Personal Injury Lawyer Atlanta
The purpose of hiring a personal injury lawyer Atlanta is to compensate an accident victim who sustained injuries as the result of someone’s negligent acts. The injuries in this type of claim can vary greatly and often include spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, bruising, or bone fractures. These types of injuries require the assistance of an injury lawyer. An experienced personal injury attorney can help accident victims to level the playing field with insurance companies, as they advise the accident victim of their rights and provide guidance in terms of how to proceed with a claim. With an attorney in their corner, an accident victim can focus on their recovery.
What to Do After an Accident
After an accident, it can be difficult to think clearly, especially if you or a loved one have been injured.
However, there are things you should and shouldn’t do following an accident, in order to protect your case. Following these helpful tips can ensure you protect yourself and your claim. Always act as quickly as possible to gather all the evidence that’s available before it’s destroyed or lost.
After an accident, do the following:
- If someone is hurt, call for medical attention immediately.
- Call the police to have a police report filed
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- Obtain contact information from all parties involved. This may include the make, model, and year of the vehicles involved, license plate numbers, registration and license information, phone numbers, and addresses.
- Take photos of the accident, including damage to all of the vehicles involved and the area surrounding the accident.
- Collect all material evidence that could have contributed to the accident
- Write down information concerning the accident so you don’t forget important details that may help your case. These notes can include noting the date and time of the accident, weather conditions, the location of the accident, and the other party’s behavior or what they said at the time of the accident.
- Contact a lawyer. An attorney will send out an investigator who can gather evidence that’s crucial to your case. They will also request a copy of the police report, meet with witnesses, and handle any communication with the at-fault party’s lawyer and their insurance company.
What NOT to Do After an Accident
- Do not leave the scene of the accident
- Do not delay contacting a lawyer. If you put off contacting a lawyer for several days it can become more difficult to prove your case since evidence can get destroyed, lost, or can fade over time.
- Avoid speaking to the other party’s insurance company. Do not give a statement before speaking with a lawyer. Anything you say to an insurance adjuster can be used against you.
- Don’t agree to anything or sign any paperwork without first speaking to a lawyer. Legal guidance can help prevent you from doing anything that may harm your case.
Personal Injury Accidents
Personal injuries can occur in a variety of situations and accidents.
Some of the most common accidents include the following:
- Construction accidents
- Wrongful death
- Medical malpractice
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Slip and falls
- Work-related accidents
- Bicycle accidents
Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
The plaintiff in a personal injury case must prove that the at-fault party acted unreasonably in causing damages and injuries.
There are three parts of negligence that must be proven:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
Duty of Care
A Person’s obligation to not place a person in harm’s way or to not injure another person is referred to as the duty of care. Everyone has a duty to another person not to cause harm, but in a personal injury case, the question will be how much duty of care?
For example, an owner of a small shop has the duty of care to ensure their floors are dry and free from hazards that could cause a visitor to trip and injure themselves. They must also keep their property in good repair and promptly fix broken steps or handrails, and any other type of hazard that could cause injury to another.
Breach of Duty
After it’s established that the defendant had a duty of care toward the plaintiff, the next part of proving negligence involves whether or not the person failed to live up to that duty or breached it. For example, if the shop owner failed to repair a broken step that had been broken for several months, then the shop owner would be considered negligent.
Basically, when determining if someone has breached their duty of care, the court will ask the question: did the defendant allow a dangerous situation to persist or create a dangerous situation? In some cases, this can be easy to prove, but in others, proving a breach of duty can be complicated since what may be deemed reasonable can vary depending on the situation.
Once an injury lawyer has proven that someone had a duty of care and the duty of care was breached, they will need to prove that the breach of duty resulted in an accident or injuries.
Did the shop owner have a duty of care to repair the broken handrail? Yes. Did they fail to repair the handrail in a reasonable amount of time? Yes. Did a person slip and fall as a result of their negligence? Yes.
In this case, proving causation is simple, but it can quickly become complicated. While someone can admit that they were negligent, that doesn’t prove that their negligence caused a person’s injuries. For example, the shop owner can claim that the injured party’s fall was caused because they were texting as they were walking up the stairs. They can also claim that any injuries the victim sustained were pre-existing.
Because of the complexities that can arise in these types of cases, having an experienced attorney on your side can make the entire process much easier on you, and will give your case a significantly higher chance of success.
Claims Process Timeline
The first step is filing a claim and putting all of the parties involved on notice that you’re seeking compensation
The lawyer will then attempt to negotiate a favorable settlement offer with all of the negligent parties.
If a fair settlement could not be reached in negotiations, then the lawyer will file a lawsuit with the court
The next step is litigating the case in court to prove that you deserve compensation for your damages. The length of this process can vary, depending on the complexity of the case.
Damages in an Atlanta Personal Injury Case
Recovering damages in a personal injury claim isn’t about making a lot of money because you were in an accident. Instead, it’s about compensating you for the losses that occurred due to the accident. A personal injury claim is about making an accident victim whole again, as much as possible, by going through the civil court system.
There are many different types of damages you can pursue, such as the cost of surgery, or the cost of a new car. These damages are easy to put a value on. They can easily be proven with medical bills and receipts. However, other damages can be difficult to place a monetary value on since they are abstract concepts, such as mental distress or pain and suffering.
Common damages pursued in a personal injury claim can include:
Medical costs can include the costs of things such as physical therapy, surgeries, medication, doctor’s office visits, medical care, and medical devices.
