Many forms of negligence can lead to personal injuries. Victims of personal injuries may be awarded compensation for various losses related to an accident.
However, the personal injury lawsuit process can be stressful. There are numerous requirements to comply with when filing a claim. Furthermore, defendants’ insurance companies may attempt to delay and complicate your case. The support of our experienced personal injury lawyers can be very helpful when pursuing a claim.
If you suffered an injury because of another party’s negligent behavior, get help recovering the compensation you deserve. Call Howe Law at (888) 559-7940 for a free case review.
Benefits of Hiring Our Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers
The stages after a personal injury accident can be difficult to navigate. Victims can suffer devastating physical and psychological consequences. Fortunately, our personal injury lawyers can provide assistance throughout every stage of the process.
Proving each element of your personal injury case will involve collecting extensive amounts of evidence. Our personal injury lawyers can help gather the evidence required to prove your claim. The following are examples of evidence that may be used in your case:
- Medical records
- Accident reports
- Surveillance videos
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert witness testimony
- Financial documents
- Insurance documents
- Medical bills
Furthermore, insurance companies may hire teams of people who will try to gather evidence to disprove your claim.
The next step in your personal injury case will involve determining whom to sue. In some cases, assigning fault is not straightforward. For example, it can be difficult to determine who is liable for an accident caused by a commercial truck driver. Is it the driver or his employer? Assigning fault is a crucial step in building a successful claim.
Filing a Case
In Atlanta, personal injury plaintiffs typically have two years from the date of an injury to file a claim. However, you should contact our personal injury lawyers as soon as possible after an accident for help filing your case. Waiting to file a lawsuit could cause important evidence to lose its relevance or become lost. Important information can disappear, medical injuries can heal without documentation, and crucial details can be forgotten over time.
Additionally, there are numerous other requirements plaintiffs must satisfy when filing a claim. Such obligations include paying fees, serving notice to defendants, filing a claim in the correct court, attaching supporting documents to your case, and filing a valid claim.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Communicating with insurance companies can be frustrating. Defendants’ insurers may hire teams of people and implement a variety of strategies when trying to reduce the value of your claim. Furthermore, insurance companies will often attempt to entice low settlement agreements in the aftermath of an accident.
Before reaching a settlement agreement, injured parties need to assess the full extent of their injuries and evaluate the full range of legal options available to them. Accordingly, after sustaining a personal injury, you should not speak with any other party’s insurance company until you have reviewed your case with our experienced personal injury lawyers.
When Should I Hire an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer?
Quickly hiring a lawyer can help you avoid certain pitfalls in the legal process. Even if you are unsure about taking legal action for your injuries, you should arrange to speak to a lawyer about your options as soon as possible.
The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner they can start looking for evidence, and the more likely you will obtain evidence before it is lost or destroyed. Evidence does not last forever, and some evidence is fleeting. For example, important witnesses might move away from the area, or accident scenes might be cleared away by law enforcement. Hiring a lawyer as soon as possible might help you avoid losing valuable evidence.
Hiring a lawyer as soon as possible might also help you avoid missing important deadlines. Perhaps the most important deadline for your lawsuit is the statute of limitation, which is discussed in more detail below. Missing this deadline could cost you the entire case.
Common Personal Injury Lawsuits in Atlanta
Personal injury lawsuits can arise from any accident where one party was injured because of another party’s negligent conduct. However, certain types of cases occur more frequently than others. The following are common sources of personal injury lawsuits in Atlanta:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Hit and run accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction site accidents
The legal analyses that apply to your case will likely depend on the type of accident suffered. If you sustained an injury in any type of accident, you can consult with our personal injury lawyers and assess your potential claim for free.
Can I Receive Compensation for an Injury in Atlanta?
You might be awarded compensation if we prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. Compensation often encompasses economic and non-economic damages meant to make up for your losses. Punitive damages are possible but less common and require special evidence.
Economic damages encompass the monetary costs and losses you experienced as a direct result of your injuries. Calculating economic damages may be complicated if you have numerous bills and expenses.
Medical bills are often a large factor in economic damages calculations. Bills for trips to the emergency room, surgery, physical therapy, medication, and follow-up visits with your primary care doctor all constitute economic damages. If you need long-term care, we can estimate reasonably anticipated future medical costs and add them to our calculations.
