What are the 3 things YOU must prove in your personal injury claim?
I’m Gary Martin Hays.
Three Things You Have to Prove in a P.I. Claim in Georgia
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Jeff in Decatur
Gary: My wife and I were hurt in a car accident about a month ago. The other driver slammed into the passenger side door where she was riding. We are already getting a lot of medical bills in the mail.
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:
This may sound somewhat complicated so let me break down each of these 3 elements for you:
Negligence: this essentially means who is at fault.
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.
For example: 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 include:
Speeding or traveling too fast for conditions
Driving under the influence of alcohol or some illegal drug
Failure to yield while turning left
Here is an example:
You are at a complete stop at a red light.
The Defendant is not paying attention to the road ahead and crashes into the rear of your car. Your head hits the steering wheel causing a huge cut on your chin and you chip a couple of your teeth.
Here is another example:
You have a green light allowing you to proceed straight through the intersection.
The Defendant is traveling in the opposite direction.
He does not see you and he attempts to turn left in front of your car and crashes into your vehicle. You sustain a broken arm and leg in the crash.
His failure to yield while turning left is the proximate cause of the collision and your injuries.
When we prove that the Defendant was negligent and his negligence was the proximate cause of the wreck, we must now prove what damages were inflicted upon you.
Damages could include compensation for:
Medical bills, including:
-emergency room physician
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.
Typically, if someone misses a week of work due to a car wreck, it can be proven with a couple of check stubs showing the time missed from work, a doctor’s disability slip, and a wage verification form signed by the employer.
It can be very problematic, however, if someone misses time from work but is paid “under the table” and there is no record on the books. It gets even messier when there is no mention of this work on the tax returns.
This is clearly money that is coming out of your pocket that you would not have lost if the car wreck never happened.
You should be compensated for this loss.
Gas is expensive.
No one has a crystal ball to tell you everything the future is going to hold for you medically. However, 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.
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 future lost earnings cannot be speculative and you must have documentation to substantiate your claims.
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 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.
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.
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.
Now – if you have questions about a potential claim, please give us a call.
You have absolutely nothing to lose by calling a lawyer, but think of all you can lose if you don’t!
The consultation is FREE and completely confidential.
You can also visit our website – www.GaryMartinHays.com.
It is loaded with information about personal injury claims and you can learn a lot more about me and my law firm.
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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