Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the first step?
As soon as you are able, contact an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney who can come to meet you, if you are immobile, and offer you a free, confidential consultation. An attorney can determine whether your injury is compensable and help you get back on your feet.
- Should I give a statement?
It is usually not in your best interests to talk to the other party’s insurance company, especially if that party was at fault. Insurance companies want to limit their liability for your injuries. Rather than taking a chance on revealing too much or saying something wrong, contact an attorney who has experience dealing with insurance adjusters and let the attorney handle these interactions.
- Who pays my medical bills?
The negligent party and his or her insurance carrier are liable for damages arising out of the accident, including medical bills.
- Who pays the legal expenses of my case?
Personal injury attorneys front the legal expenses, working on a contingency basis that allows them to recover only when you do.
- How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
You must have suffered some harm fairly traceable to the negligence of another person or entity. Your injury can be physical, emotional, or financial, but there must have been some harm caused by someone else’s negligence. A personal injury attorney can help you evaluate whether someone breached a duty of care and is liable for your injury.
- How do you determine what a case is worth?
We base our evaluation on years of experience and a review of jury verdicts and settlements in cases similar to yours. When we audit a case, we look at several factors, including: 1) the type of injury and severity, 2) past and future medical expenses, 3) lost wages and diminished earning capacity, 4) the duration of pain and suffering, 5) whether the defendant is a person or a commercial entity, and 6) misconduct giving rise to punitive damages.
- How long do I have after my injury to file a lawsuit?
Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations for most personal injury suits, but this can change if you were injured by a government employee, on a cruise ship, or under other circumstances that limit the amount of time you have to bring a claim. Any delay can forfeit your right to relief, diminish the value of your claim, or result in the loss of important evidence. It is therefore important to contact an attorney as soon as you discover an injury.
- Am I barred from recovering compensation if I am partially at fault?
No. You can still recover a portion of the damages if you were partly at fault. Courts can determine the proportion of your “contributory negligence” in causing the injury and subtract this from the total award.
- Will the negligent party be “punished”?
Not with imprisonment or criminal fines, but in some cases, with large punitive damages. Courts and juries award punitive damages in cases where the negligent party has exhibited particularly egregious conduct resulting in harm to others. The goal is to hit defendants hard in the pocketbook, deterring them from behaving recklessly against the public interest in the future.
- What should I bring to my first meeting with my attorney?
You should bring any documents that are relevant or helpful to your case. Police reports, eyewitness accounts, and videotape footage are useful in documenting the accident. Copies of medical reports and bills from doctors and hospitals are likewise helpful in demonstrating the nature and extent of your injuries. Photographs of the accident scene, your injury, and any damaged property are also relevant. If you have information about the negligent party and his or her insurer, bring that, too. Do not worry if you have no documents. Your lawyer can help you obtain them later while investigating your claim.