At the Law Offices of John B. Jackson & Associates, we have heard every question you can think of when it comes to Georgia auto accident cases. We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions and some of the most important questions, here. If you’ve been in an auto accident, you are bound to have questions which we can certainly answer, even if you don’t find them on this page. Call us today to schedule your consultation and learn more.
What Forms of Compensation Can Be Recovered in an Auto Accident Claim?
If you’ve been in an auto accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you can recover compensatory damages in two categories: special and general. Your special damages will include actual economic damages, like medical expenses, lost wages, lost future earning potential, medical travel expenses, physical rehabilitation expenses, etc. Your general damages will include the non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, psychological trauma, disfigurement/scarring, loss of consortium/companionship, etc.
Will Punitive Damages Be Awarded in an Auto Accident Claim?
In most cases, you cannot recover punitive damages in an auto accident claim. Punitive damages are intended to punish the individual who is responsible for the accident when they have done something malicious or egregiously negligent. In Georgia, you cannot seek punitive damages just because the at-fault driver was negligent. You can only seek these damages in cases where the at-fault driver behaved in a manner that was willful, intentional, malicious, or ruthlessly apathetic concerning the safety of yourself and others (see http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-51/chapter-12/article-1/51-12-5-1).
What Forms of Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Auto Accident Claim?
The most challenging auto accident claims are those that involve the wrongful death of a loved one. There is no way to fully compensate the survivors for their loss. Georgia addresses these claims by allowing survivors to recover what is termed ‘the full value of the life’ of the victim. This encompasses their economic value and their non-economic value to their loved ones. The economic value refers to their lost wages and future earnings. Their non-economic value is the more difficult to prove part of the case. This is similar to the pain and suffering or psychological trauma that might have been awarded in a case that did not lead to death, and it is based on the conscience of a jury who is well informed about the case and the feelings of the survivors.
Is It Necessary to File a Lawsuit to Recover Compensation for Damages?
It is not always necessary to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for damages after an auto accident. In most cases, your attorney can negotiate a fair settlement with the auto insurance company of the at-fault driver. You only need to file a lawsuit if these efforts are unsuccessful and if you need to avoid running out the statute of limitations. Yet, even if you must file a lawsuit, you can often still settle the claim before it ever goes to court.
Can You Recover Compensation From the Employer of the At-Fault Driver?
If you happen to have been involved in an auto accident in which the at-fault driver was on the clock, working for their employer, at the time, then you can also seek compensation from that employer. This involves a claim of vicarious liability and is usually associated with commercial vehicle accidents when such accidents occur while the individual was completing work related tasks. Even if the person is in their own vehicle, if they were involved in work related tasks at the time of the accident, then vicarious liability claim can still apply.
How Much Time Does It Take To Resolve a Georgia Auto Accident Claim?
Every Georgia auto accident claim is different, and it is not possible to answer this question for everyone in a single reply. Rather, you’ll need to contact our auto accident attorneys at the Law Office of John B. Jackson & Associates to discuss the details of your claim and the potential timeline for resolving that claim, based on the unique factors of your case. Some cases can be resolved in a matter of months, while others will take a few years to settle.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing an Auto Accident Claim in Georgia?
The statute of limitations refers to how much time you have to file your auto accident claim, and it is different in different states. In Georgia, you have a two year statute of limitations, which starts on the date of the accident. However, as is the case with many legal questions, it is not always as straightforward as it seems at first glance. In some cases, the statute of limitations can be tolled, meaning that the start of the statute is delayed until another time, other than the date of the auto accident. This is most common in cases in which the victim is a minor. If the victim is a minor, then the statue of limitations is tolled until they turn 18 or until they are emancipated through marriage or legal processes. Then, there are the situations where someone passes away from their injuries, but not on the same day as the accident. In these cases, the statute of limitations does not start until the date of death.
What Costs Are Associated with a Georgia Auto Accident Attorney Consultation?
The majority of auto accident attorneys in Georgia will not charge you anything at all for the initial consultation, and this is true of the Law Office of John B. Jackson & Associates. Not only is your initial consultation free, but you are also under no obligation to hire the attorney that you seek this consultation from. Many auto accident victims choose to seek multiple consultations with different attorneys to learn about all of their options and ensure that they hire an attorney with whom they are able to develop a positive rapport.
What If You Can’t Afford the Expense of an Auto Accident Attorney?
Another fact that is common to the majority of Georgia auto accident attorneys is that we don’t charge you anything upfront and we won’t charge you anything at all if we don’t recover compensation for your damages. Rather, we work on what is known as a contingency fee basis, which means that our payment is contingent on recovering compensation for you.
For this reason, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you can afford an attorney. Your attorney’s fees will come from your compensation at a rate that is agreed upon prior to pursuing the claim. To learn more about contingency fees and how your legal expenses will be addressed throughout your auto accident claim, contact the experienced auto accident legal team in Douglasville, GA at the Law Office of John B. Jackson & Associates to schedule your free consultation and get answers to any other questions you may have.