When plaintiffs file car accident lawsuits, one of their main goals is to get compensated for their injuries. This is often because the medical bills and other recovery-related costs of injuries sustained in car accidents can reach astronomical sums that a plaintiff’s insurance may not be able to handle. Additionally, plaintiffs may wish to get paid because of the fear and distress the defendant caused when they injured the plaintiff.
Damages you can recover in a car accident lawsuit are based on the injuries you sustained in the accident. The goal of awarding damages to a plaintiff in a lawsuit is to put them in a similar position to where they were before they got injured. This means that plaintiffs need to be appropriately compensated for the cost of healing from their injuries, the pain and distress from experiencing the accident, and potentially the defendant’s unacceptable conduct. Those three categories heavily influence the court’s decisions regarding what plaintiffs are awarded as damages in a car accident lawsuit, and you should use those considerations as the core of your request for damages in your lawsuit.
To go over your case for free, call Howe Law’s Georgia Car accident lawyers at (844) 876-4357.
Categories of Damages in Georgia Car Accident Lawsuits
Our Gainesville, GA personal injury lawyers typically divide damages into three categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. While these categories do not mean that you are awarded damages multiple times over – you get one award of damages in your lawsuit – they can help explain to the court why exactly you are asking for damages in your lawsuit and give you a better chance of being successful in your lawsuit.
Economic damages refer to damages based on things that have an actual economic value. This means items like hospital bills, invoices for medical treatment, physical therapy costs, and the cost of round-the-clock medical care. Generally, this portion of damages is meant to make up for any costs the plaintiff may have incurred while recovering from their injuries.
Non-economic damages are awarded for things that do not have bills or receipts to support them. “Pain and suffering” is probably the most commonly known thing that non-economic damages are awarded for. Since there are no receipts for the value of non-economic damages, our lawyers have to argue their worth before the court.
Punitive damages are based on the defendant’s conduct rather than the condition of the plaintiff. They are only awarded in circumstances where the defendant has done something especially bad to cause the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff usually needs to demonstrate more than just that the defendant was negligent in order to recover punitive damages, so courts rarely award them.
Things that Affect Damages in Georgia Car Accident Lawsuits
Your damages are primarily influenced by your condition after an accident. Medical bills and your personal experiences have a strong influence on what damages you will be awarded in a car accident lawsuit.
Medical bills will play a large part in determining what damages you are awarded in a car accident lawsuit. The jury will consider the cost of your initial medical treatment, like trauma care and surgeries, as well as long-term care, like live-in health aides.
If you missed work because of your injuries, you can be compensated for the income you would have earned had you not been injured. Similarly, if you can no longer work or have to take a job that pays worse, your damages can include the difference between your pay prior to getting injured and your current income.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are hard to quantify since each plaintiff will experience an accident differently. However, you can demonstrate to the court through personal testimony or evidence the effect your injuries have had on you.
Injuries that will limit the activities you can do in the future have an influence on the amount of damages you are awarded by the court. For example, if you permanently lost range of motion in your arms, that could factor into your damages.
How Damages Are Calculated in a Georgia Car Accident Lawsuit
There is no method for calculating how much your damages are worth that is set in stone. However, there are some commonly used methods used in the legal field. When you sit down with our car accident lawyers, we can figure out the best method to calculate damages for your particular situation.
The multiplier method first calculates your economic damages and then multiplies them by a given factor to come up with the total amount of damages you are asking for. For example, you could have $400,000 in medical expenses and then multiply that number by three to get a total of $1.2 million in damages.
The multiplier method is generally employed when the plaintiff’s injuries will never fully heal because it would be impossible to perfectly predict future medical expenses as well as future hardships. Thus, previous medical expenses are used as a proxy to infer the total damages a plaintiff should be awarded.
Per Diem Method
Another method of calculating damages is the “per diem” or “daily” method. Using this method, our lawyers determine an appropriate amount of damages for each day that you were dealing with your injuries. This includes not just your time in the hospital but also any long-term care like physical therapy or temporary chronic pain. The per diem method is generally not used for injuries that will never fully heal because that would require an infinite amount of financial compensation.
Discuss Your Case with Our Georgia Car Accident Lawyers
Get a free case review from Howe Law’s Atlanta car accident lawyers, available at the number (844) 876-4357.