Understanding Compensation Options for Auto Accident Victims

After an auto accident, you might be facing serious or minor injuries that have impacted your life significantly. Injuries can make everyday tasks, like chores or work, incredibly difficult. 

In addition to the physical struggles of recovering from car accident injuries, there are many financial burdens that can make rebuilding very stressful and challenging. 

In the wake of a car accident, you might be wondering: How can I pay for my medical bills? Can I afford to repair or replace my car? How will I make up for the days I wasn’t able to work? Who will care for my dependents while I am recovering? By knowing what your rights are as a car accident victim, these and many more questions can be answered. 

What will my insurance pay for?

Your insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company stating that if you continue to pay your insurance bills regularly, the company will pay for accident damages within your policy limits. Each policy has different limitations that will determine how much your insurance will pay for damages, repairs, and replacements. 

Different kinds of insurance coverages

Collision Insurance

Collision insurance helps cover damage that has been done to your vehicle. This is an optional add-on property damage coverage that pays for repairs or replacements if your vehicle is damaged in a collision with another vehicle or object (like hitting a tree or road sign). Collision Insurance will not cover damage to your car that is not related to driving.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance helps to pay for injuries and damage done to another vehicle from a car accident you are liable for. If you do not have this kind of insurance, you will likely have to pay out of pocket for the medical bills and car repairs/replacements of the other person. 

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive insurance helps cover non-collision-related damage done to your car. If inclement weather, theft, or fire leave your car in need of repair or replacement, comprehensive insurance will pay for these kinds of damages.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage helps pay for damages or injuries resulting from a collision with a motorist without insurance or without enough insurance coverage to pay for your damages. This kind of coverage is optional but very helpful in the state of Georgia. You can also learn more about navigating an accident with an uninsured driver here.

Damages that be compensated in Georgia

After an accident, you can seek compensation from the negligent party. In Georgia, auto accident victims can seek compensation for general, punitive, and special damages.

General Damages

General damages refer to non-economic damages. This law helps to make provisions for damages that can not be quantified by receipts or invoices. For example, if you are in a serious car accident that renders your left arm permanently injured, your experience would fall under general damages. The permanent disability of your left arm cannot be quantified like the repairs to a vehicle can be. If your left arm is disabled, you might not be able to perform your job anymore, or you might require the help of tools and gadgets in order to complete everyday tasks. The financial consequences of the injury to your left arm are unknown, ongoing, and must be calculated in some way by the court. 

Special Damages

Special Damages are the opposite of general damages because they are able to be quantified monetarily. Very serious, high-impact accidents can result in very high medical and auto bills. Special damages pay for expenses that may have already occurred or are expected to be ongoing throughout the recovery process. 

These kinds of expenses may include:

  • Prescription medication costs
  • Vehicle Replacement 
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation appointments
  • Loss of wages and future salary

Punitive Damages

Punitive Damages punish the at-fault party. If a driver is discovered to have acted out of negligence or malice they will be responsible for paying punitive damages to the car accident victim. For example, if a driver knowingly runs a red light and hits another car, who is driving safely and following the rules, the first driver might be charged punitive damages as a punishment from the court. 

Do I need to hire a lawyer in order to be compensated?

Insurance claims and damage compensations can be very complicated and confusing. There are many different ways to handle the aftermath of an accident, a few of which we have covered above. If you have been in an accident and want a professional to work to bring you the maximum compensation, you will need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. A car accident lawyer who understands the law and insurance companies will be an invaluable advocate throughout your recovery process. If you are seeking the help of an attorney after an auto accident, call (678) 819-5200 for a free consultation today.