When filing a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia, you may wonder how much your claim is worth. Through this type of legal action, you can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and many other types of damages. Because damages vary based on the circumstances surrounding each case, however, it is difficult to estimate the value of a personal injury claim without speaking to an attorney. However, certain factors may influence the settlement you can expect to receive.
Insurance Policy Limits
Georgia is a fault insurance state that requires at-fault drivers to pay for the damages of their victims. To uphold this financial responsibility, drivers must carry liability insurance in the following minimum amounts.
$25,000 for bodily injury or death liability per person per accident
$50,000 for total injury or death liability per accident
$25,000 for property damage per accident
Drivers can choose to purchase higher amounts of insurance if they want to, but this basic coverage is common. If you are filing an insurance claim, you will only be able to collect compensation up to the driver’s policy limits. If your damages exceed these limits, your attorney may recommend pursuing a personal injury lawsuit to recover the full extent of your losses.
The Severity of Your Injuries
Injury severity is one of the most important factors in determining the value of a personal injury claim. The more severe your injuries are, the higher your settlement is likely to be. A very severe injury is more likely to require intensive, long-term medical care, resulting in thousands of dollars in medical expenses. You are also more likely to require disability accommodations, mobility equipment, and rehabilitation, which will also be included in your award.
Severe injuries also impact your ability to go to work, resulting in a longer recovery period and a higher amount of lost wages. You may also be unable to return to your previous position completely, therefore making you eligible for compensation pertaining to the loss of future earnings and benefits. Additionally, many pain and suffering formulas are calculated based on a multiplier based on the severity of your injuries. The higher your multiplier is, the higher your pain and suffering award will be.
Complex Liability and Shared Fault
In a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the at-fault party’s negligence caused your accident and the damages you sustained. However, liability is not always clear—and if the court believes that you are partially responsible for your accident, your award could be at risk.
This is due to Georgia’s comparative negligence laws, which reduce the amount of damages you receive by the percentage of fault you share. If the court believes you are more than 49 percent at fault for the accident, you will not receive any compensation.
For example, if you are injured in a car accident and the court discovers that you were texting when the accident occurred, it may assign you 40 percent of the liability. If you ask for a $100,000 award, you will only receive $60,000. If the court assigns you 55 percent of the fault, you will receive $0.
Speak to a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia, it is important to contact a lawyer to discuss your claim. Your attorney can gather the necessary evidence and help you calculate the full extent of your damages, enlisting the help of expert witnesses to estimate your long-term care costs. Speak to an Augusta personal injury lawyer as possible to learn more about your legal options.