Frequently Asked Personal Injury Questions
Personal Injury FAQ’s
Do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta?
Whether you would benefit from the assistance of a personal injury attorney depends on a variety of factors. Was another driver or person clearly at fault for your injuries? How serious are your injuries? How much will treatment and recovery cost? How long will your recovery take?
As a rule of thumb, personal injury attorneys are most useful in scenarios where there are disputes with the insurance company regarding culpability (fault) and damages (your accident-related costs). If the insurance company isn’t treating your claim fairly, you might benefit from the assistance of a personal injury lawyer.
If your injuries are minor or the insurance company isn’t disputing your version of events or the claim payment you’re requesting, you might not need to hire a personal injury lawyer.
How are personal injury attorneys in Atlanta paid
The vast majority of personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Unlike an hourly fee or a retainer where you need to pay a lawyer out of your own pocket, contingency fees are only owed once your case is concluded. Once your attorney has either negotiated a claim payment or won you a verdict in court, they’re paid a percentage of what you earned.
For example, if your lawyer negotiates a $30,000 claim payment and they had a 35 percent contingency fee, they would be paid $10,500 of that claim payment and you would keep the other $19,500. Although that may seem steep, keep in mind why you’re hiring a lawyer in the first place. Nearly $20,000 is a lot more than you might have received without a personal injury lawyer’s intervention in your case.
There are also some scenarios where the defendant or their insurance company may be forced to cover your attorney fees, which could further alter the calculation for your own compensation.
Contingency fees are important in a couple key ways. Personal injury attorneys have an incentive to maximize your claim payment or settlement. The more you receive the more they receive, which means they’re more likely to fight hard for you. Contingency fees also allow you to receive highly skilled and experienced representation at no cost, which is often vital after a car accident or slip and fall injury that is keeping you out of work.
What should I do after being involved in an accident?
Similar steps should be followed if you were injured in a slip and fall, auto accident, by a dog bite or by any other cause:
- Document the scene if you’re able to do so
- Gather contact information for any witnesses
- See a doctor as soon as possible so your injuries can be diagnosed and treatment can begin
- Write down exactly what happened for your claim filing
- Speak with a personal injury attorney about your next steps
Securing evidence and contact information for witnesses are important first steps since they will be vital in proving fault or establishing the negligence of the responsible party.
Seeing a doctor as soon as possible is also vital. Failure to see a doctor can complicate your claim filing. A doctor experienced in accident injuries can document your injuries, and their word will count for a lot when it comes time to file a claim. They can also help you establish exactly how much your injury will cost to treat and how it may impact your ability to work or the pain and suffering you’ll endure.
Not seeing a doctor right away may call into question the legitimacy of your injury claim.
Do all personal injury cases go to trial?
No – a fairly small percentage of cases actually make it through the trial phase to a jury verdict. In many cases your personal injury attorney will be able to negotiate a fair claim settlement prior to the trial.
Cases are more likely to go to trial if certain facts are being disputed, like the cost of your injuries or who was at fault.
How much will I be paid for my injury?
Estimating the value of your personal injury claim isn’t always easy or straightforward. The average person injured in a slip and fall or auto accident should ideally receive compensation for their medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. Since those three categories of damages will be different for every injured person, your situation will undoubtedly require a unique calculation.
Determining case valuation can be complicated by other factors, like shared fault or uncertain recovery prospects. It may be necessary to wait until doctors can fully ascertain the permanence of your injuries before they can develop an accurate estimate of your long-term medical and rehabilitation costs.
Speaking with a personal injury lawyer can help you better understand the variables that will affect your claim value. Depending on your circumstances, they may be able to provide a rough idea of what you can potentially expect.
What does modified comparative negligence mean in Georgia?
Modified comparative negligence means you can still recover damages if you’re partially at fault, so long as you’re not more than 49 percent at fault. If you’re 50 percent or more at fault for your own injuries, you may be ineligible to receive compensation from the other responsible party.
What is pain and suffering in personal injury cases?
Pain and suffering is a type of non-economic damages intended to compensate injured people for the discomfort, emotional trauma and suffering they’ve been forced to endure due to their injuries. It is separate from economic injuries, like property damage, medical costs or lost wages. Pain and suffering damages are often calculated based on a multiple negotiated by your lawyers and the insurance company, which means your economic damages are multiplied by a specific figure to determine what pain and suffering you’re owed.
The multiple can vary significantly depending on the seriousness of your injuries, the length of your recovery and the discomfort you were forced to endure. People with permanent injuries that will suffer far-reaching consequences for the rest of their life, and those who are dealing with severe psychological trauma, may be entitled to greater pain and suffering compensation.
What is personal injury law?
Personal injury lawyers advocate for people who have been injured due to the intentional or negligent actions of another person, business or government entity. If someone else is responsible for your injuries, you shouldn’t be forced to bear the cost of medical care, lost wages and pain and suffering.
The responsible party’s insurance company doesn’t always see it that way, which is why personal injury lawyers often need to get involved to advocate on behalf of injured clients. Personal injury lawyers seek to maximize the money you’re paid out in claims or litigation.
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