Does the Defendant in a Personal Injury Case Personally Pay for Your Damages?

Personal Injury

Whenever you are injured by the negligence of another and must bring a personal injury lawsuit or claim to recover for your damages, you are bound to have lots of questions.

One question we frequently get is whether the defendant in a personal injury case (i.e., the “at fault party”) will be personally liable for your injuries. In other words, whether the defendant himself or herself will have to pay for your damages.

In today’s post, we’ll answer that question.

Personal Liability in Typical Personal Injury Cases

Damages in a personal injury action are meant to compensate the injured party. In the eyes of the law, it is only right that the person who wrongfully injured another through his or her own carelessness or intentional conduct, pay for the damage he/she causes.

In the context of a personal injury action, this means paying for all of a plaintiff’s losses—including financial, physical, mental, and emotional damage.

In cases of severe injury or even death, a plaintiff’s damages can run to the thousands or hundreds of thousands. In Georgia, there is no cap on damages in non-medical malpractice cases.

Punitive damages, however, are generally not awarded in a typical personal injury case, like a car accident for example.

Typical damage awards include the cost of economic damages such as:

  • medical bills
  • lost wages
  • out-of-pocket expenses
  • property damage expenses
  • funeral and burial expenses (wrongful death)

And the cost of non-economic damages, like:

  • emotional distress
  • stress and anxiety
  • loss of companionship
  • loss of consortium.

With this understanding, we will now turn to the question of who actually pays for plaintiff’s damages.

Will Defendant Be Personally Liable for Damages?

Generally, in a typical personal injury case, it is incorrect to believe that the defendant himself or herself will be personally paying for your damages.

That’s because in almost every case, the defendant will have some kind of insurance. This could be:

  • car insurance
  • homeowner’s insurance
  • professional liability Errors & Omissions
  • commercial property insurance
  • or other insurance.

If a lawsuit is filed, the insurance company hires attorneys to defend the claim, and in almost all cases, if there is an award of damages, the insurance company pays them.

Pursuing an individual personally is time-consuming and expensive. And, unless the individual has significant assets that can be levied upon to satisfy a judgment, it is rarely worth the time and cost to try to pursue a defendant individually.

To learn more about damages, consult with experienced personal injury counsel.


Personal Injury Attorneys in Cumming, Georgia. 

The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C., are here to help you. We serve clients in Atlanta, and in several counties throughout Georgia, including: Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, and Paulding County, among others.  To find out how we can help you, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or contact us here.

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