When you have been injured as the result of an accident or someone’s reckless or negligent conduct, you likely have a lot of concerns over the amount of compensation you may be entitled to, as well as how to go forward in filing your claim. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions we get from our clients:
- 1 What are the first things I should do in the event I am injured in an accident?
- 2 How Much is my Injury Claim Worth?
- 3 How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
- 4 How Do I Pay Medical Bills After Sustaining An Injury?
- 5 Should I Sign an Insurance Release?
- 6 Do I Have To Go To Court To Get A Settlement?
- 7 Can I Negotiate My Injury Claim Myself?
- 8 Determining Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
- 9 How long will it take to settle my claim?
- 10 Negligence under Georgia State Law
- 11 Statute of Limitations
What are the first things I should do in the event I am injured in an accident?
There are several things you should do in the immediate aftermath of an injury. One is to notify the proper authorities, whether that be your local police, a security guard, or a supervisor at the place where your accident occurred. Next, make a mental note of the circumstances surrounding your accident, the time it occurred, and whether there were any witnesses. Lastly, be sure and get the medical care you need for your injuries, follow all your doctor’s instructions, and notify your insurance company as soon as possible.
How Much is my Injury Claim Worth?
In cases involving personal injuries and accidents, determining what your claim is worth is more than just adding up medical bills and damages to property. It is important to take into consideration the impact your injury could have on your life in the future, psychically, emotionally, and financially. When determining what your injury claim may be worth, it is important to consider the following factors:
- The potential for suffering chronic conditions, which could result in periodic relapses and require ongoing treatment;</li
- The impacts health problems could have now and in the future on your ability to participate in activities and do the things you enjoy;
- The potential for permanent scarring or disfigurement; and
- Lasting disabilities that could affect your ability to work in your chosen field and could impact your earning potential and future savings.
All of these things and more need to be carefully considered when calculating the total amount your personal injury claim may be worth. Unfortunately, these are often the type of expenses that are either left out or underestimated when dealing with insurance companies. To get a truly accurate estimate of what your claim is worth is to contact our experienced Georgia personal injury attorneys for a free case review.
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
At the Law Office of John B. Jackson, we offer a free consultation for accident victims in which we can discuss the details of your case. We can advise you on the options that may be available, and the types of damages you may be entitled to. If we take your case, you will not pay anything unless we get compensation for you.
How Do I Pay Medical Bills After Sustaining An Injury?
In the aftermath of an accidental injury, it does not take long for medical bills to come flooding in. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for these bills and other costs associated with your injuries. How do you manage these medical costs while waiting for your case to settle? You can always elect to have your bills paid through your own private insurance. If you do this, you are still free to receive compensation for these costs through your insurance claim or through a personal injury lawsuit. Your other option is to have our attorneys file a letter of protection on your behalf with your medical providers. This letter lets them know that you are involved in a lawsuit and assures creditors that they will be paid through the proceeds of your suit or claim.
Should I Sign an Insurance Release?
In the aftermath of an accident, injured victims often mistakenly believe that the insurance company is on their side and will help them to get the amount of compensation they deserve. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It may be in your best interest to contact a Georgia workers comp attorney to advise you before moving forward with a claim. A John B. Jackson workers comp attorney can speak to you for a FREE consultation simply by calling 770-988-6155.
The insurer is operating a business, and like any business, their bottom line is making money. In order to accomplish this, companies often limit administrative costs by limiting the amount of time and effort spent on each claim, with the result being that offers to settle your claim may be far less than what you expected or what your case is actually worth. According to the Georgia Office of Insurance, avoid signing an insurance release accepting settlement of your accident claim before doing the following:
- Conducting your own investigation into the costs associated with replacing or repairing any property damaged in the accident;
- Speaking with your doctor about the prognosis for your injuries, any future treatments you may require, and any lasting effects or disabilities you may suffer;
- Keeping a written record of all bills and statements you have received, as well as all correspondence you have had with the company and its representatives; and
- Consulting with a legal professional before signing a release accepting a settlement amount.
You have one chance to get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. It pays to have our experienced personal injury attorneys working on your behalf and negotiating with the insurance company to ensure you get the maximum amount you deserve.
Do I Have To Go To Court To Get A Settlement?
While most accident victims want to get the maximum amount of compensation for their injuries, many have concerns about actually taking their cases to court. According to statistics from Black’s Law Dictionary, in approximately 95 percent of personal injury cases, the injured party receives a settlement without ever having to step foot in a courtroom. A major reason that insurance companies are willing to settle is that a court proceeding will likely result in increased costs, such as court fees and legal expenses. Any money saved by offering you less than what your claim is worth is canceled out by these costs. Additional motivation for at-fault parties to settle is that if a claim amount cannot be agreed upon and the case goes to trial, a judge will then set the amount, which is again likely to involve additional costs, thereby eliminating any savings for the insurer or at fault party.
