What are the Elements of a Negligence Claim?
In a successful negligence case, the plaintiff must show that each of the following elements was present:
- a duty of care owed by the defendant to the plaintiff;
- a breach of that duty;
- a causal connection between the defendant's conduct and the resulting harm;
- proximate cause, which relates to whether the harm was foreseeable;
- damages resulting from the defendant's conduct.
One of the most common foundations for a personal injury lawsuit is negligence. Negligence laws require individuals to conduct themselves in a way that conforms to certain standards of conduct. If a person doesn't conform to that standard, they can be held liable for harm they cause to another person or property.
Some common examples of personal injury cases that involve an argument of negligence include:
- Car accidents
- Construction accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and falls
- Truck accidents
Georgia Dog Bite Laws
In most states, dog owners are protected from injury liability due to the “one bite” rule, which states that a person will not be penalized for the first time their dog injures someone if they had no reason to believe their dog was dangerous. In Georgia however, anyone "who owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal" (Georgia Code Section 51-2-7) is liable if they allow their animal to run free and injure someone. The statute specifies that a "vicious" animal is one that the law requires be kept on a leash, so a mere violation of the leash law could also give rise to liability in Georgia if someone is injured by the off-leash animal.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Georgia?
The statute of limitations in Georgia for personal injury cases is 2 years, which means that after any kind of accident, an injury claim must be filed within 2 years from the date of the accident. The statute of limitations extends to four years if you seek to file a lawsuit for property damage instead of an injury claim.
It is important to be aware of Georgia's statute of limitations in injury cases, because if you try to file your lawsuit after the two-year period, the court will almost certainly refuse to hear it, and you'll lose your opportunity to seek compensation for your injuries. The filing deadline could be extended in special circumstances, though, an experienced accident attorney in Statesboro, GA, can help evaluate your situation and determine a possible deadline extension.
Damages and Compensation
Georgia is a state that employs "at fault," or "tort liability," rules for personal injury claims, most commonly in car accident cases. Under the at-fault law, drivers involved in car accidents who seek compensation must prove that the other party was at fault for the accident.
Further, note that Georgia also operates under modified comparative fault. The modified comparative fault rule reduces damages the plaintiff can receive if they are found to be partly or mostly at fault for the accident. In modified comparative approach, the plaintiff can only recover damages if they're less than 50% responsible for the injuries.
4 types of damages you might receive in a personal injury case are:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
If you have been injured in a case of negligence, you could argue for compensation for all of your past, present, and future medical costs arising from your personal injuries. You are also entitled by law to reimbursement for any lost income or lost profits.
Some out-of-pocket expenses you might seek compensation for are expenses not related to medical costs or wages.
Examples of out-of-pocket expenses could be:
- transportation to and from medical appointments, such as parking;
- anything linked to your recovery that you have to purchase retail, such as bandages;
- payment for someone working to help around the house while you’re recovering;
- payment for someone caring for your children while you’re recovering.
Pain and suffering are non-economic damages that might be less straightforward to calculate the monetary value of, but to roughly calculate the value, if your injuries were minor and you expect a quick recovery, multiply your economic damages by 1.5 to arrive at a rough figure. If you were catastrophically injured or permanently disabled, multiply the economic damages by 5.
Note that while some states have caps on damages, Georgia does not currently have restrictions on how much compensation a personal injury plaintiff can receive. However, punitive damages, which are damages meant to punish a party for reprehensible conduct (e.g. a drunk driver) are limited to $250,000.
Let Our Statesboro Accident Attorney Help You
If you have been involved in a personal injury case and seek compensation for your damages, contact our accident attorney in Statesboro, GA immediately. He will evaluate your case and help determine next steps in the legal process. You deserve an experienced and aggressive lawyer to fight for your right to recovery.
Contact Hart Law Group today to schedule your FREE consultation.