Johns Creek is one of the most affluent areas in Georgia, and residents regularly commute to their jobs in Gwinnett, Atlanta and beyond. There are quite a few roads that get congested during rush hours, and car wrecks aren’t an uncommon sight in Johns Creek. From rear-end collisions to T-bone accidents, getting in a car wreck can have lasting, devastating consequences.
After a car accident, you may be unable to work, and you may have an ever-growing pile of medical bills. While your health insurance may cover some of the cost, you might still be responsible for bills that you simply can’t afford to pay. The good news is, a Johns Creek car accident lawyer may be able to help you get the full compensation you deserve.
To get compensation, however, you and your lawyer will need to prove that the other driver was negligent. An experienced car accident attorney in Johns Creek can help you determine if the other driver was negligent and at fault, and what kind of compensation you may be entitled to.
Proving Negligence After a Car Accident
Legally speaking, negligence is defined as someone behaves in a way that a “reasonably prudent” wouldn’t, and therefore causes an injury. This may include actions or failure to act. Generally speaking, there are four elements of negligence:
1. Duty of Care
Every driver has a duty of care to their fellow drivers. This duty includes driving safely, following the rules of the road, following a regular maintenance schedule, and more. Essentially, drivers must operate their vehicles in a way that minimizes the risk of harm to other drivers, pedestrians and others using the road.
Car and car part manufacturers also have a duty of care to their customers. They must manufacture vehicles and parts that will operate safely under normal road conditions.
2. Breach of Duty
If that duty of care is not followed, it’s considered a breach of duty. However, a breach of duty can become more nuanced in some situations. For instance, a driver who suddenly swerves to avoid a tree that falls right in front of them may not be considered negligent, since any other reasonably prudent driver would probably do the same thing. However, if a driver causes a wreck because they were texting, they would most likely be found negligent.
Car manufacturers can also breach their duty of care if they fail to manufacture a vehicle that is safe to drive, and that defective vehicle causes an accident. However, if the car fails because of an unseeable event, such as being struck by lightning, the manufacturer would likely not be held liable.
3. Breach of Duty Causing Injury
In order to successfully show that another driver involved in your car wreck was negligent, you must prove that their breach of duty caused your injury. For example, if there is a wreck across the street from you, and you weren’t involved at all, you couldn’t hold those drivers negligent in a lawsuit.
In another example, let’s say you’re driving down S.R. 120, and there’s a wreck off to the shoulder. If you get distracted looking at the wreck and cause an accident of your own, you wouldn’t be able to hold the drivers in the original wreck liable, since their negligence didn’t cause your own accident.
4. Real Damages Sustained
Finally, you must be able to prove that the other driver’s actions caused real monetary damages. This is generally the easiest element to prove. If your car accident resulted in a trip to the hospital or car repairs, those bills can be shown to prove that real damages were sustained.
Types of Compensation Awarded After a Car Accident
Once negligence is established, you and your Johns Creek car accident lawyer will discuss what kind of compensation, or damages, you may be awarded. The most common types of compensation are economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages are any that you can put an objective dollar value to. These may include:
- Property damage
- Hospital bills, past and future
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost earning capacity
And more. Because these are generally easy damages to prove, there likely won’t be too much argument over the dollar value assigned to them.
On the other hand, noneconomic damages are much more subjective. Your lawyer may have to fight in or out of court to get the full noneconomic compensation you deserve. These damages may include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Loss of consortium
- Worsening of prior injuries
And more. Both economic and noneconomic damages are uncapped in Georgia, meaning there is no upper limit to how much you can be awarded.
In rare instances, punitive damages may also be awarded. These types of damages are designed to punish the offending party. For instance, if your car accident was caused by failing brakes on your new car, and the manufacturer has a history of faulty parts, the court may punish the manufacturer to set an example for the public.
Punitive damages are capped at $250,000 in Georgia.
Speak with a Car Accident Attorney in Johns Creek Today
Establishing negligence and identifying the types of damages you may be awarded can seem like a rather simple task. However, the actual process of doing so can be much more complex. As such, it’s important to speak with a Johns Creek car accident lawyer after a collision.
During your free consultation, your attorney will evaluate all of the evidence of your case, as well as any other factors like a settlement offer from your insurance company, to decide whether or not they can get you more compensation. Because the initial consultation is free, there is absolutely no risk when you speak to a car accident attorney in Johns Creek.