Understanding Personal Injury Claims
Also known as “tort law,” personal injury is a field of law that helps victims recover after torts, or acts or omissions that give rise to injury or harm to another. Most torts are the result of negligence, so proving negligence is the key to winning any personal injury lawsuit.
To prove negligence, you must show:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached this duty
- The plaintiff was injured
- The plaintiff’s injury is a result of the defendant’s breach
If you’re unfamiliar with the words, “plaintiff” and “defendant,” you’ll be pleased to know the definitions are easy to understand. The plaintiff is the person who files the lawsuit – usually the injured victim – and the defendant is the person who is being sued (or the alleged wrongdoer).
When you (the plaintiff) are successful in proving negligence, the defendant becomes liable for any damages you suffered as a result. Personal injury claims use monetary damages to balance the scales of justice because they help ensure you do not have to face the consequences of someone else’s tort alone.
Successful personal injury claims end in a settlement or verdict and the awarding of damages. The term “damages” applies not only to the losses you have suffered but also to the compensation you receive to help account for those losses.
You can recover compensation to help with:
- Medical bills
- Missed wages
- Rehabilitative care
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Changes to your quality of life
- And more
In cases of wrongful death, you may also be able to recover damages for funeral and burial expenses. While no amount of money can change what happened, having the right resources can help you take the time you need to grieve and move forward. Additionally, some especially serious personal injury cases include punitive or exemplary damages, which serve to punish the wrongdoer and make an example of them so that others do not repeat their wrongdoings. We pursue maximum compensation in every case we handle.
How Long Do I Have to File?
According to Georgia Code § 9-3-33, you have two (2) years from the date of your accident or injury to file a claim. This is known as the statute of limitations, and you must adhere to it if you want to protect your right to file a lawsuit. If you try to file past the deadline, the defendant can have your lawsuit thrown out and you can lose your right to legal action entirely.
Although 2 years may seem like a lot of time, it passes quickly, which is why we encourage you to reach out as soon as possible after your accident. The sooner you contact an attorney, the stronger your case will be, as more evidence may be available immediately after an accident than after 1 or more years have passed. For example, consider a car accident – if we interview witnesses soon after the accident, they will be easier to contact and locate and their memories will be more reliable. Even if you’re unsure about filing, our attorney can help you make the decision that works best for your case – well within the statute of limitations.