Car accidents can cause obvious physical injuries and property damage, but what about serious problems that are not as tangible? Traumatic experiences like these can lead to pain and suffering, which is also emotional distress. The chances of being able to sue in these cases depend on the strength of the evidence, the seriousness of the distress, and state laws.
Georgia has a law that applies to these kinds of claims; this is called the Impact Rule. Most states do not have this in place, but Georgia is one of the exceptions. How does this work? Plaintiffs cannot be awarded emotional damages unless there are corresponding physical injuries. There are three requirements for claiming emotional distress:
The impact rule does not apply in every personal injury case. This strict rule makes it more difficult for Georgia personal injury plaintiffs to get compensation for their emotional injuries. For this reason, it is critical to have a car accident lawyer.
People react to trauma in many different ways, but the severity of the event can make the symptoms much worse. Here are some common symptoms of emotional distress from a car accident:
These symptoms can make it nearly impossible to return to work. Car accident survivors who are suffering from these symptoms can seek treatment from licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. These treatments can work, but unlike many physical injuries, it can take months or even years to heal from emotional trauma. If you are being treated for emotional distress, keep records of your diagnosis, treatment plan, appointment times, and receipts, as all of this could be used as evidence.
The accident should be reported to your insurance provider. Do not accept an initial settlement from either insurance agency because the true extent of your physical and emotional damages could be more serious and long-term than you realize.
There is no specific amount for emotional distress damages. These are figured in with compensation for economic losses, like medical bills and lost time from work, and non-economic losses, like physical pain and suffering.
The amount of damages will be based on the nature of the crash and the seriousness of the injuries. Eyewitness testimony, expert testimony, photos of the accident scene, and copies of medical records can help strengthen your case.
Georgia’s fault system for automobile crashes means that the responsible party likely pays for the injured party’s losses, but this is not always a smooth process. The responsible person’s auto insurance policy might have compensation limits, so the money offered might not be enough to fully cover the damages. Other times, drivers are uninsured and have no coverage at all.
The majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. When an insurance company and claimant cannot agree on the benefits paid out, a car accident lawyer can step in and negotiate an acceptable settlement. About one to two percent of these cases end up in court.
For a case to go to court, your lawyer must be confident that another party’s negligence directly caused your injuries. It is vital to be completely transparent with your attorney because Georgia also follows the comparative negligence rule. If a court finds that a claimant is partially responsible for the accident, the compensation will be reduced. If the plaintiff’s percentage of fault is higher than 50 percent, they will not be eligible for compensation.
If you have emotional injuries from a car accident, you should not ignore them. Treatment is essential for healing, and you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more, contact our Atlanta car accident attorneys at Childers & McCain, LLC. Complete our online form or call us at 478-254-2007 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Macon, Georgia, we serve clients in Savannah, Albany, and Atlanta.
Facing the aftermath of a serious accident can be overwhelming. Before you speak with the insurance companies, make sure you schedule a free consultation with the Macon personal injury lawyers at Childers & McCain. We can protect your rights while anticipating the insurance company’s tactics to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve. You don’t have to navigate this tough road alone – let our team of professionals help you move forward.