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Family Injured in Car Accident Barred from Challenging Inconsistent Damages Awards, Due to Failure to Object to Alleged Error at Trial

The details are important in personal injury lawsuits. A recent case demonstrated how a lawyer’s small misstep caused one family to be stuck with inconsistent jury awards. In Small v. Sayre, the state’s supreme court ruled that since the lawyer for the plaintiffs failed to raise a challenge to the damages awards before the trial court, the issue was waived on appeal.

Car AccidentThe family brought a claim against a driver after they were injured in a car accident. The husband was driving when he was rear-ended, and he, his wife, and his daughter were injured. They sued the other driver for their injuries, and the case proceeded to trial. After the trial, the jury found the other driver was negligent and awarded each person compensation for their injuries. The jury awarded the wife damages for past medical expenses and pain and suffering, but it did not award her any future economic or non-economic damages. The jury also awarded damages to the husband but awarded him damages for past pain and suffering without an award for any past economic damages or any future damages.

After the verdict, the family appealed the decision. They argued that the damages awards were inconsistent and that they were not supported by the evidence. However, the lawyer failed to challenge the potentially inconsistent verdicts in the trial court. The lawyer failed to make a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or ask for a new trial. Because of the misstep, the family’s arguments were waived on appeal. As a result, the Supreme Court affirmed the verdicts as the jury decided them.

Types of Damages in Georgia

There are different types of damages a plaintiff can be awarded under Georgia law. First, in a personal injury claim, damages can either be general or special. General damages are those that are presumed to result from the act, without evidence showing a specific amount. Special damages are those that have to be proved in order for a plaintiff to recover them. There is also a distinction between direct and consequential damages. Direct damages are those that result directly from the act. In contrast, consequential damages are related to the act but are dependent on other circumstances to some extent.

Generally, a damages award is comprised mostly of “compensatory” damages. Compensatory damages are awarded as compensation for a plaintiff’s injuries. The purpose in awarding compensatory damages is to compensate a plaintiff, in an attempt to make the plaintiff “whole” again. An example of a compensatory damages is an award for physical and mental pain. Damages can also be awarded for an injury “to the peace, happiness, or feeling” of a plaintiff. However, the damages available depend on the claim asserted and the facts surrounding the claim.

Have You Been Injured?

If you have been injured in a Georgia car accident, contact an Atlanta personal injury attorney to find out if you may be entitled to compensation. At the McAleer Law Firm, our attorneys will work with you to help you seek full and fair compensation for your injuries. We give every case the time, diligence, and personal attention it deserves. Our attorneys are willing to take any of our clients’ cases to trial if our clients may be able to recover more money for their injuries. Contact the McAleer Law Firm today for a free consultation at 404-622-5337 or through our online form.

See More Posts:

Government’s Failure to Modify Roads to Prevent Hydroplaning Can Pose Increased Risk for Drivers, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, November 8, 2016.

Woman Fails to File Expert Affidavit in Medical Malpractice Claim but Able To Proceed Regardless, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, November 17, 2016.