There is no firm definition of a “serious injury” in a Georgia car accident. In general, we think an injury is “serious” if it requires ongoing medical treatment or will have a long-term effect on your life. Even injuries that seem minor at first can develop into serious injuries—especially if you don’t get treatment.
If you have a serious injury, you will usually have higher medical bills than someone with only a minor injury. You may be hospitalized or need surgery or long-term physical therapy. Serious injuries often cause people to miss a significant amount of time from work. The most serious injuries can mean months in the hospital, a permanent disability, and a life that will never be the same.
Are there legal consequences to having a “serious injury” in Georgia?
Georgia is a “fault state” for purposes of car accidents. This means that the driver who caused the accident must pay for the injuries and car damage suffered by everyone else involved. It does not matter whether your injuries were serious or minor—you are entitled to recover money from the other driver’s insurance company to pay for your injuries.
How does a serious injury affect the amount of money I can get in a claim?
Georgia law allows you to recover all of your costs and damages in an accident from the driver who was at fault. This includes:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medicine
- Physical therapy or other rehabilitation therapies
- The damage to your car
- Lost wages, if you missed work because of the accident
Usually, the more serious your injuries are, the higher these costs will be. So as a general rule, a person with serious injuries will recover more money than a person with more minor ones.
Serious injuries have another effect too. You can recover money for your “pain and suffering” in addition to the costs of your care. “Pain and suffering” means physical pain, emotional suffering and the overall impact that the accident has had on your life. These things aren’t easy to put a dollar value on, but in general, the higher your medical costs and the more severe your injuries, the more money you can receive for pain and suffering. In a serious accident, pain and suffering damages can be far greater than your out of pocket costs alone.
Serious injuries can also qualify you for money for a long-term disability, or wrongful death benefits if a family member died in a car accident. This money can never erase the effects of a horrible accident, but it can free you and your family from financial worries and allow you to focus on the next chapter of your life.
The insurance company offered me money for a serious injury. Should I talk to a lawyer?
Yes, especially if you feel your injuries are serious. Insurance companies like to settle claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. They know you have not had a chance to find out how long your recovery will take, what it will cost, and what your prospects are for returning to your old life. But if you take their money now, you will give up your right to get more if you find out your injuries will cost far more than the insurance payment.
A lawyer is looking out for your best interests and can help you get the FULL amount you need to pay for your treatment and take care of your family now and in the future. A lawyer can get you to doctors and experts who will fully evaluate your injuries and predict what they will cost, long-term. Car accident lawyers in Atlanta know how to get the insurance company or jury to pay you what you deserve.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our lawyers have spent decades getting injured people get the money they need to rebuild their lives. If we don’t win money for you, we won’t charge you a dime. Let us give you a FREE, no obligation consultation to answer your questions and help you understand your rights. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.