Can I Negotiate My Injury Claim Myself?
When it comes to negotiating damages in an insurance settlement or lawsuit, you have one chance to get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. At the Law Office of John B. Jackson, we have the experience needed in these types of cases and have obtained millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. We know the tactics insurance companies use in denying or undervaluing claims, and we understand the hidden and long term costs your injuries may result in. While you are free to negotiate your claim with the insurance company yourself, we can provide the legal experience and expertise to ensure your rights are protected. Before making any statements or signing an insurance claim release, contact us today and put our innovative legal solutions to work for you.
Determining Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
Under Title 51, Chapter 12 of the Georgia Code of Laws, those who are injured in accidents or as the result of another’s negligence are entitled to damages, which is financial compensation for past, present, and potential future costs related to your injuries. The types of damages allowed under Georgia law include the following:
- Special damages, which are those expenses you have actually incurred, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and damage to property;
- General damages, which are those the law considers as likely to occur in the future, such as future medical costs and job impacts resulting from your injury; and
- Punitive damages, which is a form of compensation the court awards to punish an at-fault party for particularly reckless and negligent conduct.
When considering these damages, the court allows for such things as pain, suffering, and mental anguish associated with your injury and accident, as well as a loss of enjoyment or quality of life as the result of your injuries.
In assessing the types of damages you may be entitled to receive for your case, our experienced Georgia personal injury attorneys extensively investigate your case and the underlying causes of your injury, to determine who can be held responsible. In addition to police reports and witness statements, we also gather evidence in terms of medical records, reports, and the opinions of experts to get an idea of any lasting repercussions you may suffer. You have one opportunity to get the compensation you need, and at the Law Office of John B. Jackson, we leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting you the financial settlement you deserve.
How long will it take to settle my claim?
Timeframes vary in personal injury cases depends on a number of factors, such as the time it takes to conduct independent investigations into your accident and to locate any witnesses who may be able to testify to what happened. Generally speaking, having our experienced personal injury attorneys on your case will enable your claim to be settled for a greater amount, as well as in the least amount of time possible.
Negligence under Georgia State Law
Accidental injuries are often not an accident at all, but instead, are the result of another’s negligent actions. Under Section 51-1-2 of the Georgia Code of Laws, negligence is defined as failing to take certain acts that a reasonably prudent person would take under similar circumstances. Examples of negligence include the following:
- A retail store supervisor who fails to ensure employees post signs notifying customers of wet or slippery floors, resulting in slip and fall injuries;
- A restaurant owner who fails to ensure safe food handling techniques and storage, resulting in an outbreak of food poisoning;
- A dog owner who fails to follow local leash laws, resulting in dog bites and attacks; and
- A driver who fails to adhere to posted speeds, resulting in a car accident.
In the above cases, victims are entitled to compensation for their injuries from the person who committed the negligent act. There are also certain cases which are classified as gross negligence. Under Section 51-1-4 of the Georgia Code, these involve injuries caused by another person whose actions are contrary to basic common sense and fail to show the care even the most inattentive person might show under similar circumstances. Cases involving drunk drivers, distributors of products with known defects, and stores that fail to notify customers of obvious construction hazards all have the potential to be judged in a court of law as grossly negligent, entitling victims to additional damages for their injuries.
Statute of Limitations
When you are injured in an accident or as the direct result of another’s reckless conduct or actions, you deserve to be compensated for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Fortunately, injured victims have two courses of action available in terms of seeking reimbursement for their injuries: compensation through an insurance company claim, and compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Georgia law allows time for injured victims to explore their options to determine which avenue is most suited to their particular circumstances.
Statutes of limitations refer to the amount of time allowed by law in which a claimant can file a lawsuit. According to the Georgia Code of Law, Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-33, in cases involving negligence in which the willful and wanton actions of another resulted in injuries to others, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury. Allowing injured parties this period of time in which to file serves several purposes:
- It allows injured victims time to recover from their injuries, and to get a general idea of the costs associated with their care and treatment;
- It allows time to gauge whether the injured person will suffer any lasting damage or permanent disabilities;
- It allows victims time to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney;
- It allows time for investigations into the circumstances of the accident to be conducted; and
- It allows time for negotiations with the insurance company, and time to decide whether an injured person’s interest would be better served through an insurance settlement or through a personal injury claim.
Georgia law does provide for additional time in which to file a lawsuit in cases involving loss of consortium. This is a claim for damages from a spouse or family member of a person who is killed or dies as the result of their injuries, and the above statute gives surviving family members up to four years to file a claim for these types of damages.