What “negligence” and “damages” are really about in Georgia law

The words “negligence” and “damages” are actual terms of art, defined by Georgia law. However, they are often misunderstood and maligned due to their misuse and manipulation by and before the general public, certain members of the legal community and special interest groups. As a result, frequently the concept of personal injury law brings to mind negative thoughts. This misperception, however, is generally unfair as the area of personal injury has a legitimate place in this state’s body of civil law.

In the purest sense, negligence and damages are about personal responsibility.

The Dow Firm, P.C. specializes in motor vehicle, healthcare, premises and other injury and death claims. Please contact us here or call (912) 264-1919 for a free consultation.

It is imperative to note in Georgia, the civil justice system is in place to enable all people to civilly resolve their disputes. The system is designed to allow people and entities to solve their legal problems in a fair and just fashion no matter their physical might, financial means or background. In essence, the civil justice system is a framework for order and fairness aimed at eliminating barbarianism (where the strong/rich prevail) and preventing chaos (where wild-west-like shoot-outs constitute methods of “dispute resolution”).

Negligence is a legal concept embraced by society and the law as worthy of recognition and enforcement. It is not a term only invented and abused by television lawyers trying to generate business. The concept of civil liability for negligence is grounded upon the common sense sentiment that people should be responsible for their actions. It recognizes the rule of cause and effect. “Negligence” is a person’s failure to exercise the proper level of caution required in a particular situation. Stated simply, negligence occurs when someone has acted irresponsibly.

When someone is injured due to another person’s failure to use proper caution, the harm arising out of the negligence is called, “damages”. The insurance industry (whose companies profit when justifiable personal injury and wrongful death claims are not paid) has attempted to distort the legitimacy of the concept of damages. Insurance companies and other special interest groups have developed catch phrases such as, “frivolous lawsuits,” “run-away juries” and “jackpot justice” to debase the seriousness of personal injury law. The intent has been to make the general public think that a person seeking compensation for a real loss is a dirty proposition. Admittedly, some shameless “personal injury” lawyers (who are more interested in increasing their own profits as opposed to actually helping others) have aided this perception notwithstanding their seemingly “sincere” advertising slogans and television demeanor.

But in reality, a person’s right to collect monetary damages (for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, etc.) has been codified in Georgia’s statutes for nearly 250 years. See, O.C.G.A. 51-12-1 et seq. Georgia law recognizes that a person’s losses (economic and non-economic) should be satisfied when they are caused by negligence. The truth underpinning our civil justice system is that unless or until a time machine is invented by the insurance industry that can undo a person’s injury or death, the law’s only prescription for addressing a negligently caused loss is monetary compensation.

The next time you think about personal injury law, imagine if you were negligently injured and you had to suffer the losses due to an injury. In that case, would you consider your plight “frivolous”? If the insurance company had discounted your situation and had attempted to settle your case in an unfair and insulting amount, would you believe you were seeking “jackpot justice” from a “run-away jury”? The answer to both questions is an emphatic, “No.” You would want to be completely compensated for all of your “damages” caused by someone else’s “negligence” and you would utilize your constitutional right to a trial before a fair-minded jury to do so. When one mulls over the prospect of being an actual injury victim, the concepts of “negligence” and “damages,” despite their sometimes bad publicity, seem much more genuine and righteous.

The Dow Firm, P.C. battles on behalf of parties hurt by wrong-doers and we fight to collect monetary damages when they are caused by negligence.

The Dow Firm, P.C. has secured over 50 million dollars ($50,000,000) in judgments and recoveries in serious injury and wrongful death cases in a little over a decade. You can contact The Dow Firm, P.C. at (912) 264-1919 or (800) 557-JDOW or receive a free case evaluation by accessing this page and filling out the 1 minute form.