Personal injury cases in Georgia encompass a broad spectrum of legal matters that arise when individuals suffer harm due to the negligence or intentional actions of others. From car accidents to medical malpractice, personal injury cases aim to compensate victims for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Not all injury cases, however, meet the elements that must be satisfied to obtain compensation. Personal injury laws can be confusing and overwhelming in this regard, so it is important to speak to an attorney whether you want to file a claim or want to defend against one.
At Shakhan and Wilkerson Law, our personal injury attorney in Georgia will help you understand the intricacies of your personal injury case or defense. We are committed to our clients and will investigate, negotiate, and – if necessary – litigate your case to ensure the best possible outcome. Throughout the process, we will keep you informed and engaged. Contact us today at (404) 999-9529 to schedule a consultation and to get smart advice on all your legal options.
Personal Injury Cases in Georgia
Personal injury cases involve a plaintiff and a defendant, at a minimum. Depending on the jurisdiction, the plaintiff might be referred to as the petitioner or claimant or another similar term. There can be more than one plaintiff and more than one defendant.
The plaintiff is the party that has been injured while the defendant is the party accused of causing the injury. The defendant can be a person or an entity, like a business, organization, or public agency.
The plaintiff can only be successful if they satisfy all the elements of their case. Elements depend on the theory they use to file their claim.
- Negligence. The most common legal theory in personal injury cases is negligence, which requires proving that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty that resulted in an injury, and caused harm as a result. There are two basic types of negligence: Comparative and contributory. Comparative negligence laws apportion damages based on each party's degree of fault. Contributory negligence, less common, may bar recovery if the plaintiff is found to have contributed to the accident.
- Strict Liability. Under strict liability, a defendant can be held responsible for injuries regardless of whether negligence occurred. This theory is most often used with defective products, and the focus is on the dangerous nature of the product.
- Vicarious Liability. Vicarious liability is a legal rule that holds a person or entity responsible for actions committed by others. Typically, it applies to those who are in control of people (e.g., employer-employee relationships) who cause harm to victims.
- Intentional Torts. Intentional torts involve cases where the defendant intentionally caused harm, so the element of negligence is neither present nor required to prove.
Burden of Proof
The plaintiff has the burden to prove their case. They must establish the defendant's liability by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not that the defendant's negligence or intentional actions caused the injuries. In some cases where punitive damages are sought, clear and convincing evidence is the burden of proof. This standard is still less strict than the burden in criminal cases to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but stricter than the civil court's preponderance of the evidence standard.
Our personal injury lawyer in Georgia will advise you on the theory to be used in your case and what proving it would entail.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases in Georgia
Personal injury cases involve a wide range of accidents and incidents. Some of the most common are listed below.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents. These cases involve injuries resulting from car, truck, motorcycle, DUI accidents, or other motor vehicle accidents. Claims can be brought against negligent drivers, manufacturers of faulty car parts, or government entities responsible for road maintenance.
- Premises Liability. Premises liability cases arise when injuries occur due to unsafe conditions on someone's property, such as slip and fall accidents, inadequate security leading to assault, or dog bites. Claims can be brought against individuals, like homeowners, property managers, or property owners.
- Product Liability. Product liability cases involve injuries caused by defective or dangerous products. Manufacturers, distributors, or sellers may be held liable for injuries resulting from design defects, manufacturing defects, or inadequate warnings.
- Medical Malpractice. Medical malpractice claims arise when healthcare professionals fail to meet the standard of care, resulting in injuries, misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medication mistakes, surgical errors, or birth injuries.
- Workplace Accidents. These cases involve injuries or illnesses sustained in the workplace due to unsafe conditions, inadequate training, or employer negligence. Many of these cases may qualify for workers' compensation, too. It is always best to speak to an attorney to ensure you file a timely, proper claim.
- Wrongful Death. Wrongful death claims arise when a person's death is caused by the negligence or intentional actions of another party. Family members may seek compensation for the loss of financial support, companionship, and funeral expenses.
- Nursing Home Negligence. These cases involve harm caused by negligence, abuse, or neglect in nursing homes, resulting in injuries to elderly residents.
- Defamation. Defamation occurs when false statements about an individual or business are communicated to others, damaging the subject's reputation. The injury in defamation cases is unlike most other personal injury claims where the injury is physical or mental – here, the harm is to one's reputation.