Property damage and the value to repair or replace damaged property should also be considered. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you can claim the cost of replacing your totaled vehicle as part of your damages. If you lost any personal belongings in your accident, you can claim the value of those items too.
Many injured plaintiffs cannot return to work until they recover from their injuries. Often, plaintiffs are so badly hurt that they must take an extended leave from their job or give up working altogether. The income you lose because of your injuries should be included among your economic damages.
Another large part of your potential compensation comes from injuries and losses that did not take a financial toll but were still painful. Non-economic damages include physical pain, emotional trauma, mental anguish, humiliation, and other painful experiences.
Because non-economic damages are based on experiences rather than money, calculating these damages is more complicated. Generally, non-economic damages are evaluated based on how they impact your daily life. When these experiences have a deep, negative impact on your daily life or lead to a loss of enjoyment of life, they can drive your non-economic damages calculations way up.
Punitive damages are not designed to compensate you for any losses. Instead, these damages are meant to punish defendants for egregious behavior. While punitive damages might be on the table in some cases, they are rarely awarded.
According to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(b), punitive damages will only be awarded if they are proven by clear and convincing evidence. This is a somewhat higher burden of proof than a preponderance of the evidence, which is the typical burden in most civil lawsuits.
The evidence must show that the defendant’s actions constituted willful misconduct, fraud, malice, oppression, wantonness, or such a lack of care as to lead one to presume conscious indifference to consequences
Punitive damages must be pleaded for specifically in your initial complaint to be considered in your case. Generally, there is no limit on punitive damages in product liability cases or when the defendant had the specific intent to cause harm or acted under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Otherwise, there is a $250,000 cap on punitive damages, 75% of which must be paid to the state treasury of Georgia.
The Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Atlanta
As briefly discussed above, you must file your personal injury lawsuit before the deadline imposed by the statute of limitation. According to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33, personal injury cases in Georgia must be submitted to the court within 3 years of the injury. This is a strict deadline, and you might not be able to file your case at all if it passes.
If the statute of limitations in your case has passed or is drawing near, our personal injury lawyers can help you determine if you can have the statute tolled. The statute of limitations can be tolled, and you might be permitted extra time to file, only under very specific circumstances. For example, under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-90, you can have the statute tolled if you are under a disability and unable to file.
A disability does not necessarily refer to a physical impairment, although that might be included. Rather, the term disability is a bit broader and refers to any physical or intellectual hindrance that stops you from filing a lawsuit independently. Generally, the disability must be present when your cause of action accrues, and you have until the disability subsides to file your case.
Comparative Fault in Atlanta Personal Injury Lawsuits
Another tactic defendants’ insurance companies can employ in personal injury lawsuits is blaming the plaintiff. Under Georgia’s modified comparative fault rules, Atlanta plaintiffs may not recover damages if they are at least 50% at fault for their own injuries.
Furthermore, damages in Atlanta personal injury lawsuits will be awarded based on portions of fault. If you are considered 20% responsible for an accident and a defendant 80%, you will be liable for 20% of the damages while the defendant pays the other 80%.
Where to Go if You Are Injured in Atlanta
After an accident, your primary focus should be getting emergency medical attention. There are numerous hospitals around Atlanta that you can go to for help after an injury or accident.
Hospitals in Atlanta
The Piedmont hospital system has numerous locations throughout the State of Georgia, and its flagship location is located right here in Atlanta. You might instead go to Emory University Hospital. Emory has numerous hospital locations and clinics in Atlanta. The location you go to will likely depend on where you were injured and how urgent your needs are. Northside Hospital Atlanta is another possible location for your emergency medical care.
While some accident victims can pick which hospital they want to get treatment from, many other victims are rushed to the nearest emergency room, wherever it might be. In such cases, the hospital you end up at depends on where in Atlanta your injuries occurred.
Follow Up with a Primary Care Doctor
After you are provided emergency medical treatment at a hospital in Atlanta, you should continue to follow up with your primary care physician. If you do not have a primary care doctor, you should find one as soon as possible and make an appointment regarding your injuries and treatment.
Following up with a doctor, often with several visits, helps keep your medical records accurate and thorough. This is important when we go to use your records as evidence in your lawsuit.
Our Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
If you suffered an injury because of another party’s negligence, call the attorneys at Howe Law at (888) 559-7940 for a free case review.