What Damages Can You Recover in a Car Accident Case?

Car accidents can result in vehicle damage, serious to catastrophic injury, and, in severe cases, death. The costs for repairs, medical expenses, funeral arrangements, and other matters arising from the accident can add up. In an at-fault state like Georgia, the person who caused the collision may be responsible for paying the injured party monetary damages to cover the expenses and losses the individual sustained.

Three types of damages may be awarded: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are for objectively verifiable costs. In contrast, non-economic are for subjective losses. Punitive damages serve to punish the wrongdoer and are awarded only in certain circumstances. The injured party may file an insurance claim or lawsuit to pursue compensation.

If you need help with your car accident case, contact our Marietta team at Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C. by calling (770) 629-0154 today.

What Are Examples of Damages?

“Damages” refers to expenses and losses arising from an accident. An injured individual may file a claim or lawsuit to receive compensation from the at-fault party.

There are three types of damages they may be entitled to receive:

Economic Damages

These are calculable expenses and losses. Typically, they have an actual dollar amount that can be verified by paperwork, receipts, bills, and other documents.

Examples of economic damages include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical bills: The injured party may be compensated for doctor visits, surgery, hospital stays, prescription medications, assistive devices, and other health care-related costs.
  • Property damage: The injured party may be able to get financial recovery for the costs to repair or replace their vehicle or its parts.
  • Lost wages: The injured party may be required to take time off work for medical treatment, causing them to lose out on some income.
  • Lost earning capacity: The individual’s injury may prevent them from returning to their pre-accident job, and they may be able to accept only lower-paying work.

Non-Economic Damages

These losses are subjective. They do not have an exact figure attached to them. Instead, they are based on the injured party’s own report of the effects on their life.

Below are a few examples of non-economic damages:

  • Pain and suffering: This term refers to the pain associated with the individual’s physical injury.
  • Emotional distress: The injured party might suffer psychological impacts from the accident.
  • Loss of consortium: In matters resulting in death, surviving family members may seek compensation for lost relationships, companionship, or support.

Punitive Damages

These damages do not compensate the injured party for a loss or expense they experienced. Rather, they serve as punishment to the wrongdoer.

Punitive damages are awarded only in some instances – generally when the at-fault party acted with malice or willfully engaged in the misconduct.

How Much Can You Get from the At-Fault Party

The amount of compensation that can be awarded in a car accident case depends on the situation. Various factors will affect the settlement or award, such as the severity of the injury and the impacts on the injured party’s life.

Additionally, Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law may affect financial recovery. Under this doctrine, a person may only be awarded compensation if they are less than 50% responsible for the accident. Then, the amount they can get is decreased by their portion of fault. For instance, suppose a person is entitled to $20,000 in compensation, but a jury finds that they are 20% to blame. They won’t get the entire $20,000. They’ll receive $16,000, a $4,000 (or 20%) reduction.

The modified comparative negligence law applies when a person pursues damages through a lawsuit. However, insurance companies might refer to the doctrine when negotiating settlements to justify the amount they are willing to pay.

Speak with a Lawyer About Your Case

Seeking damages after an accident allows you to get the money you need to cover your expenses and losses. It’s important to ensure that the amount is fair to prevent you from being stuck with financial burdens you shouldn’t be. A personal injury attorney can help you understand the types of damages you can seek. They can also evaluate your case, develop a legal strategy, and negotiate with insurance companies or present arguments in court.

At Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C., our Marietta team works tirelessly to protect our clients’ rights and pursue just outcomes. Schedule a consultation with us by calling (770) 629-0154 or submitting an online contact form today.