Car accidents are relatively common occurrences that often leave drivers severely injured. If you were hurt because a negligent driver hit you on the road, you can file a lawsuit to claim financial compensation.
Car accidents are a significant concern on the roads and can happen in a myriad of ways. Perhaps you were T-boned in an intersection by a driver who failed to hit their brakes at a red light. Maybe you were rear-ended and wound up with a badly injured neck. Every accident is unique, and you should discuss how your collision happened with an attorney after seeing a doctor. The purpose of a lawsuit is to claim damages. Damages represent the losses you suffered after being injured, which may be economic or non-economic. In rare cases, you may be awarded punitive damages, although these are separate and adhere to different legal procedures. Before getting any damages awards, you must prove the defendant was negligent and hold them liable.
If a negligent driver caused a crash and you were injured, our Columbus, GA car accident lawyers can assist you in your subsequent lawsuit. For a free case review, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
Common Car Accident Examples in Columbus, GA
A big part of what makes car accidents so dangerous is their unpredictability. They might happen almost anywhere and at any time. Even when you are doing your best to stay safe on the road, other negligent drivers might still cause crashes, and you could still get badly hurt. Our Columbus, GA car accident lawyers can help you bring the responsible parties to justice.
Intersections are extremely dangerous. Drivers passing through an intersection rely on other drivers to know when to stop. Intersections with more than just two roads or highways meet can be particularly dangerous, especially if drivers are unsure how to proceed. In some cases, drivers are T-boned by other drivers, which is when another car slams into the side of a vehicle.
Rear-ending accidents are also very serious and often leave drivers with bad whiplash injuries. Such injuries might prevent you from turning your head or standing upright if the pain is severe. Rear-ending accidents tend to happen when you stop your vehicle at a red light or stop sign, but the car behind you fails to brake in time, slamming into the rear end of your car.
A negligent driver’s failure to signal when turning, changing lanes, or coming to a stop can also lead to bad accidents. For example, you might be struck by a driver who wants to change lanes but does not use their signal. Thus you did not know they were changing lanes and could not get out of the way in time.
Available Damages in Columbus, GA Car Accident Lawsuits
The main focus of a lawsuit damages. Damages represent the plaintiff’s numerous and considerable losses from their accident, including economic and non-economic losses. In more unusual cases, plaintiffs might be awarded punitive damages, although there are different legal procedures and restrictions surrounding these kinds of damages. Talk to our Columbus, GA car accident attorneys about the damages available in your case.
Special damages come at a real financial cost to the plaintiff and are often reflected by bills and actual money spent. These damages can be added up more easily because their value is already known. For example, if your vehicle was totaled in a crash and worth $25,000, you can claim the value of the destroyed car as part of your special damages. Similarly, you can claim medical expenses by adding up the numerous medical bills you have received. Even if you have health insurance, you can claim the money you spent on insurance deductibles as part of your damages.
General damages are less concrete and subject to interpretation. General damages encompass a plaintiff’s personal experiences surrounding a car accident. Since plaintiffs might have different experiences, their general damages tend to vary. Common examples include emotional and physical pain and suffering. The greater an impact these experiences have on your life, the more they are worth as part of your general damages. You can also claim things like humiliation or damage to your reputation.
Punitive damages differ from those discussed before because they are not meant to compensate injured plaintiffs. Instead, these damages are meant to serve as a punishment for defendants and a deterrent for future bad behavior. These damages can be quite great and are subject to different rules and regulations.
The law regarding punitive damages can be found under Georgia Code § 51-12-5.1 and states that punitive damages may only be awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions constituted willful misconduct, malice, fraud, oppression, wantonness, or conscious indifference to consequences. Some jurisdictions refer to this as “gross negligence,” which is a very high bar to meet.
In most cases, punitive damages are limited to $250,000, although specific types of cases might have different caps. Plaintiffs do not usually collect the full value of punitive damages, as they are required by law to pay 75% of any punitive damages awarded to the state treasury.
Proving Liability in a Car Accident Lawsuit in Columbus, GA
Liability in most car accident cases is based on negligence. To prove that the defendant was negligent when they caused the crash, we must establish four important legal elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Our Columbus, GA car accident lawyers can help you gather the evidence you need to prove each element and hold the defendant liable.
The element of duty represents the defendant’s legal obligation they owed the plaintiff. All drivers have a legal duty on the road to drive with reasonable safety under the circumstances while obeying all traffic laws.
The breach is whatever the defendant did or failed to do that violated their duty. The breach is often a traffic violation, such as running a red light or stop sign. We might be able to prove a breach by presenting evidence of a citation issued to the defendant by the police at the crash scene.
Causation is the connection between the breach and the accident. The defendant’s breach must be the direct cause of the accident. If some other intervening force caused the accident instead of the breach, the defendant cannot be held negligent.
Finally, your damages must be real. People often mistakenly think they can sue for damages that almost happened, but this is not so. You can only sue for the real damages you experienced, not close calls or near misses.
Call Our Columbus, GA Car Accident Attorneys for Help Today
If you were injured in a car crash you believe was caused by a negligent driver, our Columbus, GA car accident lawyers can help you get compensation for your damages. Call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for a free case assessment.