What are the things YOU must prove in your personal injury case?
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I’m Gary Martin Hays.
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Gary: My wife and I were hurt in a car accident about a month ago. We were not at fault. I am ok but my wife is not. The other driver slammed into the passenger side door where she was riding. She is still treating with the doctor. We are already getting a lot of medical bills in the mail. If we hire a lawyer, what do we have to prove to be able to recover from the driver’s insurance company? -Jeff in Decatur
Jeff – thanks for the question though I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s injuries and the wreck.
There are several things we have to prove in these personal injury claims:
* Someone was negligent in causing the wreck (besides our client);
* We have to prove the damages our client sustained in the wreck.
This may sound somewhat complicated so let me break down each of these elements for you:
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We have to prove that someone (besides yourself) was at fault for causing the wreck.
The injured party has the burden of proof in showing that the Defendant driver was negligent in causing the wreck.
When the defendant rear-ends your car because they did not maintain a safe following distance or they failed to keep a proper lookout of the road ahead, they were negligent.
When the defendant rear-ends your car because he did not get his brakes repaired, even though he knew they were not working properly, he is negligent.
Other examples could include:
Driver distractions due to using a cell phone or adjusting the radio
Speeding or traveling too fast for conditions
Once we prove the other driver was negligent, then we must show that this negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries.
Here is an example:
Damages could include compensation for:
Medical bills, including:
-medical doctors and specialists
This is easy to prove as all of these health care providers/suppliers will issue an itemized statement for the services they provide to our clients.
This is clearly money that is coming out of your pocket that you would not have lost if the car wreck never happened.
Keep track of your round trip mileage to these appointments and save those parking receipts!
FUTURE medical expenses
Doctors can sometimes tell us to a reasonable degree of medical certainty what they anticipate you will incur should you eventually need a surgery or have to undergo some additional tests.
The key component to making a claim for these future medical expenses is to get a doctor’s narrative addressing the medical needs, why they are necessary, how they were caused by the wreck, and the costs of the procedure(s).
FUTURE lost wages:
The standard for proving future lost wages is simple, yet can sometimes be a difficult hurdle to overcome.
The way a jury measures future lost income is for them to determine what the plaintiff would otherwise have earned in his job or profession but for the injury.
The purpose of punitive damages is to punish, penalize, or deter the Defendant from repeating the conduct.
For example, punitive damages can be sought in wrecks where:
– The Defendant causes a wreck and attempts to flee or does flee the scene of the collision.
– The Defendant was driving their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
There is a legal presumption under Georgia law that a person is driving under the influence if their blood alcohol level is above .08.
General damages are designed to compensate an injured victim for losses such as pain and suffering, emotional suffering, hardship, or inconvenience.
General damages are hard to quantify for everyone and are highly subjective, so the law instructs the judge or jury to assign these damages on an individual basis.
The amount of the damage for pain and suffering is based upon the enlightened conscience of fair and impartial jurors that apply the facts and law to that specific claim.
There is an old saying that “[T]he easiest pain to bear is someone else’s.”
There is a lot of truth to that statement.
It is a challenge to get a jury to understand the degree of pain and suffering someone experiences because of a wreck – especially when the injuries are not visible.
This is clearly one of those areas where an experienced personal injury attorney can help argue the specifics of your case to the insurance adjuster.
You have absolutely nothing to lose by calling a lawyer, but think of all you can lose if you don’t!
Just pick up the phone right now and give us a call at (770) 934-8000.
Our intake specialists are standing by right now to speak with you.
The consultation is FREE and completely confidential.
And I encourage you – if you don’t call us, please call someone to help you with your claim.
You owe it to yourself – to your family – to get the help you need.
So give us a call right now. (770) 934-8000.
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