If you've suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help answer your questions on how to win your personal injury claim in a Georgia personal injury court!
At S. Burke Law we are here to help give answers to these important questions. Our Frequently Asked Question database covers the common questions you may have regarding what to do after a serious accident, how to file a claim in personal injury court, and tips on how to win your personal injury claim. When researching information on the legal process following a serious accident you want legitimate advice from a source you can trust.
When you’ve suffered serious losses and damages from an accident due to the negligence of another you aren’t alone. An Atlanta injury lawyer from our office is always available to answer additional questions not addressed on our page. Contact us for a FREE consultation and get the answers you need to seek compensation for your losses!
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How Do I Report an Injury at Work in Georgia?
If you suffer an injury at work in Georgia, you must tell your employer within 30 days. If you fail to give timely notice, your employer may deny your workers' compensation claim.
Giving Notice of Your Work Injury
If you suffer an injury on the job, one of the first things to do is give notice to your employer.
Giving Notice to the Correct Person
You must give notice to your supervisor. Your employer may give you an employee handbook or a separate document explaining how to give notice if injured on the job.
When to Give Notice of Your Injury
Georgia workers' compensation law requires you to give notice within 30 days of being injured. If you suffer a sudden injury (for example, you hurt your back while lifting a heavy object), the clock to give notice starts counting down immediately.
If you have a repetitive motion injury (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome), the clock to give notice starts upon learning of your diagnosis.
Report the injury promptly. If you delay giving notice, your employer may argue that you hurt yourself at home or somewhere other than at work. You appear more credible when you report the injury immediately.
Your employer may claim its rules require notice within a shorter time than the 30 days required by Georgia law. An employer cannot shorten the time you have to report your injury. If an employer denies your claim for not reporting your injury in less than 30 days, contact a workers' compensation lawyer to protect your interests.
Whether You Must Give Written Notice to Your Employer
Georgia workers' compensation law does not require that you give written notice to your employer. However, if practical, giving written notice may be a good idea. It provides you documentation in case a supervisor denies you gave verbal notice.
What You Should Say When Reporting Your Injury
Georgia workers' compensation law does not specify what you must include in your notice of injury, but the notice should be specific:
- Give the date and time of your injury.
- State the nature of your injury. For example, you can explain that you hurt your back and you felt tingling in your legs.
- Connect your injury to your work. For example, you can report that you were using a heavy tool when you felt a pain in your back.
- Provide names of anyone who saw your accident. Your employer may be less likely to dispute your claim if co-workers witnessed the event.
Completing an Accident Report
Your employer may ask you to fill out an accident report. Keep these things in mind when completing the form:
- Be honest when answering questions.
- Do not exaggerate your injuries.
- Do not answer a question if you do not know the answer.
Consequences of Failing to Give Timely Notice
Failing to give notice within 30 days may defeat your workers' compensation claim, but exceptions may apply:
- You may have a gradual injury. For example, you may suffer hearing loss over time due to the noise in a factory.
- You may not know the severity of your injury for months. You should give notice of minor injuries, so an employer cannot claim you failed to give notice if the injury turns into something major.
- You may not know your injury arose out of your work. You may believe a rash resulted from an exposure at home when it actually came from a chemical you used at work.
If your employer denies your workers' compensation claim on the grounds that you did not give timely notice of your injury, contact a workers' compensation attorney. The circumstances of your injury may excuse your late notice.
Secure Legal Help After an Accident at Work
If you suffered a work injury, contact a workers' compensation attorney at S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
How Long Will Workers' Compensation Last in Georgia?
How long your workers' compensation benefits last in Georgia depends on the extent of your disability. You may receive temporary benefits, but if you have a permanent disability, you may receive additional benefits
Temporary Disability Benefits Under Workers' Compensation Law
If a work injury causes you to miss work, you can receive temporary disability benefits.
When Temporary Disability Benefits Begin
If you miss more than seven days of work due to a work injury, you become eligible for temporary disability benefits and your benefits begin. The workers' compensation insurance carrier has 21 days, from the date you first missed work, to begin payment.
You receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a maximum amount set by the state. For an injury occurring on or after July 1, 2016, you can receive up to $575 per week.
When Temporary Total Disability Benefits End
You are granted benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement or at 400 weeks of temporary total disability benefits, whichever occurs first.
You reach maximum medical improvement when your doctor says your recovery is complete. In other words, your condition will not improve with more treatment.
Your Return to Work After Your Injury
You may return to work in a light duty job after your injury, or you may work fewer hours. You can receive temporary partial disability benefits if you earn less than before your injury. In addition to what you earn, you receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage for the difference in what you earned before and after your injury.
The maximum you can receive in temporary partial disability benefits is $383 per week if your injury occurred on or after July 1, 2016. These benefits continue until you reach maximum medical improvement or 350 weeks of temporary total disability benefits, whichever occurs first.
What Can Stop Your Temporary Disability Benefits
Certain events may stop your temporary disability benefits before you reach maximum medical improvement or before 400 weeks expire:
- You return to your job earning the same money as before your injury.
- Your doctor releases you to return to work without restrictions.
- You do not cooperate with your doctor.
To challenge the suspension of your benefits, contact a workers' compensation lawyer in Georgia for legal help.
Duration of Permanent Disability Benefits Under Workers' Compensation Law
Once you reach maximum medical improvement or the maximum time for your temporary disability benefits expires, your authorized treating physician will evaluate you to determine if you are permanently disabled.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Permanent and total disability involves severe injuries. If your doctor determines that you are totally and permanently disabled, your benefits continue for life.
