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 weren’t fully at fault for the car accident, you may be eligible to collect compensation for your damages.
Our lawyers go over which damages are common after a car accident and how a personal injury lawyer can help you begin collecting them after the collision. Remember, never pay out of pocket for your car accident damages. Instead, you should always strive to receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.
What Are Car Accident Damages?
First, let’s clarify the legal definition of “damages.” Damages refer to compensation you can collect due to being injured or suffering a loss from the negligence of another person or party.
Damages are typically those that can be estimated in money according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (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.
You usually need to file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for damages. Below are typically damages you can collect during this process after being injured in a car accident.
Medical Costs from Treating Your Injuries
Any medical expenses you experience resulting from injuries caused by 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 essential 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 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. Again, 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 making 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
The 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 seek 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 if it needs replacement 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.
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, non-economic damages don’t have a precise dollar amount and are much more complicated to calculate.
One of the most common non-economic damages is pain and suffering. Pain and suffering refer to physical or mental distress you experience due to 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.
Non-economic damages may also include:
- 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 non-economic damages you can collect depends on your state. There is no cap on the number of damages you can recover for non-economic damages in Georgia.
Wrongful Death Damages
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.
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How to Collect Damages After a Car Accident
You will need to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to college damages from a car accident. 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 resulting 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. Of course, 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.
Average Value of Car Accident Settlements
The average car accident settlement values wildly depending on:
- The severity of the damages you sustained.
- The types of damages you sustained.
- The negligent party involved that caused your accident.
Remember, not all car accident cases are the same. Mild car accidents can result in a modest settlement, while ones that lead to severe injuries can often lead to large settlements, sometimes in the millions of dollars. Therefore, it’s essential to get your case reviewed by a lawyer as soon as possible to know how much your damages are worth.
Never Take the Initial Settlement Offer
Insurance companies will often try to contact you right after your car accident to see if they can get you to accept their initial settlement offer before you hire a lawyer. The reason why they do this isn’t that they’re compassionate and have your best interests at heart. Instead, it’s because they want you to accept their lowball offer of compensation so they can save money.
Don’t trust insurance companies. If you have to speak with one prior to talking to an attorney, only give basic information. Don’t reveal anything about your case and never agree to anything they offer either verbally or in writing. Many people get cheated out of a proper settlement each year. Never find yourself in this situation and get legal representation as soon as possible.
You Have Two Years to File for Damages in Georgia
The statute of limitations for Georgia under OCGA §9-3-33 gives car accident victims two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. 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.
Get Help When You File a Claim
When you file a claim, you don’t have to do it alone. Instead of dividing your attention between your health and fighting for fair compensation, you can focus on recovery while we handle the rest. Our car accident lawyers have handled even the toughest of cases and are ready to assist you.
Our case results show our dedication and experience. We don’t stop until our clients get the compensation they deserve. If you’re having trouble knowing where to start or how to negotiate with the insurance company, don’t hesitate to call our office today to get immediate assistance.
Talk to Our Car Accident Lawyers Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping injury victims win what they deserve for 20 plus years. We never charge upfront for our services, and you don’t pay unless we win you money. To get started today with your free consultation, call or contact us online.