Car accidents are stressful, painful, and costly. Even minor accidents can leave you with medical bills, lost wages, and emotional damages that you aren’t sure how to handle. But if you were not fully at fault for the car accident, you may be eligible to collect compensation for your damages.
In this article, we’ll cover which damages are common after a car accident and how a personal injury lawyer can help you begin collecting them after the collision.
What Are Car Accident Damages?
First, let’s get clear on the legal definition of “damages.” Damages refer to compensation you can collect as a result of being injured or suffering a loss from the negligence of another person or party.
Damages are typically those that can be estimated in money (Official Code of Georgia (OCGA) § 51-12-4). The person or party who was at fault for the injury is responsible for compensating the injured person for their losses through these damages.
To seek compensation for damages, you usually need to file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Below are typically damages you can collect during this process after being injured in a car accident.
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Medical Costs from Treating Your Injuries
Any medical expenses you experience as a result of injuries caused by the accident are damages you can claim. That might include:
- Medical bills for doctor visits, treatment costs, tests, and hospitalization
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Ambulance fees
- In-home services
- Permanent disability
It’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible after your car accident. If you wait too long, it will appear as if your injuries aren’t that serious and didn’t actually need the treatment. The insurance company may be able to use that to deny your claim.
If your doctor thinks you’ll need further treatment past the date you file your claim, you will need to account for these expenses, too. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you do that.
Lost Wages from Missing Work
Many car accident injuries force you to miss work time while getting treatment. This can be a stressful situation, as you’re missing out on income and worrying about increasing costs from the accident. Thankfully, lost wages are another damage you can collect for a car accident.
Lost wages also account for any career advancement opportunities or bonuses you might have otherwise gained if you hadn’t been away from work for the accident. You might also be able to collect for loss of earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from earning future wages as you did before.
To prove lost wages damages, you’ll need to provide pay stubs from recent past paycheck as well as evidence of any missed opportunities. A car accident lawyer can help you do this, too.
Property and Vehicle Damages
Chances are good that your accident caused damage to your vehicle, too. If you need to repair or even replace your car, the costs are damages you can collect. You can prove car damage through:
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Pictures of your damaged vehicle
- Witness testimony
- Bills and receipts from the repair shop
Property damage claims are often handled separately from personal injury claims, but you would still be seeking compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You may be able to claim the cost of repairs or the fair market value of your car (where you can get estimates through sources like Kelley Blue Book) if it needs to be replaced, or for the car’s diminished value after being repaired after the crash.
These damages include other property damage, as well. If any of your personal possessions were damaged during the accident, you may be able to claim them for compensation.
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Pain and Suffering Damages (General Damages)
Medical bills, property damage, and lost wages are all types of special damages that a skilled car crash attorney can easily prove and calculate. On the other hand, pain and suffering damages fall under general damages. These do not have a clear dollar amount and are much more complicated to calculate.
Pain and suffering can refer to physical or mental distress you experience as a result of your car accident injuries. The amount of damages you can collect for pain and suffering depends on the severity of the physical injuries you suffered, how they affect your quality of life, and the future outlook for your pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering damages may be:
- Costs of therapy for issues like anxiety or depression
- A general loss of enjoyment of life
- Or other ways your physical injuries negatively impact your life
The amount of pain and suffering damages you can collect depends on your state. In Georgia, there is no cap on the number of damages you can recover for pain and suffering. Plus, winning damages for pain and suffering can greatly increase your compensation.
Wrongful Death Damages (if a Loved One Was Killed)
If you lose a loved one in a car accident, you may be able to seek wrongful death damages. These include:
- Medical bills
- Funeral costs
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Pain and suffering the deceased experienced before their death
- Loss of enjoyment of life they suffered
A wrongful death lawyer can help you calculate these damages if you are eligible to file a claim on behalf of the deceased loved one.
How to Collect Damages After a Car Accident
To college damages from a car accident, you will need to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Through this claim, you will also need to prove:
- The other driver was negligent
- Their negligence caused your accident
- Your injuries and other damages directly result from the car accident and the other driver’s negligence
- You can demonstrate your damages from the accident
To strengthen your claim, you and your lawyer will need to gather evidence of the accident, the other driver’s fault, and your damages. You can do this through picture evidence, saving bills and receipts, getting treatment for your injuries, gathering contact information from witnesses, keeping a record of how the accident has affected you, and more.
In most cases, it’s best to have a car accident lawyer to help you with the insurance claim process. You don’t have to have an attorney, but it’s near impossible for most accident victims to know exactly how to protect their legal rights during this process. This is especially true if you have a lot of damages.
You Have Two Years to File for Damages in Georgia
The statute of limitations for Georgia car accident claims is two years from the date of the accident. This time goes by quickly, so it’s best to retain a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can begin working on your case immediately and work towards the fullest compensation possible for you.
At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping injury victims win what they deserve for 20 plus years. Working with us is risk-free because the consultation is FREE and you don’t pay unless we win you money. To get started today with your FREE consultation, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.