When a personal injury occurs, the victim often suffers. In addition to experiencing pain, they also can experience debt, career loss, and other profound effects.

People who are victims of personal injury could be eligible for compensation. By working with a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, you could seek financial restitution. Here at Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, our lawyers have years of experience fighting for the rights of victims. Learn more about Georgia’s personal injury laws and what we can do for you.

What is a Personal Injury Claim

person in crash

People who experience an injury or illness as a result of negligence or recklessness can file a personal injury claim. By filing the claim, you initiate a civil lawsuit against the offending party. In some cases, the lawsuit is against an individual. However, it can also be against a business or even a government agency.

There are two main ways to resolve personal injury claims. First, you and your lawyer can negotiate a settlement with the offending party. This is done out of court and can get you a fair sum of money for your troubles. Secondly, you can resolve your claim in court. This leaves the decision up to the court. If they decide the other party is responsible for your injuries, you could receive money for your medical bills, missed wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses.

Understanding Comparative Fault

One of the keys to understanding personal injury law is knowing about comparative fault. In Georgia, state laws are based on comparative fault. Comparative fault allows you to receive compensation for a personal injury claim even if you are partially to blame.

In some situations, the other party in your lawsuit will try to place some blame upon your shoulders. But this doesn’t mean that you lose out on all compensation. Comparative fault allows you to still receive compensation, albeit in a smaller amount.

If you are partially to blame for the incident, the court determines how much blame is your own. They assign you a percentage of blame. Then, they deduct that percentage from your total compensation.

Suppose you get in a car accident. You may not have been paying full attention and might be 25% responsible for the accident. Instead of receiving full compensation for the accident, you will only receive 75% of it. However, it is important to know that if you have more than half of the blame, then you won’t be able to seek damages.

Laws Regarding Personal Injury

back injury

There are several important laws regarding personal injury. Here are a few of them:

1. Statute of Limitations

There are certain time restrictions to filing a personal injury lawsuit. Every state has its own laws regarding the issue, and Georgia has a statute of limitations of two years. The two years begins on the day of your accident. If your claim is against the county or city, you only have six months to get started. These claims also involve more procedures. If you wait too long to file, you are unlikely to get your day in court. You have no legal recourse and might not receive compensation.

2. Dog Bites

In 2017, Atlanta was voted one of the top pet-friendly cities in the US. Although this is good news for dog owners, it could be bad news for others. Dog bite injuries are common, and the consequences can be extremely serious. Georgia employs the “one bite” rule. No matter what history a dog has, the dog’s owner is responsible for a dog bite. If a dog is off of a leash or not heeling, the owner is to blame.

3. Damage Caps

In some states, damage caps keep you from receiving over a certain amount of money in personal injury claims. However, Georgia does not have any damage caps. This means you can receive as much money as the court deems fair.

How is Pain & Suffering Calculated?

If you were hurt due to the careless or reckless conduct of another person, you need money to pay your bills. In addition, a personal injury claim allows you to seek compensation for your pain and suffering.

This raises an important question: How do I figure out how much my pain and suffering damages are worth? There is no single formula used to calculate pain and suffering. Instead, it is decided on a case-by-case basis.

Pain & Suffering Are Non-Economic Damages

In Georgia, injured victims can claim financial compensation for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages are losses with a clear monetary value. Some notable examples include medical bills and lost wages. On the other hand, non-economic are ‘intangible’—they are not tied to a specific monetary loss.

Pain and suffering is one of the most common examples of non-economic damages. Broadly speaking, pain and suffering covers the physical pain and mental trauma that a person endured during an accident. As it is a non-economic loss, pain and suffering is notoriously difficult to value—but that does not make your pain or your suffering any less real.

Economic Damages Help to Form the Basis of a Pain and Suffering Claim

After an accident, it is crucial that you carefully document your economic damages. Your medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket losses must be fully compensated. Beyond that, your economic damages can help you form the basis of a pain and suffering claim. In Georgia, courts often use the “multiplier method” to help set a range for pain and suffering damages.

As an example, imagine that you sustained $20,000 in medical bills and $5,000 in lost wages in a slip and fall accident at an Atlanta business ($25,000 in total economic damages). With a multiplier of ‘2’, you could then claim an additional $50,000 in compensation for your pain and suffering.

To be clear, a multiplier of ‘2’ is not always used to calculate pain and suffering damages—it could be a higher number or a lower number. As pain and suffering is a case-by-case issue, a court will take a careful look at the physical pain, mental suffering, and emotional trauma that a victim endured in an accident and during their recovery.

Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta

Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys

If you’ve been seriously injured and want compensation, you’re going to need some assistance from a personal injury lawyer with the size, strength and resources necessary to obtain full and fair compensation for your claim. We can help you achieve that.

Insurance companies are solely in the business of making money, and will do everything possible to pay you less than what your claim is worth. To accomplish this, they’ll put as much blame as possible on the victim to minimize what they owe you. In some cases, they downright skirt the law in order to make a profit. This is called insurance bad faith – meaning the insurer has refused to pay a claim without reasonable basis or properly investigating a claim in a timely fashion.

Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys can help you. With a long track record of success, we know what your claim is really worth, and we have a reputation of fighting for our clients all the way to court if necessary. From our Atlanta law office, we represent injured victims throughout North Georgia, including in Marietta, Norcross, Kennesaw, Alpharetta, and Lawrenceville.

If you’re ready to get started, contact us for a free case evaluation.