If you've been injured and think you may have a claim for compensation for your losses, contacting a personal injury attorney is a good early step. Technically, you can file a claim with an insurance company without legal representation. However, an experienced personal injury attorney has the skills to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Personal injury law is complex and varies from state to state. If you think you have a claim, first familiarize yourself with some of the Georgia statutes that affect your personal injury claim. Your attorney can further explain these laws and how they affect your case.
Statute of Limitations
Georgia law places a maximum time that injured parties have to initiate legal proceedings in civil court following an injury. The clock begins ticking on the date of your injury, and you have a maximum of two years from that date to file a lawsuit.
That means if you were injured on June 1, 2016, you have until June 1, 2018, to file a personal injury claim.
The court routinely dismisses cases filed outside of the statute of limitations. That's why it's crucial to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following a serious injury where another party is at fault.
Georgia adheres to modified comparative negligence laws, which play a significant role in the outcome your personal injury claim.
As a comparative-negligence state, Georgia law takes into account the injured party's potential negligence in their injury by assigning a percentage of fault.
Georgia uses the 50-percent rule, which means you are eligible to pursue a claim even if you are found partially at fault, as long your level of negligence doesn't equal or exceed that of the other party.
For example, say you’re hit by a car that’s making an unprotected left turn and you were speeding at the time. Since you were speeding, you contributed to the accident and are partially at fault. Yet you can still file a personal injury claim if the court finds you to be 49 percent at fault or less.
Types of Damages
The law gives you the right to seek certain types of damages when you're injured due to the negligence of another party. You may be entitled to compensation for full coverage of the medical bills. This compensation includes co-pays and means you won't be stuck with out-of-pocket expenses for receiving the appropriate medical treatment for your injuries.
The law also gives you the right to seek compensation for your doctor visits, medications, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and all other treatment related to your injury.
You may also be entitled to compensation for lost wages if your injuries force you to miss work or if you're unable to return to work in the same capacity while recovering. Additionally, the state of Georgia gives you the right to seek intangible losses, such as any emotional and physical pain related to the accident. For instance, you could be compensated for any anxiety, stress, or emotional anguish your injuries cause.
Georgia comparative negligence laws affect how much your claim is worth. These laws reduce the amount of monetary compensation you can recover based on your level of fault.
Your percentage of negligence proportionally reduces your final settlement amount. For example, if you're found to be 20 percent at fault, your recovery amount is reduced by 20 percent. So if your damages are $25,000, you'll receive $20,000.
A. B. Olmos & Associates, P.C., specializes in personal injury and possess the skills to help you file a successful personal injury claim. Contact our firm to discuss your case.