Most Common Types of Injuries in Personal Injury Lawsuits
Personal injury cases encompass a wide range of injuries resulting from various circumstances. Here are some of the most common types of injuries that often correlate with personal injury cases.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Minor cuts and bruises
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal organ damage
- Catastrophic injuries, like paralysis or amputations
Slip and Fall Accidents (Premises Liability)
- Head injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Dog Bites or Attacks (Premises Liability)
- Head injuries
- Minor to severe wounds
- Emotional trauma
- Chronic pain
- Cerebral palsy
- Damage to nerves or organs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Minor to severe irritation
- Head injuries
- Organ damage
Assault and Battery
- Emotional distress
- Minor strains
- Internal organ damage
- Occupational diseases
- Reputational damage
- Emotional distress
Each personal injury case is unique, and the types and severity of injuries will vary. Our personal injury lawyer at Shakhan and Wilkerson Law will help you understand your rights, assess liability, and pursue appropriate compensation based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits
The type of injury you sustain is directly related to the type of remedy you seek. In personal injury lawsuits, remedies refer to the relief or compensation awarded to the injured party as a result of their successful claim against the at-fault or liable party.
The following types of remedies can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case.
Compensatory damages are the most common form of remedy in personal injury cases. They aim to compensate the injured party for the losses they have suffered as a result of the accident or injury. Compensatory damages can be further divided into two categories:
- Economic damages, which are awarded to reimburse the plaintiff for quantifiable financial losses, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the injury; and
- Non-economic damages, which compensate the plaintiff for subjective losses that are not easily quantifiable, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (for the impact on relationships), and disfigurement or disability.
Nominal damages are a trivial sum of money awarded to the plaintiff. When these damages are awarded, compensatory damages are not. They are meant to recognize that a legal right was violated but damages were not sustained. For example, the floor of a restaurant was wet and you lost your balance, but you were not injured in any way.
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, may be awarded in cases where the defendant's conduct was particularly egregious, intentional, or grossly negligent. The purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff but rather to punish the defendant and deter similar misconduct in the future.
General Process in Georgia to File a Personal Injury Claim
Below is the general process to file a personal injury claim. Keep in mind that each jurisdiction, however, may have some variation. If you do not adhere to the rules of your jurisdiction, it will likely impact your case to your detriment. Whether you are filing a claim or responding to one, always speak to a personal injury attorney to ensure you are doing it right.
- Investigation and evidence-gathering. This initial step of the process includes investigating the facts and circumstances, reviewing medical records, interviewing witnesses, and assessing the extent of the damages.
- Negotiation and settlement. In many cases, the attorney will attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company or the responsible party's legal representation. The case can be resolved without going to court if an acceptable settlement offer is reached.
- Filing a lawsuit. If a settlement cannot be reached, the attorney may file a lawsuit by preparing and submitting the necessary legal documents to the appropriate court.
- Discovery. The discovery phase involves exchanging information, gathering evidence, taking depositions, and interrogating witnesses to build a strong case.
- Additional settlement negotiation. Even during the litigation process, settlement negotiations may continue, leading to a resolution before reaching trial.
- Trial. If the case proceeds to trial, both parties present their arguments, evidence, and witnesses before a judge or jury. The court then decides on liability and the amount of damages.
- Appeal. Either party may choose to appeal the court's decision if they believe there was a legal error or if the judgment was unjust.
Despite jurisdictional variations, your case may not follow the exact steps listed above. If a settlement occurs, you won't have a trial. Even if you have a trial, the losing party may not appeal. Each case is unique – so the process will also be somewhat unique.
Why Choose our Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia
Suffering a personal injury can be a life-altering experience, bringing physical, emotional, and financial challenges. In the aftermath, navigating the legal complexities to secure compensation may seem daunting. This is where our personal injury attorney becomes your ally, dedicated to ensuring the success of your case.
At Shakhan and Wilkerson Law, our clients choose us because we are committed and knowledgeable. Our commitment and know-how materialize in the following ways:
- Legal expertise, which enables us to assess the unique aspects of your situation and build a robust legal strategy
- Thorough investigation to build a strong foundation and to increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome
- Advocacy and negotiation skills to maximize compensation for injuries, damages, and losses
- Legal representation in court where we offer a strong voice when presenting compelling arguments, cross-examining witnesses, and navigating the legal process
- Objective guidance to help our clients make informed decisions and alleviate the stress associated with pursuing a claim
In the aftermath of a personal injury, having a skilled personal injury attorney on your side can make all the difference. From legal expertise to compassionate advocacy, our role can be pivotal in ensuring the success of your case. If you've experienced a personal injury, don't face the challenges alone — consult with our dedicated attorney.
Whether it is to file a claim or defend against allegations, our personal injury lawyer in Georgia will provide smart guidance and representation. Contact Shakhan and Wilkerson Law today by using the online form or calling us at (404) 999-9529. We will schedule a consultation to discuss your case and to get it moving forward to avoid costly delays.