Personal injuries in Atlanta can take many different forms, they can range in severity, and they can result from various accidents and circumstances. Some of the most common types of personal injury cases in the Atlanta area arise from car accidents, truck accidents, slips and falls, negligent security cases, product defect injuries, and dog bites. How can you seek compensation after one of these types of accidents or situations?
The answer to that question will depend upon the particular circumstances under which you were injured and who may be at fault for your injuries. Generally speaking, it may be possible to file an insurance claim after some types of personal injuries and to seek compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers can provide you with more information.
Filing an Insurance Claim
After many types of personal injuries, the injured person may be eligible to file an insurance claim. Insurance claims are most common after motor vehicle accidents that involve personal injuries, including car accidents and truck accidents. Since Georgia is an at-fault or “tort” state for auto accident purposes, a person who is injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by another driver can usually file a third-party auto insurance claim through the at-fault driver’s policy. In some cases, it may be possible (or could make more sense) to file a first-party claim through your own auto insurance, even if another driver is clearly at fault. You should speak with a lawyer about filing an insurance claim and how to move forward with this process.
Even in successful auto insurance claims, you may be unable to obtain complete compensation for your losses. Georgia auto insurance law only requires motorists to carry $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person and $50,000 bodily injury total per accident. As such, when motor vehicle accident injuries are especially severe, an at-fault driver simply may not carry enough liability insurance to completely cover your losses. When insurance liability limits (or any other issue) prevent you from recovering enough compensation to cover your losses, you may be able to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injury lawsuits allow injured parties to seek financial compensation for most types of injuries sustained in accidents or other circumstances where another party is at fault. It is important to understand that a personal injury lawsuit is a kind of civil lawsuit. Accordingly, by filing a lawsuit and naming a defendant (or defendants), you will be seeking monetary damages from the defendant. Civil lawsuits do not result in criminal consequences for a defendant. Rather, at the end of a civil lawsuit, a defendant may be required to pay money to compensate an injured person for their losses. In some personal injury lawsuits, the defendant also may be required to pay punitive damages, which are awarded to a plaintiff in cases where a defendant’s behavior was so harmful or reckless that the court wants to punish the defendant.
In order to file a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to be certain that your lawsuit is filed before the statute of limitations runs out. Under Georgia law, most types of personal injury lawsuits have a two-year statute of limitations. If you want to be eligible for compensation, you will need to ensure that you have filed your lawsuit within two years from the date you initially sustained your personal injury.
Understanding the Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
To be eligible for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to present evidence that proves the elements of your claim. Many personal injury lawsuits are based on a theory of negligence, but others may be based on strict liability. You should work with a lawyer to determine what elements you will need to prove and what evidence will be necessary in order to be eligible for compensation.
Considering Comparative Fault
To seek compensation for a personal injury, it will be important to determine whether your own negligence could affect your damages award. Georgia uses a modified comparative fault law, which means that plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits can be eligible for compensation in a lawsuit as long as they are not found to be 50 percent or more negligent for their personal injuries. In cases where a plaintiff is partially at fault but is less than 50 percent at fault, that plaintiff will recover damages, but the total award will be reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s negligence.
For example, if a plaintiff is 25 percent at fault and is awarded $100,000, their award would be reduced by 25 percent ($25,000 in this case), and the plaintiff would recover $75,000.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta
If you sustain a personal injury in any type of accident or in a situation where another party could be liable, it is important to get in touch with an Atlanta personal injury attorney as soon as possible to find out more about your options for seeking financial compensation.
Depending upon the type of accident case or other situation in which you were injured, you could be eligible to file an initial insurance claim in order to seek quick compensation for your losses. In many other circumstances involving a personal injury, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties. Personal injury lawsuits can arise out of many different types of situations, so it is especially important to have an attorney evaluate your case to determine whether you can seek compensation and, if so, the next steps for filing a claim.
Our personal injury lawyers in Atlanta know that every personal injury lawsuit has its own set of facts and circumstances. We focus on the specific facts of your cases and determine your options for seeking compensation based on the circumstances under which you were injured. Contact Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys online or contact us by phone at (404) 529-3476 to learn more about how we can help you.