Personal injury law, also classified as tort law, is very complicated and complex. Personal injury cases can occur in everything from car accidents to medical malpractice. The most simple legal definition is any physical, emotional, or mental injury that is sustained as a result of another person’s negligent actions to the other party. Accidents can occur in nearly all imaginable situations, so it would be impossible to provide a complete description of all the types of possible injuries that may warrant a personal injury claim. However, we have gone into further detail for a few of the most common personal injury cases.
Car Accidents in Georgia
Motor vehicle accidents are perhaps the most common source of personal injury claims. Auto accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries and sometimes even deaths. Often, the total expenses for the injuries sustained in these accidents far exceed what anyone would originally imagine, especially in the form of lost wages. Insurance carriers often try to settle quickly and quietly for this reason. If they can settle a claim before the injured party realizes the full extent of their economic damages, then they may not have to pay as much in compensation. For once a settlement is accepted, the victim is no longer able to bring up the lawsuit again later.
Douglasville Premises Incidents
Premises incidents such as slip and fall injuries are also pretty common for personal injury claims. Business owners and homeowners have a responsibility to keep their property safe and to take basic efforts to make sure that those who enter the property are going to be safe. Injuries that occur on another person’s property are known as premises liability and/or negligence. Basically, if a property owner was aware of a potentially dangerous situation, and an injury occurs due to that same situation, there is negligence on the property owner’s part and they will be held liable for the expenses that come with the injury. A property owner does not necessarily have to be aware of the hazard, any injury that occurs on their property for which they could possibly be held liable. If the injury occurred due to the plaintiff’s reckless manner, however, the property owner would not be held responsible.
Medical Malpractice in Georgia
Medical malpractice is a very tricky area of personal injury law and includes everything from birth injuries to doctor or facility negligence. Medical malpractice claims have a shorter statute of limitations in Georgia than that of most other personal injury cases. For this reason, it is crucial to seek proper legal counsel the moment you believe something is not right. Medical malpractice cases can be complicated to win unless the negligence or reckless action is blatant or obvious and cannot be denied. Physicians and the work facilities they work for have large amounts of insurance coverage against such claims, but the insurance companies are never quick to pay out. They usually have their own entire set of attorneys and physicians working to prove the harm that was caused was not the fault of the defendant.
Another more common type of personal injury case is that of product liability. Any item that is purchased, excluding real estate, can be judged for product liability. Personal injury and product liability are often referred to as separate legal issues, and they do both fall under the same tort law. Products that cause injury to the consumer through defective design, marketing, or manufacturing can be the basis for a personal injury claim. In most cases, you do not need to be the purchaser of the product in order to bring about a claim. You must only have used the product and sustained an injury in the process. Product liability cases can be tough to win because so much pressure is placed on the victim to prove that it was truly a defective product that caused the injury and not simply human error. Having a skilled personal injury attorney can be a huge asset in cases like these. The law office of John B. Jackson has skilled Georgia personal injury attorneys that understand these types of cases and can help you navigate this complex legal process.
Process for Personal Injury Claims in Georgia
The process of going through a personal injury claim can be time-consuming and often overwhelming. Each different type of claim has varying specifications under the law. Each and every personal injury case is unique. However, the steps of the process are relatively the same for all. First, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The insurance company may offer an initial, informal settlement in an attempt to prevent further legal action. Even if you think the offer is a pretty good deal, you should always speak to an attorney before settling. Our personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of John B. Jackson in Douglasville Georgia are experienced and thorough in all steps of the legal process. Please contact our office so we can advise you on your recent personal injury case.
Second, if there is no immediate, acceptable resolution, there will be a lawsuit initiation. Your attorney will initiate a lawsuit by filing pleadings. There are numerous court documents that need to be filed, starting with your initial complaint. The complaint has to be served to the defendant, and then the defendant is given the opportunity to file an answer to the complaint. There may be many back-and-forth exchanges, each allows for a certain amount of time for the opposing party to act. You need to be prepared for a long process, especially if your claim is big.
Next step is the discovery process. The discovery process is where all the facts of the case are laid out, and both parties have access to all the information. This can be intrusive, especially when a defendant is searching for any way to blame your injuries on you. This process is usually lengthy and can cause lots of frustration for the victims. However, it is important that you are completely honest and open with your personal injury attorney about all that has to do with the case. If you fail to disclose information you could inhibit your attorney’s ability to help you and could possibly lose your case.
After the discovery process, the next step is the pretrial resolution. Your particular case may be resolved before it progresses into a full trial. This can occur through many different ways. You or the defendant’s legal counsel can file a motion asking the court for a specific action. The defendant may file a motion to dismiss the case for many reasons, possibly from improper jurisdiction to a frivolous lawsuit. If the defendant fails to answer to your complaint within the proper time allowance, then your attorney can file a motion for a default judgment in which you will automatically win the case. Some cases may also be resolved in a pre-trial settlement.
Most personal injury cases do not make it to trial. They are instead, settled out of court. Settlement occurs when the plaintiff and the defendant agree on the amount and types of compensation. The defendant agrees to pay a certain amount, and the plaintiff agrees to said offer, and in turn, waives their right to pursue any further legal action. There are many factors to consider before accepting a settlement offer. You will no longer be able to seek out damages, so you need to be absolutely certain that any future medical expenses or living expense will not arise from your injuries. Plus, your lawyer will need to advise you as to how much your claim is worth at trial, and what chances do you have for a favorable outcome should you decide to reject the settlement offer.
If the case is not resolved through pretrial motions, dispute resolutions, or settlement, it will move forward to progress to trial. Your case can be heard by a jury or by a judge. All the evidence and information surrounding the case will be presented for consideration. All medical records, witness testimonies, and items of discovery may all be part of this legal process. Both sides will have the opportunity to cross-examine each piece of information or testimony provided. When all the closing statements are made, and all the details of the case are on the record, the process of determining a verdict begins. If your case involves a jury, then they will deliberate with instruction from a judge and decide which party is responsible for your injury. If your trail was in front of a judge only, the judge would make the final decision, including the amount of damages to be awarded.
The last step in the process is the collection or the appeal. If you did not win the case, your lawyer might be able to file an appeal and have the outcome reconsidered. Remember, that the defendant also has the same right to an appeal. For as long as the case is tied up in appeals, the defendant does not have to pay the damages that you were awarded. Appeals can be very lengthy and go on for many years. If you win your case and the defendant does not file an appeal, your work is still not done. Some people do not have the resources to pay out a large lump sum in damages all at once. Some do have the means, and you can be paid upon the judgement. Collecting can be frustrating and will almost always require additional assistance from your personal injury attorney or a collection agency. There are a few different avenues for collection process that may be available to you. From seizing assets to garnishing wages, there are options for the collection method.
Consult with an Experienced Georgia Personal Injury Attorney Today
Personal injury cases rarely are easy, simple affairs. They usually are lengthy, complicated, and personally invasive processes. The best chance at receiving proper compensation for your injuries is to hire a skilled personal injury attorney to aid and guide you through the legal process. It is never prudent to try and handle a claim or settle a claim independently. If you need the legal counsel of a competent Georgia personal injury attorney, call The Law Office of John B. Jackson today. Our law office is knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to dealing with all types of personal injury cases. Let us fight to protect your rights and make sure you stand the best possible chance at compensation. Our legal team is ready to assist you with a free consultation today.