In addition to damages that normally flow from a personal injury, the plaintiff in Georgia in automobile accident or trucking accident cases can make a claim for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation under certain circumstances. For instance, a claim can be brought pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 13-6-11 for attorneys fees when the Defendant, acting by himself or through his agent, has acted in bad faith, has been stubbornly litigious, or has caused the Plaintiff unnecessary trouble and expense, thereby entitling the Plaintiff to an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation under the Civil Code of Georgia.
By way of example, when the insurance adjuster assigned to an automobile or trucking accident case does not conduct an independent investigation of the claim, and denies the claim in it’s entirety based solely personal opinion, a claim for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation may be properly plead by the Plaintiff.
Another typical scenario of when it is proper for a Georgia Plaintiff to plead and seek attorneys’ fees in an automobile accident or trucking accident case is when the Defendant pleads guilty to the citation that was issued at the scene and which caused the wreck (such as an improper lane change, following too close, failure to yield the right of way, etc.) and admits his negligence to the police officer. Yet, the Defendant then refuses to admit simple negligence in his or her Answer to the lawsuit. This is certainly evidence of stubborn litigiousness. This is known as the “so sue me attitude” and it makes sense that the Georgia trial court would allow a claim for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation and the plaintiff should be allowed to recover these if he or she can prove the elements that are required under OCGA § 13-6-11. Not every case is ripe to recover attorneys’ fees (in fact most cases are not), but there are actions by defendants which lead to such a claim.