When an auto collision victim comes for a consultation with a car accident lawyer in Carrollton, Georgia, there are several questions on their minds. One common question is how much they can receive for their car accident damages. This is expected as auto crashes often leave victims with medical bills and other financial losses.
The money could run into tens of or hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is why monetary compensation is essential, as it helps the victim avoid going into debt. So, how much can a crash victim get from the at-fault party?
This article attempts to answer this question. But to get more detailed information about the value of car accident damages claims, contact the Law Office of John B. Jackson.
What Are Car Accident Damages?
“Damages” is a word that appears too often in personal injury claims, and it could mean two things. The first is the losses suffered in the accident, and the other is the victim’s compensation. We’ll discuss both below.
Damages as a Loss
When injury victims talk about the losses they sustained in an accident, they refer to it as “damages.” Here, the term refers to physical injuries and losses. These include:
- A damaged motor vehicle and the money spent fixing it
- Medical expenses
- Personal property loss or damage, e.g., an expensive watch or family heirloom
- Lost income, etc.
So, when victims talk about their “damages,” this is what they have in mind. However, the law describes the term in another way.
Damages as Compensation
Under personal injury law, damages refer to the sum of money imposed for a breach of some duty or violation of some right. So, it is the compensation you receive for the losses mentioned above. Generally, there are two types of damages: compensatory and punitive damages.
As the name implies, compensatory car accident damages compensate you for the losses suffered due to the negligent actions of another person. It is divided into economic and non-economic damages. The former covers all the losses with a fixed dollar value, making it easy to calculate and pay. E.g., medical costs, lost income, burial and funeral costs, etc.
Non-economic damages cover losses with no fixed value, meaning you cannot assign an amount to them. This makes it hard to calculate. However, insurance carriers and personal injury lawyers have different methods of arriving at a number. These losses are mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.
Punitive car accident damages are the opposite of compensatory damages. It doesn’t aim to return you to your pre-accident state but to punish the at-fault party. So, you can claim punitive damages if there is evidence of gross, willful, and malicious negligence.
Georgia law caps punitive damages at $275,000, and 75 percent of the money goes into the state treasury. There is no limit on the amount of punitive damages if the defendant’s judgment was substantially impaired by alcohol or drugs.
A Car Accident Lawyer Carrollton, Georgia Explain How Much You Can Get for Your Damages
There is no fixed amount for car accident damages under Georgia law. The amount a person gets depends on several determining factors. This is why compensation differs from case to case. Below, we look at these determinants and explain how they affect your settlement.
Severity of Injury
When calculating car accident damages, the first loss considered is medical bills and it is primarily determined by the injury severity. So, a person with a minor wound will get less money than someone with a severe injury. Also, aside from the severity of the wound, the type also plays a role.
For example, spinal cord injuries have a higher payout than broken bone or whiplash. Furthermore, the presence of a disability determines the settlement amount. If the victim suffered partial disability the money will be less than if it is permanent.
This is why a car accident lawyer in Carrollton, Georgia, will advise claimants to attain maximum medical improvement (MMI) before commencing a claim. At this point, it is clear whether the victim will fully recover, become disabled, or need a lifetime of medical attention. In cases like this, you may get hundreds of thousands or millions in compensation.
The Extent of Property Damage
The primary property damage considered is your car. If you were in a high-impact crash, your car may be damaged beyond repair (totaled). This means you can no longer drive it, and need a replacement.
However, having a totaled vehicle does not mean the at-fault party will buy you a new one. Instead, the responsible driver’s insurance carrier will consider the following factors to determine the car’s value:
- The make, model, and trim level
- The age of the damaged car
- The recoverable costs
- The mileage
Now, suppose the car is repairable. Then the insurance provider will conduct a thorough examination using their auto repair shop to determine what needs to be fixed and how much it will cost.
The third factor that determines how much you get in car accident damages is lost income. Severe accident injuries will keep you from working for a while. The period you stay off work and how much you earn plays a role in the settlement sum.
The insurance company or the court will also consider the accident’s impact on your ability to earn. Suppose you become partially disabled and cannot return to the work you had before. You will get compensation for loss of earning capacity. Similarly, if you are permanently disabled and can not work, your lawyer will factor this in, and you’ll get a higher amount.
The Presence of Non-Economic Damages
The presence of non-economic car accident damages also contributes to how much you get. But calculating compensation for these losses is difficult. Usually, lawyers and insurance companies use a multiplier method to arrive at the amount.
They pick a number from 1 to 5 and use it to multiply the economic damages. So, for example, if you were awarded $20,000, and the insurance company picked number three, your total compensation would be $60,000.
Finally, you need evidence to prove your claim and get the amount you deserve. So, ensure you have:
- Receipts of medical bills
- Pay stubs
- Receipt of cost of medical equipment
- The estimated cost of vehicle repair
- Estimated costs of future medical care
Get Excellent Legal Representation From a Car Accident Lawyer in Carrollton, Georgia
An accident is capable of derailing your life and leaving you in financial debt. So, if you are not responsible for the occurrence, the wise step is to get compensation from the at-fault party. Our legal team at the Law Office of John B. Jackson can help you calculate your losses and determine the amount of car accident damages you’ll get. Contact us today for a free case review with a Carrollton injury lawyer.