Average Settlement for Car Accident in Georgia
January 23, 2023
If you’ve been an injury victim in a car accident, at no fault of your own, you have the right to seek damages in the state of Georgia. These damages allow you to recover compensation for medical costs due to serious injuries, physical therapy, lost wages, property damage, and the pain and suffering you’ve experienced.
Personal injury lawyers are often asked, “How much is my car accident claim worth?” To help you better understand what your bodily injury claim may be worth and how much you can expect, a car accident attorney Gwinnett County at The Pendergrass Law Firm can break down the factors that will determine your car accident settlement in a free consultation right away.
Read on for more useful information on how to determine the average settlement for your Georgia injury case. Also, personal injury law professionals provide other useful information about recovering maximum compensation in your car accident claim.
Georgia Car Accident Damages
Personal injury damages in Georgia car accidents get classified into three categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, as well as punitive and exemplary damages.
Damages are considered economic when they can be independently and objectively verified using:
- Other monetary statements
Economic damages typically include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost benefits
- Property damage statements
The damages you’re entitled to will greatly depend on your unique situation. The average cost for your medical care, for example, depends on the nature and extent of your catastrophic injuries. Car accident claims involving seriously debilitating injuries can result in settlements over $1 million, whereas a mild injury case could have a payout of less than $10,000.
Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses. Non-economic damages can include financial recuperation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Depression and trauma
Since economic losses don’t come with financial statements, courts have to try their best to quantify how much compensation a victim deserves when experiencing a non-economic loss. An experienced Georgian personal injury law firm can help you quantify your non-economic losses in settlement negotiations and trials.
Punitive and Exemplary Damages
In addition to ordering a motor vehicle accident defendant to pay economic and non-economic damages, courts can also order the defendant to pay punitive damages, which are also commonly referred to as “exemplary damages.”
Punitive damages are awarded when the court finds that the defendant has engaged in grossly reckless conduct and displayed a disregard for the lives of others. Punitive damages punish defendants for negligent and malicious behavior. Punitive damages may be awarded in drunk driving and hit-and-run cases.
Georgia Damage Caps
Many states impose limits on the amount of compensation that auto accident victims may receive in personal injury settlements. There are some limits on recovery in Georgia, but they aren’t technically damage caps. The most restrictive of the caps has been abolished by the state’s Supreme Court.
There is a limitation of $250,000 in punitive damages that can be awarded, and 75% of this award will be paid into the state treasury system. Outside of that, there are no other enforceable damage caps according to Georgia laws.
Determining the Value of a Car Accident Claim
There are several factors that determine how much your personal injury claim is worth. This often includes, but is not limited to:
The Severity of Your Injuries
The primary factor that determines how much you can recover in a car accident settlement is the extent and severity of your injuries. A severe back injury is more likely to result in a larger settlement than a minor injury like a broken finger. That’s because small injuries are expected to heal and have minimal long-term impacts.
Common car accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Whiplash and neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Torn cartilage or serious bruising
- Broken bones
An experienced car accident lawyer can analyze your medical reports and work with medical professionals to determine the severity of your injuries. Doing so can establish a baseline for the value of your claim. If you have questions, speak with The Pendergrass Law Firm about a free consultation.
If a severely injured accident victim suffers injuries that can cause chronic pain or long-term disability, the settlement offer can be significantly higher than an injury with a likelihood of complete recovery. If the injuries you’ve sustained are long-lasting, consult with a personal injury law attorney.
If your automobile accident leads to injuries that require intensive medical treatment or long-term medical care, your medical bills are likely to be significant. This may also mean that you are less likely to return to work, resulting in a loss of income. Larger economic costs can contribute to a higher settlement.
Car accident injuries can be difficult to prove when the damage is not visible on an x-ray or CT scan. If the insurance adjuster implies that your injuries aren’t serious, then you may need expert testimony to establish legitimacy in your claim.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer that provides professional medical professional testimony will improve the likelihood of reaching a fair settlement.
One of the primary factors that determine how much a Georgia car accident settlement is worth is how much insurance is available in the policy. Georgia requires drivers to carry a liability insurance policy that will cover $25,000 in damages. Many drivers carry higher coverage and commercial vehicles typically carry large insurance policies.
The value of your settlement will be limited to the amount of insurance coverage the negligent driver possesses. If your medical bills and other economic costs are higher, a claim can be filed using your own uninsured or under-insured motorist policy.
Comparative Negligence and Shared Fault
If you are partially to blame for your car accident, you may still recover compensation. However, it will be reduced because Georgia is a comparative negligence state. This means personal injury case juries will determine how much fault both parties had in the accident. Your total damages will be reduced by the percentage you’re found at fault.
Georgia Car Accident Settlements
Insurance companies want to protect their bottom line. This means that you might get an initial offer that is less than what you owe. Many insurers use programs to determine your settlement without considering your personal situation. The Pendergrass Law Firm can help ensure you get all the financial awards you’re entitled to.
Average Car Accident Settlement Amounts
The Insurance Information Institute reports the average claim for bodily injury after a collision was $20,235 in 2020. They also found the average property damage claim was $4,711. Your medical expenses and other factors will determine the amount you will receive for your injuries.
A minor collision resulting in minimal property damage and minor injuries, like soft tissue injuries or whiplash, will typically receive a settlement low as $2,500 up to $25,000. For car accidents resulting in significant injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal damage, or long-lasting injuries, the medical expenses and pain and suffering damages will be higher.
Settlements for severe injuries often begin at $50,000 and may range up to $200,000 or more. Wrongful death in Georgia personal injury cases often warrants the highest settlement offer. Loved ones can receive up to $1 million or more, depending on the circumstances of their case. Speak with a Car Accident Attorney in Gwinnett County today about collision settlements in Georgia.
How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim in Georgia?
Georgia insurance companies are generally required to settle claims within 30 days of receiving notice of the claim. However, if an insurance company needs more time to investigate the claim or determine the number of damages, it may request an extension from the policyholder.
If an extension is granted, the insurance company must provide written notice to the policyholder within 30 days of receiving the claim. Insurance companies are not required to settle claim disputes with the policyholder.
When a policyholder disagrees with the insurance company’s decision though, they have the right to file an appeal. Generally, most insurance companies attempt to resolve claims in a timely and efficient manner.
Georgia Accident Claim Statute of Limitations
Georgia law has a statute of limitations of two years from the date of an accident to file an automobile accident claim. Wrongful death loved ones of the victim of a car accident have two years from the date of death in a fatal car crash to file a claim.
An insurance company can delay settlement negotiations in order to run the clock out on the statute of limitations. Working with an injury lawyer immediately after your accident can prevent you from missing the window of opportunity to file your personal injury claim.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With an Experienced Georgia Car Accident Attorney
There are several reasons why the sooner you contact a Georgia law firm, the better. You are probably accruing medical bills and if you do not pay these medical bills, you can start to accrue interest. If creditors start calling you because of missed payments, your credit will be negatively affected. Financial stress can compound your issues and make things much worse.
You may be curious if you really need a personal injury lawyer in Gwinnett County to handle your personal injury case. However, it is important to provide a sufficient amount of information to the judge and jury handling your claim. Your GA civil court judge will require strong evidence that demonstrates how you were not acting negligently when the accident happened.
Consult with the experienced legal professionals at The Pendergrass Law Firm today. Not only can we advocate on your behalf in settlement negotiations, but we have experience taking claims to court whenever necessary to recover maximum compensation for our clients.