A serious injury can leave victims feeling powerless and confused, burdening them with significant financial problems, physical pain and in some cases, life long injury or disability. When that injury is the result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, a personal injury lawsuit is often the only way victims can seek justice. Unfortunately, many personal injury lawyers, despite their clients’ challenges, settle for less, leaving money on the table and giving their clients less than they need to move forward.
At Dan Chapman & Associates, LLC, our Athens personal injury attorneys can protect your best interests. We fight for our clients’ rights in every case that we take and recover the compensation they need and deserve. No one should have to experience financial loss from an injury due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness. If you or a loved one have been injured in a preventable accident, please contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation with an Athens personal injury lawyer.
Why You Need Dan Chapman & Associates as Your Athens Personal Injury Attorneys
At Dan Chapman & Associates, we devote our life and practice to assisting those who may otherwise be exploited by insurance companies. We only represent individuals who have been injured. companies.
Our attorneys have been managing personal injury matters for over 20 years. We are familiar with the issues, the applicable laws, and how the opponent will approach the case.
We do not charge any fees unless we win. Our fee is based on a percentage of the recovered funds, so there is no risk to you. In addition, we provide a free consultation during which a lawyer will assess their case without any commitment.
We have the experience, resources, and legal knowledge to level the playing field against any large corporate defendants at Dan Chapman & Associates.
Why an Athens Personal Injury Attorney is Necessary After an Accident
Personal injury claims can be quite complicated, so hiring an attorney to represent you will free up your time to focus on your physical and mental recovery. Some of the specific services that a personal injury lawyer can do for you include:
- Check to see if you have a legitimate lawsuit
- Gather all relevant evidence for your claim
- Identify all parties who may be held accountable
- Prepare your case for trial, if necessary
- Settlement negotiations
- Take care of insurance claims
After an accident caused by someone else, it is in your best advantage to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Working with an Athens personal injury attorney will almost certainly improve your chances of getting the compensation to which you are entitled under Georgia law.
If you contact a skilled and experienced Athens personal injury lawyer who understands you, your needs, and what it takes to bring a successful claim, you will have an advocate from start to finish who will fight for your rights.
Common Examples of Personal Injury Claims
According to the CDC, approximately 39.5 million people require medical attention each year as a result of a range of serious injuries.
Accidental injuries come in a variety of forms, some of which have a long-term influence on people’s life. The type of injury that results in a personal injury claim is determined by the type of injury. Below, are some of the most prevalent personal injury claims:
- Car accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Construction injuries
- Dog bites
All in all, accidental injury is one of the leading causes of serious injury and death in the United States. Personal injury law or tort law exists to provide those injured an avenue to pursue financial compensation for the injuries and costs that they incur. In most cases, this compensation comes through an insurance policy held by the legally responsible party.
Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The majority of injuries caused by wrongful acts are the consequence of negligence rather than intentional wrongdoing. The term “negligence” is used in tort law to describe action that poses an undue risk of harm to people or property. When a person’s action deviates from what a reasonably cautious person would do in the same situation, he or she is acting negligently.
To win a negligence claim in a personal injury case, you must prove that all four criteria of negligence were met. The following are the four components of negligence that must be proven:
- Duty—the defendant must have had a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- Breach—the defendant must have violated the plaintiff’s duty of care through some form of breach.
- Proximate Causation—the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of their duty.
- Damages—there were some injuries (economic or noneconomic) sustained to the victim or victim’s property.
In general, the law requires jurors to use their common sense and life experience to determine the appropriate level of care and vigilance with which people should live their lives in order to protect the safety of others.
Each case is unique and necessitates proof of many factors. Personal injury attorneys are well-versed in the types of evidence needed to support your claim. An attorney will be able to thoroughly conduct an investigation and collect all necessary evidence, including witnesses, to ensure the victim receives all compensation they are owed.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Personal injury cases are predicated on negligence principles, which state that a defendant who had a duty of care to the plaintiff breached that duty and caused the injuries. However, liability or culpability for the accident may be shared between the defendant(s) and the injured victim in some cases. Comparative negligence is the term used to describe this situation.
Georgia is a state that follows a modified comparative negligence approach. Even if you were partially at fault, you can claim damages from the responsible person or parties provided your percentage of responsibility does not equal or surpass that of the other party, or it does not exceed the proportion of fault of all other parties together. Furthermore, under 51-12-33 of the O.C.G.A. your percentage of fault will be deducted from the damages awarded.
