Do I have a valid lawsuit?
This is a very common question, but unfortunately there is no way for me to answer that question without knowing the specific facts of your case. So many factors go into whether you have a strong suit. If you think you might have a valid lawsuit, you should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney will be able to tell you about the relevant laws and what you would need to do to pursue your case. I am always available to meet with potential clients, and an initial consultation is free.
Do I need a lawyer?
Oftentimes, if you are dealing with an insurance company, you may feel pressure not to obtain legal counsel. But, remember, when you are going up against an insurance company or a store or any kind of business, they have lawyers to protect their interests. Who is protecting your interests? There are some situations in which you may not need a lawyer’s help, but the only way to make an informed decision is to talk to an attorney and find out what kind of assistance the attorney can offer you.
What kind of damages can be recovered in a personal injury suit?
Whenever you are injured as a result of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for (1) medical bills, (2) lost wages for missed work, (3) pain and suffering, (4) any permanent injury or disfigurement, and (5) inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life. If your family member is killed as a result of someone’s negligence, you can recover for the loss of that person’s life. You can also recover for property damage, such as in a car accident. Victims of severe negligence may also be entitled to “punitive” damages, which are intended to punish a person for acting in a way that endangers others.
How can I afford to pay for a lawsuit?
I only get paid if we win at trial or settle your case. If I am not successful, there is no money due.
Is there another way to resolve my issue besides going to court?
The vast majority of lawsuits, including personal injury suits, are settled without going to trial. If you do not want to engage in litigation, or want to resolve the matter as quickly as possible, any good attorney will take that into consideration. However, sometimes you need to be willing to take a case to court. Unfortunately, some defendants will not take a claim seriously unless a lawsuit is initiated.
Should I see a doctor? What about my medical bills?
Whenever you are in an accident, the first and most important consideration is getting whatever medical attention you need. If you have a doctor or other health provider that you see regularly, you should definitely make an appointment as soon as possible. If you do not have health insurance or the means to pay for medical care, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you see a local doctor. For example, I have relationships with several doctors and medical providers in the Atlanta area and have been able to arrange for my clients to obtain medical treatment at no cost to them, with the understanding that the client will reimburse the treatment providers once the case settles or we win at trial.
Make sure to follow up with your medical provider as necessary, for two reasons. First, and most importantly, follow up visits will ensure that you heal properly. Second, people (claims adjusters, attorneys, and even jurors) are often suspicious of those who claim to be injured but fail to follow their doctor’s or health care provider’s treatment plan.
I’m convinced the party that injured me has done this before. How do we stop them from hurting someone else?
There are a variety of ways that the civil legal system can be used to stop wrongdoers. The most common way to do that is through damages, including punitive damages (damages that are intended to punish people who endanger others). For better or worse, money is what gets the attention of most defendants. However, there are other options that can be pursued to stop a wrongdoer from hurting others in the future. Talk to an attorney about the specifics of your case and what you want to see happen.
I was in a car accident, but the driver at fault does not have insurance. What do I do?
Do you have underinsured motorist coverage? If you do, your own policy may pay the difference between your medical bills and the other driver’s policy limits. There are two types of uninsured and underinsured coverage. Under an excess policy, your policy provides coverage on top of the other driver’s policy limit. With an add-on policy, your policy will cover the difference between the other driver’s insurance and your damages, up to the policy limit. An excess policy will usually leave you in a better position.
I fell in a store. Can I sue?
All property owners are required to maintain their property in a way that keeps others safe. If a person is using the property in a normal way, and is injured because of the unsafe condition, the store may be responsible for the accident. I’ve handled numerous slip-and-fall cases against major national retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Publix, and Walgreens.
I was injured, but the person responsible says it was my fault. How do I proceed?
Even if you are partly responsible for an accident, you can still file suit, although you may be able to recover less in damages. This is called comparative fault or comparative negligence. Under Georgia’s comparative negligence law, if you are injured in an accident, you can only recover if you are less than 50% responsible for the accident. If the plaintiff is 50% or more responsible, then any recovery is prohibited. If the plaintiff is 49% (or less) responsible, then the damages are reduced proportionally. So, if the victim would be entitled to $100,000 in damages, but is 25% responsible for getting hurt, then the victim can only recover $75,000. There are also some situations in which the plaintiff “assumes the risk” of being injured. Generally, assumption of the risk is limited to activities that the plaintiff knows are dangerous, but voluntarily engages in the activity anyway.
What if I was previously injured, but then a car accident aggravated my old injury? Can I still sue?
If you have an old injury (referred to in the legal world as a pre-existing condition) and someone else is negligent and, as a result, the old injury is aggravated (made worse) or you suffer a new injury, even if you were particularly susceptible to it because of the old injury, then you may be entitled to compensation. The defendant does not have to compensate you for the original injury, but you are not barred from recovery simply because you have previously been hurt. Wrongdoers are not entitled to perfectly healthy victims.
Should I talk to anyone about the accident?
If you believe that you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, you should not speak to anyone (in person or over the phone) except police about the accident without an attorney present. Insurance adjusters and store employees are trained to minimize the damages an injured party can recover and may try to get you to admit fault in the accident.
I’m overwhelmed. How can I get help?
You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An initial consultation is free, and an attorney will be able to tell you what steps to take next. Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss your case.