of Personal Injury
In Decatur, GAGet help now
An accident is often more than an inconvenience. It can leave you facing weeks or months of recovery, during which time you are unable to work and earn a living for your family. And it can also mean dealing with long-term physical, emotional, and psychological effects as well.
While some accidents are truly nobody’s fault, many are the consequences of someone else’s intentional or negligent act. Decatur personal injury attorney James T. Ponton can help you seek compensation in such cases. The team at Ponton Law is dedicated to representing accident victims who have been hurt by the careless and thoughtless actions of others. Call us today at (404) 418-8507 to schedule a free case evaluation.
We Handle a Wide Range of Personal Injury Cases for the People of Decatur, Georgia
Personal injury claims–also known as tort claims–are based on the fact that one party has breached some legal duty owed to another party. Personal injury can be rooted in intentional acts, negligence, or strict liability imposed by Georgia law. But they all require proof of the following:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty under the law.
- The defendant breached that duty in some way.
- The plaintiff suffered some injury as a result of the defendant’s breach.
At Ponton Law, we represent personal injury clients in many types of cases. Some of the more common are:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents. This is perhaps the most common type of personal injury claim brought in Georgia. If you have been injured in any accident involving a motor vehicle, you can seek compensation from the negligent driver and their insurance company. This includes scenarios where you are injured as another driver, passenger, or even as a bicyclist, motorcyclist, or pedestrian.
- Premises Liability. If you are injured while lawfully invited onto someone else’s property, the owner or operator of that premises can be held financially liable for your injuries. This often comes up in the context of slip-and-fall accidents that occur in a store, restaurant, or similar building that is open to the public.
- Dog Bites: Thousands of people are treated for dog bite injuries every year in Georgia. If the owner of a dog had reason to know their animal was dangerous before you were bitten, they can be held financially responsible for your injuries. Dog owners may also be held liable if a dog bite or attack occurred because the owner failed to follow applicable local leash laws.
- Construction Accidents: People who work on construction sites are susceptible to a number of potentially fatal injuries, such as electrocution, falling, burns, and crushed limbs. Workers’ compensation covers many of these injuries, and third parties may also be financially on the hook for any preventable construction accidents that occurred.
- MARTA Accidents: Many Decatur residents commute using MARTA buses and trains. If you are injured while riding public transit, you may have a viable personal claim against MARTA itself.
Any of the types of accidents described above can lead to catastrophic and life-threatening injuries. This is why it is critical to always seek medical attention following an accident, even if you “feel okay” and are able to get up and walk away from the accident scene without assistance. There are a number of medical issues that may not present any immediately visible symptoms–especially traumatic brain injuries and other internal injuries.
Your Rights to Compensation Under Georgia Law
A personal injury claim allows you to seek damages, which is basically financial compensation for your accident-related losses. There are, broadly speaking, three types of damages available under Georgia law:
- Special Damages: Also known as “economic damages,” special damages cover your out-of-pocket expenses arising from your injuries. This includes your past and future medical expenses, any costs related to ongoing physical rehabilitation, replacing any damaged property (like your car), and compensation for your loss of income if you are unable to return to work for any period of time.
- General Damages: Also known as “non-economic damages,” general damages cover intangible losses such as your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and your spouse’s loss of your consortium and companionship.
- Punitive Damages: Available only in certain cases where someone acted intentionally or especially recklessly, punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant for their wrongdoing as opposed to compensating the plaintiff for their losses. As a result, Georgia law caps punitive damages in personal injury cases at $250,000 and requires 75 percent of any such award be paid over to the state.
While a defendant may be held liable for all of your special and general damages under Georgia law, it is important to note any award may be reduced if you are found to be partially at fault for an accident. Georgia follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule in personal injury cases. This allows a defendant to try and shift the blame for an accident or injury onto you. If a judge or jury agrees you were partly to blame, one of two things can happen:
- If you are found less than 50 percent responsible, your compensation is reduced to account for your percentage of fault–i.e., if you were 30 percent negligent, the defendant only has to pay 70 percent of your damages.
- If you are found 50 percent or more responsible, you cannot recover any damages; the defendant owes you nothing.
Speak with a Decatur Personal Injury Attorney Today
Most personal injury claims in Georgia never end up before a jury. Rather, they are settled out of court, usually as part of a negotiation with a negligent defendant’s insurance company. Still, your chances of obtaining a favorable settlement can increase significantly if you work with an experienced Decatur personal injury attorney.
The team at Ponton Law is prepared to fight for your right to full and fair compensation. Call us today at (404) 418-8507 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.