Comparative negligence is most common in car accident cases. For example: Car A and Car B are approaching an intersection with a four way stop. Car A comes to the stop sign first and does not come to a complete stop and accelerates just as Car B is coming to the stop line. However, the driver of Car B is on their phone and does not see the stop sign and hits Car A. Both parties were at fault here, and therefore the amount of damages the driver of Car A (if any at all) will be reduced by their percentage of fault that a court finds.
Can You Recover for Pain and Suffering in Georgia?
The legal term in Georgia for the physical and emotional anguish induced by an accident is “pain and suffering.” The following is a summary of Georgia’s pain and suffering laws, including damage caps and the statute of limitations:
- An accident victim has 2 years to file a personal injury
- In the case of medical malpractice, a victim also has 2 years to file a claim
- If the claim is against the state or county, then the victim only has 1 year to file a claim
- A victim only has a 6 month time frame to file a claim against a local municipality
- Limits on Damages
- There is no cap on non-economic damages (which would include pain and suffering)
- There is a cap on punitive damages
- Comparative negligence will limit damages
Because the perception of pain and suffering is so subjective, and there is no straightforward standard of quantification, damages for pain and suffering are difficult to calculate. Juries are frequently instructed to use their best judgment in determining how much to pay a plaintiff, so the amount awarded could be substantially influenced by the jury’s makeup.
Attorneys may argue for damages that are reasonable in light of the evidence, and some give value to various forms of damages based on a variety of considerations. Moreover, some attorneys use the “multiplier approach,” in which the attorney multiplies the economic losses by a specified number, usually between one and five, to establish the value of pain and suffering.
Non-Economic vs. Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are a type of compensation that accounts for an injured person’s pain, emotional distress, suffering, and other similar issues related to an accident. While economic damages are usually intended to help restore a person to their original condition, non-economic damages are a type of compensation that accounts for an injured person’s pain, emotional distress, suffering, and other similar issues related to an accident.
- In most personal injury lawsuits, both economic and non-economic damages are attainable, but they must be established. Many economic damages are simple to demonstrate because victims frequently have bills to back up their claims.
- As a result, it’s vital that you keep track of every bill and receipt associated with your injuries. Not only should you be extra cautious with all of your medical spending, but you should also retain receipts for any out-of-pocket medical bills.
Non-economic damages do not have the same level of documentation as economic losses do, although they can still be claimed in the majority of circumstances. In many circumstances, offering a victim’s perspective on an accident or the psychological impact of the accident might provide adequate information to a jury to sustain non-economic damage compensation.
Punitive Damages in Georgia Personal Injury Cases
If an injury is caused by the defendant’s deliberate or purposeful misbehavior (typically a fraudulent or criminal act), formal trial courts have the authority to impose additional damages (over and above out-of-pocket costs and pain and suffering).
Punitive damages (also known as “exemplary damages”) are not allowed in small claims in around half of the states. Georgia does allow punitive damages. Even in areas where punitive penalties are theoretically feasible, small claims court’s low value cap effectively eliminates them, with the exception of a few cases where precise cash amounts are specified for fraudulent checks or failing to refund a tenant’s security deposit on time.
These punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant, can be in the millions when the defendant is affluent. However, punitive damages in Georgia are limited to $250,000.
Claiming and Calculating Damages in an Athens Personal Injury Case
When you have been in an accident, your lawyer can undertake an impartial investigation to identify all of the damages that apply to your case.
In some circumstances, insurers will begin discussing a settlement immediately. In most cases, the initial settlement offer will be insufficient to cover all of your losses. Your lawyer can negotiate a complete and reasonable compensation on your behalf, that will likely be greater than what the insurance company calculated.
If a settlement cannot be achieved, the victim may be forced to pursue legal action. The plaintiff can specify the specific damages sought in the action. In order to calculate these damages, you and your attorney will work together and provide an amount for the following categories:
- Loss of pay, paid time off used, missed work, personal time off
- Out-of-pocket expenses (medical costs, medical care provides, prescriptions)
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
It is important to look at each category individually and come up with as accurate a number as you can. Once you have the amount for each category, the sums are added and that will be the total amount of damages you claim in your suit.
Contact the Athens Personal Injury Attorneys at Dan Chapman & Associates
The Athens personal injury attorneys at Dan Chapman & Associates are ready to discuss your case, and we work hard to get the best possible settlement for each and every one of our clients. Call us immediately for a free case review if you or a loved one has been involved in car accident, big truck accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall accident, nursing home injury caused by neglect or abuse, work accident, or any other accident that caused bodily harm or damage to property.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you are likely to have a successful claim against the liable party or parties involved.