Auto Accident FAQs
In Georgia, as in other states, auto accident litigation makes up a significant portion of total personal injury litigation. Many plaintiffs initially believe that their lawsuit will proceed in a straightforward manner — and that may be true, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Oftentimes, however, new complexities may be revealed as the investigation (and litigation) continues.
Given that litigation is likely to be more challenging than you initially expect, it’s critical that you work with a team of attorneys that has significant experience handling auto accident claims and securing maximum compensation for injured clients. Attorney James Ponton has nearly a decade of experience providing legal assistance to Georgia plaintiffs in a range of personal injury litigation, including car accident lawsuits. Before working on behalf of plaintiffs, Attorney Ponton worked as insurance defense counsel, giving him a unique perspective on how to effectively litigate injury claims.
Call (404) 418-8507 today to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Atlanta car accident attorney here at Ponton Law.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Will I be allowed to recover damages if I’m partially at-fault for my injuries?
A: Yes. Georgia implements modified comparative fault, which allows those plaintiffs who are partially at-fault for their injuries to recover damages. There is a limitation, however. Modified comparative fault sets a hard cap of fifty percent liability. If you — the plaintiff — are found to be at least fifty percent at-fault for your own injuries, then you will no longer be entitled to sue and recover damages pursuant to Georgia law.
Q: What is negligence per se?
A: Negligence per se is automatic negligence. Normally, negligence must be shown by establishing the applicable “standard of care” for the circumstances, and then proving that the defendant(s) violated that standard of care, thus causing you to suffer injuries. Negligence per se does not require these steps, however. In Georgia, negligence may be assumed where the defendant has violated a law that was designed to prevent the type of conduct that the defendant was involved in. For example, if the defendant-driver is driving faster than the speed limit, their negligence can be assumed, as they violated the rules of the road.
Importantly, negligence per se does not necessarily lead to liability. As the plaintiff, you will have to show that the defendant’s negligence actually caused your injuries. In a speeding accident, for example, you would have to prove that the defendant driving at an excessive speed is what resulted in you suffering injuries.
Q: Will I be awarded punitive damages in my lawsuit?
A: Punitive damages are only infrequently awarded in personal injury cases, including car accident lawsuits. Generally speaking, punitive damages will be awarded when the defendant’s behavior is willful, malicious, or egregious to the extent that it will benefit society (by discouraging others from engaging in similar behavior) to punish the defendant with damages that go beyond the actual losses. In the auto accident context, punitive damages may be awarded in a drunk driving collision, where it is clear that the defendant-driver demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety of others (i.e., clear intention to drive drunk, even before they consumed alcohol).
Q: Is there a time limit for my auto accident claim?
A: Yes, there is. Georgia law imposes a two-year statute of limitations period for injury claims that begins to run from the date of injury. If you do not file your claims before the statute of limitations deadline runs out, then you will lose your right to recover damages in a Georgia court of law. As such, it’s important that you consult with a qualified attorney soon after the accident at-issue, so that you can file your claims on time.