Georgia Car Accident Compensation Laws
Personal injury lawyer Casey W. Stevens specializes in injury and wrongful death law in Georgia. We have offices in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Suwanee, Dawsonville and Woodstock. If you have a question about your car accident, call us today for a complimentary case evaluation.
Car and trucking accidents occur in Georgia every day. Whether your accident occurred on an interstate like I-85, I-75, I-675, I-20 or I-285, or on a surface street, if you have been injured in vehicle wreck, it is important you know the laws and hire a qualified injury lawyer to represent you and your loved ones.
Here are the key laws you should be aware of when pursuing an injury claim in Georgia.
Your Attorney Must Be Licensed in Georgia: Although the State of Georgia Courts allow parties injured in Georgia to have co-counsel from out of state, all official legal proceedings must be conducted by a lawyer in good standing with the Georgia Bar. Although there is no law in Georgia prohibiting attorneys who specialize in other areas of legal practice from handling your case, it is highly recommended you seek the assistance of a lawyer whose focus is on personal injury, wrongful death and Workers’ Compensation law.
Statute of Limitations: In Georgia you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for injuries, and four years from the date of the accident to file a claim for property damage.
Limits on Damages: Despite heavy lobbying by the insurance companies in Georgia, at this time there are no caps on damages such as hospital expenses, pain and suffering, loss of wages, continuing care, rental car compensation, loss of future income, wrongful death and loss of companionship or consortium. So, for instance, if a victim of a Georgia car accident became a quadriplegic, their potential compensation for future care cannot be capped. There is a $250,000 limit, however, on punitive damages that may award a victim additional compensation as a means to “punish” the defendant for gross negligence. For example, if a reckless driver struck and killed a father, his fiduciary “punishment” in addition to his other damages can be no more than $250.000. While damages caps generally apply to punitive damages, there are several important exceptions, including cases involving products liability, situations in which there is a specific intent to cause harm, and cases in which the Defendant was impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Comparative Fault: Comparative fault can limit the amount an injured party can recover if it can be proven the plaintiff was at least partially at fault for the accident. For example, if driver #1 was speeding, but driver #2 pulled out in front of them, both would be partially at fault. It would be the job of the investigators, mediators, insurance companies and possibly courts to determine percentages of what is referred to as “modified comparative negligence.” So, if it were determined that driver #1 was speeding to the extent that driver #2 would be unable to safely pull out into the roadway, it could be determined that driver #1 was more than 50% at fault. If driver #1 was determined to be 80% at fault, then driver #2 would recover 80% compensation instead of 100%.
Do I Need a Lawyer?: Unless you have not sustained any injuries at all, it is always best to consult with a personal injury lawyer licensed in your state. At the Law Office of Casey W. Stevens, case evaluations are done over the phone, and consultations are free. If we don’t feel we can get more compensation for you than you can on your own, we won’t take your case. In fact, we’ll offer you free advice on how to proceed with your own complaint. Visit us at one of our six metro Atlanta office locations, or if you are unable to make the trip, we’ll be happy to come to you.