be on the hook for additional compensation.
There is a cap on punitive damages available after an Atlanta car accident set at $250,000, unless the incident involves drugs or alcohol. Other personal injury practice areas, such as product liability, might not have a cap.
What is the Process of Arguing for Damages?
One of our attorneys could help the plaintiff recover damages by gathering all relevant compensable bills, as well as calculating the amount of wages that were lost while the plaintiff was recuperating. They could use those numbers to request a strong settlement amount. If a case goes to trial, they could prepare a strong argument to present to the jury explaining why the plaintiff deserves to be compensated for their losses.
In order to put together a strong case, we could investigate the accident and collect all available evidence, including witnesses and experts. We must be able to prove that the defendant was liable for the collision and could ensure the plaintiff continues their medical treatment so that the defense cannot argue that the injuries were minor. It is critical that all continuing medical expenses are accounted for in the damages calculation. In addition to confirming liability, we could also consider bringing in the plaintiff’s family or friends to testify as to the change in mental health or socialization of their loved one, which could help secure non-economic damages.
Seek Damages After an Atlanta Car Accident with Help from an Attorney
Between your medical expenses and lost wages, the psychological repercussions, and potentially punitive damages, there is much to consider when you are filing for compensation after an injury. It is best to work with an attorney who knows how to calculate damages in an Atlanta car accident. Schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers today. Your odds of victory increase when you hire professional legal assistance.