The “Specificity of Damages” Requirement in a Georgia Personal Injury Claim

The government should do the bare minimum to maintain roads and public works infrastructure. Following an accident where an injury occurred due to poorly maintained roads or other public works issues, many plaintiffs consider filing a lawsuit against their local city or municipality. If successful, these claims can often serve as a wake-up call for local governments and encourage them to take further steps to ensure the public’s safety. However, personal injury lawsuits in Georgia against a municipality can often be complex and must adhere to specific legal rules and procedures.

In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals decision, two plaintiffs sued their local city and its public works superintendent for injuries one of the plaintiffs sustained when their vehicle ran off the road. The plaintiffs alleged that the poor configuration of the roadway and deficient signage caused their vehicle to run off the roadway and crash into an embankment. In the plaintiffs’ complaint, they provided a general estimate of medical expenses, lost wages, and total damages incurred from the accident. The trial court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint against the city and the public works superintendent because the plaintiffs failed to include the specific amount of monetary compensation and damages they sought from the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed.

On appeal, the court had to consider whether the plaintiffs’ complaint complied with the rules concerning the “specificity of damages” requirement. The court ultimately affirmed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims, arguing that their complaint lacked the specificity necessary to comply with Georgia rules. Providing an estimate of damages, the court reasoned, did not substantially comply with the requirements of specificity in Georgia.

In Georgia, parties asserting claims against a municipal entity must present a claim to the governing authority of the entity with details of the injury and the specific amount of monetary damages being sought. For the complaint to succeed, damages must comply with the necessary amount of specificity when making a claim. Estimates, the court has ruled, are not the same as establishing a specific amount of monetary damages being sought. Thus, Georgia law has established that, to substantially comply with the specificity requirement, a complaint must list a specific amount. Damages incurred, the court has established, are not the same as damages sought.

When bringing a claim against a municipality or local government, the claims are often complex and require adherence to specific legal rules and procedural requirements. Thus, accident victims should retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to help them effectively pursue the compensation they deserve.

Do You Need a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney?

If you or someone you know has been injured due to a local government or municipal entity, contact the attorneys at McAleer Law today. The lawyers at our firm are dedicated, compassionate, and have years of experience representing clients in all kinds of personal injury claims. We will advocate tirelessly on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve, whether it be through a Georgia car accident, slip and fall case, or any other type of personal injury claim. To set up a free initial consultation today, contact our office at 404-622-5337.

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