When clients meet with their Columbus, GA car wreck lawyer for the first time, they almost all have the same question: How much is my case worth? And, unfortunately, this can be one of the hardest questions to answer. If any personal injury attorney tells you exactly how much your case is worth, you might want to find a new lawyer.
It is virtually impossible for any lawyer to tell you how much your case is worth. After they’ve reviewed your case and talk to the defendant’s attorney, they may have an idea of what your case could be worth. But that’s not a guarantee that you’ll get a certain amount of money. It all comes down to how strong your case is and what damages your attorney can prove.
When it comes to determining your damages, your Columbus, GA car wreck lawyer has to look at a few things. First, were you actually injured. The extent and severity of your injuries will dictate how much money you may be entitled to. Second, what kind of evidence do you have to prove that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s actions? It’s one thing to be hurt. It’s another thing all together to prove that the other party caused your injuries. Finally, what kind of damages can they demand.
There Are Two Types of Damages
One reason a lawyer can’t tell you what your case is worth in your first meeting is because they don’t know what types of damages you can demand. There are two main types of damages: compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages are intended to compensate you for your losses. So, if you suffered medical bills because of the accident, then the defendant should compensate you for these bills. The same is true for things like property damage. You should be compensated for any out of pocket money you spent to fix your car.
Punitive damages are different. They aren’t really intended to compensate you. They’re intended to punish the defendant for their behavior. These damages are very hard to prove, especially in negligence cases. If you can’t prove that the defendant acted recklessly or intentionally, it’ll be near impossible to prove punitive damages.
How Do You Know if You’re Entitled to Punitive Damages in Georgia?
It is very hard to qualify for punitive damages in any personal injury case. The goal of a personal injury lawsuit is to make you – the plaintiff – whole. It’s not to make you rich. It’s not like what you see on television and in the movies. A jury can’t just award you millions of dollars. It doesn’t matter how much they dislike the defendant. Even if they are 100% responsible for your injuries, it’s not the way it works.
In order to be entitled to punitive damages in Georgia, you have to demonstrate the following:
- There were aggravating circumstances
- The defendant acted in one of the following ways
- Willful misconduct
Unfortunately, in Georgia, most personal injury and wrongful death plaintiffs can only receive up to $250,000 in punitive damages, if at all. In product liability cases, there is no cap on the amount of punitive damages. However, 75% of these damages go to the State of Georgia. The plaintiff only gets 25%. And, for DUI accident cases or cases where the defendant intentionally wanted to harm the plaintiff, there is no cap on punitive damages. And, in cases like this, the plaintiff gets it all – there is no mandatory amount that goes to the state.
Contact an Experienced Columbus, GA Car Wreck Attorney
If you or your loved one are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should call a skilled car accident lawyer in Georgia. You don’t want to wait too long to do this. Not only do you have to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations in Georgia expires, you also want to give your lawyer time to prepare your case.
You should call our office today and schedule your free initial consultation. You can meet with an experienced Columbus, GA car wreck lawyer who can review your case and answer any questions you might have. They can also give you an idea of whether or not you’ll be entitled to punitive damages.
The defendant is going to have a lawyer working for them and you should too. Come in and meet with one of our lawyers. They have decades of combined experience handling cases just like yours. And remember – you don’t pay a dime until you settle or win your case.