The cost of future medical treatment is an estimate of the cost of medical treatment needed in the future due to the injuries sustained in the accident, such as surgeries, physical therapy, and future doctor visits.
Pursuing lost income from time missed at work is a common form of damages many accident victims will pursue. These damages can include time off from work to attend a doctor’s appointment, the money that will be lost in the future because the accident victim is not able to perform their job at the level that will earn advancements or promotions in the field. This can also include lost income because the accident victim was forced to change professions due to their injuries.
Compensation for damaged property will cover the obvious damage that occurred to the accident victim’s possessions that were involved in the accident, such as a totaled vehicle.
Pain and Suffering
After an accident, a personal injury lawyer may decide to seek compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering during and after the accident.
A serious accident can cause psychological issues such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and fear.
Loss of Relationship
If the accident victim’s personal injury situation caused one of their relationships to suffer, like with a spouse, child, or parent, the accident victim can recover damages.
Loss of Enjoyment
If an injury took away the accident victim’s ability to do something that normally brought them joy, such as riding a bike or hiking, a personal injury lawyer may seek compensation for these damages.
Why You Must Avoid Speaking with an Insurance Company
Most insurance companies will reach out to an accident victim as soon as possible, in an attempt to get the accident victim to admit fault or to accept a low settlement offer. They will often begin the phone call by asking for your permission to record the conversation. Do not agree to this. An insurance adjuster will record the conversation hoping you will say something that will harm your case. They will try to twist your answers to make it seem as though you’re admitting fault. If you don’t speak to the insurance adjuster, they will continue to try and contact you. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, they will take over all communication with the insurance company and any parties involved in the claim to protect your rights and prevent you from accidentally harming your case.
Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Atlanta
If you have sustained personal injuries in Atlanta that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. A personal injury trial can be long and complicated, however, with an experienced injury lawyer on your side, you can significantly increase your chances of winning the compensation you deserve.
Filing a Claim
Before a lawsuit is filed in Atlanta, the injured party will file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. Filing a claim places the at-fault driver’s insurance company on notice of a possible lawsuit. Once a claim has been filed, and the accident victim has finished all medical treatment, their lawyer will then request all medical records and bills from the accident victim’s different treatment providers.
In an auto accident case, if the negligent driver was underinsured or uninsured at the time of the collision, the injury attorney can file an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim against the plaintiff’s own insurance company.
Settlement Demand Package
Once medical treatment has been completed for all of the injuries the accident victim sustained and all medical bills and treatment records have been received, the personal injury lawyer can assemble a settlement demand package, which will be sent to the insurance adjuster who handles the cases for the insurance company. Additionally, a lawyer will also send a letter of introduction. In this letter, the attorney will make a monetary demand for settlement. In serious cases, the lawyer may make a demand for the insurance policy’s limit. In most cases, the attorney will ask for more money than what the client is actually seeking. An initial settlement demand package will include copies of lost wage documentation, medical records, and medical bills.
If the at-fault insurance company concedes liability, after the insurance adjuster reviews the accident victim’s settlement demand package, they will make a settlement offer. The point of the initial settlement offer is to get the process going. Never accept the insurance adjuster’s initial offer, since these are always very low.
Once the insurance adjuster has made the initial offer, the accident victim’s lawyer will respond with a counteroffer that will be lower than the initial demand. This process can go back and forth until both parties are able to reach an agreement to settle. In some cases, settlement negotiations can take several weeks or months. The length of negotiations will often depend on the complexity of the case, the nature of the injuries, and how many parties are involved in the claim.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the injured party and the insurance company cannot agree on a fair settlement, then the plaintiff’s attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit. However, just because a lawsuit is filed in the court system doesn’t mean that the case will go to court. On average, approximately 5% of personal injury cases go to trial.
Personal Injury Jury Trials in Atlanta
If all parties involved decide to proceed with a trial, it can be a tedious, long process. The decision about whether to take a case to trial or settle is very personal. An Atlanta accident attorney can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of taking the case to court and can help you make an informed decision.
An Atlanta civil jury trial can include the following:
- Pretrial motions and depositions
- Jury selection
- Opening statements for both parties
- Cross-examination and examination of witnesses
- Jury instructions
- Closing arguments
- Jury verdict
Statute of Limitations in Georgia
In Atlanta, Georgia, you have two years to file a claim from the date of your injury. Failure to file a claim on time will bar you from filing the claim in the future. Hiring a personal injury attorney will ensure your claim and all the necessary paperwork are filed on time.
What is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
The value of a claim can be difficult to estimate. There are many factors that will be taken into account when placing a dollar value on your injuries, pain, and suffering and other damages. In most cases, the more severe the injury, the more a claim is worth. Additionally, it can also be dependent on whether or not the injured party requires long-term medical treatment. In some cases, a lawyer will hire an economist and other experts to help determine the long-term costs of ongoing medical treatment.
Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me-Contact the Ferguson Law Group Today!
The Ferguson Law Group serves to maximize compensation for accident victims. Our knowledgeable attorneys have decades of experience in personal injury law and have helped countless people win fair compensation for economic and non-economic damages. If you’re not sure you have a case, or you want to speak with an experienced lawyer about holding the at-fault parties responsible for your injuries, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering, contact our office today to schedule a consultation with one of the top accident lawyers in the state.
Tifton Office225 East 2nd Street, Tifton, GA 31794