Let’s face it, no one ever wants to be in a car accident. However, the harsh reality is that accidents can be unavoidable, and their outcomes can be severe. While some car accidents might leave you with a minor scratch or a small dent in your car, others can result in life-changing events.
We’re talking about the kind of car accidents in Georgia that result in catastrophic injuries and are severe enough to turn your world upside down. These aren’t just injuries that send you to the hospital for a few hours, they’re the kind that can lead to long-term or even permanent disability, a lifetime of pain, and endless medical bills.
Knowing what falls under the umbrella of “catastrophic injuries” is highly important, not just for the medical care you’ll need but also for the legal battles that might lay ahead.
What is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is a severe injury that could have long-term, even irreversible effects on the victim’s life. Many victims of car accidents have TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) or spinal cord injuries that prevent them from living pain free, walking, moving, taking care of themselves, or working.
Oftentimes, the cost of treatment is greater than what the majority of people can afford. Such injuries may also require an extended recovery time. In many cases, the injured victim may never fully recover even after receiving treatment and becoming well. As a result, they or their family may have to deal with ongoing medical expenses and lost wages for the rest of their lives.
Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Some common examples of catastrophic injuries sustained in a car accident in Georgia include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): These are the injuries that affect your head and brain. TBIs can be particularly devastating and can compromise your focus, memory, thought processes, and even alter your personality. TBIs can typically be diagnosed by a neurologist, and oftentimes will show concussion-like symptoms.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Injuring your spine can have serious consequences. These include pain or loss of feeling to your extremities (hands, arms, legs, feet). Oftentimes these injuries originate from a disc injury which causes nerve compression from the spinal cord to other body parts.
- Severe Burns: Third-degree burns or worse can lead to permanent scarring, disfigurement, and even organ damage.
- Amputations: These injuries are life altering, oftentimes requiring in-home modifications to accommodate the loss of limb. Furthermore, the physical and emotional toll oftentimes requires ongoing adjustment therapy, to adapt to a new way of daily living.
- Multiple Bone Fractures: Breaking multiple bones isn’t just incredibly painful but it can also lead to long-term mobility issues and require multiple surgeries.
What Damages Can you Recover for Catastrophic Injuries?
If you’ve experienced a catastrophic injury due to a car accident in Georgia, you’re likely concerned about how to recover financial compensation for your losses. Under Georgia law, you’re entitled to seek both special and general damages if you’ve been catastrophically injured. Special damages cover your medical expenses and lost wages, while general damages account for pain and suffering.
Typically, you’ll be seeking compensation from the individual who is liable for causing the accident. In many cases, the liable party’s insurance will step in to cover the losses or damages resulting from their insured’s negligence. It’s important to note that your legal action is technically against the individual responsible for the accident, not their insurance company.
In instances where the liable party lacks insurance, they would be personally responsible for any judgment rendered against them in court.
Here’s what you might be able to claim:
- Medical Expenses: This isn’t just about the hospital bills you have already incurred. You might need ongoing treatment, surgeries, or therapy, and those costs can add up quickly. Georgia law allows you to recover for future medical care costs.
- Lost Earnings: If you can’t work or can only work part-time because of your injuries, you can claim lost wages. And if you can’t go back to your old job, you might even be able to claim for future lost earnings.
- Pain and Suffering: Georgia law allows you to recover monetary damages for pain and suffering. Specifically, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of bodily health and vigor, fear of extent of injury, actual pain and suffering, and so on.
- Long-Term Care: If you need help with daily tasks like bathing, eating, or getting around, those costs can be included in your claim for future damages.
- Adaptation Costs: This might include the cost of future care or other future damages. For example, modifying your home to accommodate a wheelchair or installing special equipment to help you live more comfortably as a result of an amputation.
Understanding the damages you can recover is essential to determining the best course of action on your case.
Consulting with a Georgia Car Accident Attorney
Dealing with a catastrophic injury on your own after a car accident is not easy. That’s where our Georgia car accident attorney comes into play. Our team of legal experts can be your guiding light through the complexities of Georgia’s fault-based system and can help you figure out the best way to go about claiming damages, whether it’s taking the responsible party to court or negotiating with their insurance company.
So, if you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury in a car accident, don’t go it alone. Schedule a consultation with one of our Georgia car accident attorneys at Flanagan Law to understand your legal rights and options.