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Assessing Damages in Atlanta Personal Injury Cases


Damages are perhaps the most important issue to injury victims. Damages may be awarded for many different types of injuries in Atlanta personal injury lawsuits, including physical injuries, emotional suffering, and financial losses suffered as a result of an accident. There are two basic types of damages recognized under Georgia law: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Each is discussed briefly below.

Compensatory and Punitive Damages

Compensatory damages are, as their name suggests, awarded to compensate the victim for injuries suffered as a result of the defendant's negligence. Compensatory damages may consist of actual damages and general damages. Actual damages, such as the medical bills you have incurred as a result of your injury, are easily calculated by totaling all of your medical bills since you sustained the injury. General damages, which may include emotional distress and a diminished capacity to participate in once-loved activities because of the injury, are often more difficult to calculate in dollars. The following table lists some of the different types of actual and general damages that may be claimed by an Atlanta injury victim:

Actual Damages General Damages

Medical and hospital bills

Future medical bills

Lost wages

Lost future earnings

Cost of household nursing care required during recovery

Physical pain endured

Cost of wheelchair, crutches, etc.

Emotional distress

Cost of rental car

Loss of consortium (companionship and emotional support of a loved one in a wrongful death case)

Cost of repairing or replacing damaged property

Physical disfigurement or permanent injury

Punitive damages are imposed as a means of punishing the defendant for conduct that is so egregious that a monetary penalty is warranted in order to punish the defendant for his or her wrongful conduct and to deter the defendant from committing the same conduct in the future. Georgia Code § 51-12-5.1 allows for punitive damage awards in cases in which the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or showed an indifference to the consequences of his or her actions. In Georgia, punitive damages may only be awarded if they are asked for in the complaint filed by the plaintiff's attorney. In addition, Georgia places a cap of $250,000 on punitive damage awards, except in cases involving defective products, in which there is no limit on the award amount. Contact the Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Leigh R. Bodner, P.C. to discuss which types of damages may be applicable in your case.

Factors Affecting Damage Awards

Certain factors have an impact on the award of damages in personal injury cases. The following are just some of the factors that may affect the damage award in your case:

  • Nature and severity of plaintiff's injuries
  • Comparative negligence on the part of the plaintiff in causing his or her own injuries
  • Credibility of both the defendant and the plaintiff
  • Age of plaintiff at the time of injury
  • Credibility of witnesses

Mr. Bodner is an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and help calculate damages for your losses. Call Leigh R. Bodner, P.C. today at 404-262-3343 for a free initial consultation regarding your personal injury case.

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If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, contact an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer at (404) 262-3343 for a free consultation regarding your case. Mr. Bodner handles all types of auto accident cases in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Austelle, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Decatur, Doraville, Duluth, Dunwoody, East Point, Hapeville, Marietta, Milton, Norcross, Riverdale, Rockdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stockbridge, and throughout Gwinett County, Dekalb County, Cobb County, Clayton County, and Fulton County. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers will not charge a fee unless you receive a favorable verdict or settlement in your case.