Georgia drivers who have been injured due to the negligence of others often wonder whether it makes financial sense to pursue a personal injury claim. Although several factors are used to determine your eligibility for compensation, the majority of accident victims can benefit from seeking legal representation to negotiate a personal injury settlement.
Compensation for Medical Expenses
With the cost of health care continuing to rise each year, reimbursement for medical expenses often plays a key role in convincing accident victims to file a personal injury claim. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, you’re entitled to compensation for all reasonable and necessary accident-related medical expenses. This may include:
- Ambulance or helicopter transportation
- Emergency room visits
- Lab tests
- Hospital stays
- Physical therapy
- Consultations with specialists
- Miscellaneous follow-up care
- Modifications to your vehicle that are related to your accident injuries
- Modifications to our home that are related to your accident injuries
- Anticipated future medical expenses
To assist your attorney in preparing your case, you should keep copies of all medical bills you have received. A specialist with experience in treating patients with injuries similar to yours may also be able to provide testimony regarding anticipated future medical expenses.
Compensation for Lost Income
If you’ve been injured, you may have missed a significant number of work days. As part of your personal injury claim, you can seek reimbursement for this loss of income.
Loss of past income can be proven with pay stubs and a letter from your employer. Loss of future income will require making calculations based on your life expectancy, past earnings, and anticipated future earnings based on the limitations posed by your accident-related disability.
Accident victims who have sustained permanent disabilities that have left them unable to work, are working reduced hours, or have been forced into a different less lucrative line of work are entitled to compensation for their loss of future earning potential.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Coming up with a reasonable value for pain and suffering compensation is generally the most difficult portion of a personal injury settlement. Putting a dollar value on the trauma that’s been suffered due to a car accident can’t fully compensate an injured person for his losses, but the hope is that the settlement will allow him a more secure future moving forward.
Punitive damages aren’t awarded in every personal injury case. They are reserved as a way to financially punish someone whose negligent or reckless conduct is willful and shows a disregard for its consequences. For example, it would be appropriate to seek punitive damages from a repeated drunk driver who has already caused one or more past accidents.
What If the Accident Was Partially My Fault?
In some states, being partially at fault for an accident prevents you from collecting damages. However, Georgia uses a comparative fault system. You can still collect compensation for accident-related injuries, but your ability to recover damages will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. If a judge or jury believes, for instance, than you were 10 percent to blame for the collision, then you will receive 10 percent less than the full amount of your damages.
If you believe that you were partially at fault for the accident, you’ll want to discuss this issue in greater detail with your attorney. A skilled personal injury attorney can often convince an insurer that you bear a lower percentage of fault, which will increase your eligibility for compensation
Can I Even Afford an Attorney?
One common concern accident victims have when considering if it’s worth their time to file a personal injury claim is whether they’ll be able to afford a lawyer. When you’re drowning in medical debt and have missed several weeks of work due to your recovery, financial concerns are understandable. However, it’s important to keep in mind that personal injury attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means that your attorney will accept a percentage of the settlement you receive as a payment for his services so you don’t need to pay out of pocket to get your case started. If your attorney is unable to settle your personal injury claim, you don’t owe anything for your legal representation.
Rechtman & Spevak is dedicated to assisting accident victims in winning favorable personal injury settlements. To schedule a free consultation about your potential case, fill out our online contact form or call 404-355-2688 to learn more.