Duration of Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
If your doctor finds permanent disability, but you are not declared totally disabled, Georgia workers' compensation law provides payment of benefits for injuries listed in a schedule and for unscheduled injuries.
A schedule lists certain body parts and how many weeks of benefits you receive for the total loss of the listed part:
- Thumb: 60 weeks
- Index finger: 40 weeks
- Middle finger: 35 weeks
- Ring finger: 30 weeks
- Little finger: 25 weeks
- Arm: 225 weeks
- Foot: 135 weeks
- Leg: 225 weeks
- Eye: 150 weeks
- Great toe: 30 weeks
- Other toes: 20 weeks
- Hand: 160 weeks
- Loss of hearing (one ear): 75 weeks
- Loss of hearing (both ears): 150 weeks
For example, if your physician says you lost 25 percent of the use of your hand, you receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage for 40 weeks.
If your injury does not fall within a part listed on the schedule, your award equals the amount assigned to the body as a whole, 300 weeks. For example, if your doctor says you have a 20 percent injury to the body as a whole as a result of a back injury, you receive benefits for 60 weeks.
Get Help With a Workers' Compensation Claim
What Is Respondeat Superior?
Respondeat superior holds an employer liable when an employee, acting within the scope of his or her employment, causes your injury. Respondeat superior is the legal doctrine that may allow you to sue the trucking company when you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, for example.
How Respondeat Superior Works in Georgia
Georgia law makes an employer liable for the acts of an employee within the scope of the employer's business. If you suffer an injury in an accident with someone who is an employee, you need to prove that the employee acted negligently to hold the employer liable for your injuries.
Examples of Respondeat Superior
An employer may be liable for an accident caused by its employee if the employee was acting within the scope of employment at the time of the accident.
- A truck driver causes an auto accident while making a delivery.
- An office employee causes a wreck while driving to the bank to make a company deposit.
- A bouncer assaults a patron while working at a bar.
If the employee caused your injury while performing these or other work-related duties, you may be able to sue his or her employer.
Joint Liability When an Employee Causes Your Injury
To hold the employer liable for your injury under the doctrine of respondeat superior, you must prove three things:
- The employee owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused your injury.
- The person who caused your injury was an employee of the employer.
- The accident occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment.
Proving the Person Responsible for Your Injuries Was an Employee
You must prove the party that caused your injury was an employee.
Unfortunately, some employers try to argue that the person who caused your injury was an independent contractor. For example, the person may be working for a construction company or for a hospital under a contract. Generally, a company is not liable for the acts of independent contractors.
However, a lawyer at S. Burke Law can review the circumstances of your accident and the defendant’s employment. If the defendant is under the immediate direction and control of the company, he or she may be an employee even if a contract says otherwise.
What factors show that a company exercises direction and control over a person?
- The company controls the hours the person works.
- The company controls the details of the person’s work.
- The person cannot accept other jobs while working for the company.
These just a few scenarios that might suggest the person is an employee, not an independent contractor.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A personal injury lawyer can help you pursue legal action under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Your lawyer can investigate your accident and help you file a lawsuit or insurance claim seeking compensation for your damages.
To get help after a serious injury, call a personal injury lawyer at S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer
Choose a personal injury lawyer who is reliable, transparent, trustworthy, and possesses the resources necessary to get a fair settlement for your damages.
Review the lawyer’s qualifications, credentials, and testimonials from past clients. And be sure to ask the right questions to help you find a lawyer who will look out for your best interests.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer
Experience & Background
Consider the lawyer’s experience with personal injury law.
- How long has she been practicing?
- What types of personal injury law does she practice?
- Does she have other relevant experience (e.g., insider information about insurance companies) that is relevant to your case?
- Where can I find a list of your previous case results?
Transparent About Fees
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee. Ask about attorney fees and how they work at the law firm. The lawyer should be clear and upfront about attorney fees.
Also ask how the attorney handles court costs, e.g., court filing fees, expert witness fees, and other expenses. Who pays those costs?
You should know how the law firm handles attorney fees and court costs. If you are unsure, ask for clarification before hiring the lawyer.
Ask the lawyer if she will personally handle your case or if she will pass it off to another lawyer who you do not know. Be sure you know who will work on your case and represent you with the insurance company or in court.
Your lawyer should possess the resources to build a thorough case that establishes the defendant’s fault or liability and proves the value of your damages. The law firm must investigate your case and may work with expert witnesses who can testify about various aspects of your accident and injuries.
Ask the lawyer if she has adequate resources to build a case that establishes your entitlement to compensation for your full range of damages.
How well do you communicate with the lawyer? Do you feel she listens to you?
Ask who your point of contact will be and how the law firm updates clients on the statue of their case or new developments. You should know how to get in touch with the lawyer or other members of the team when you have a question – and you should not have to wait too long to get a response.
Free and comfortable communication with your lawyer can make the legal process less stressful. So, make sure the lawyer you work with is a good communicator.
Will Take Case to Court
Your lawyer should be willing and able to take your injury case to court, if necessary. While your lawyer may try to negotiate a settlement before your case ever gets to trial, some cases might necessitate going to court.
Ask the lawyer if she will take the case to court if that is what it takes to get the compensation you need so you can pay bills, recover lost wages, and compensate you for other damages.
Questions to Ask a Prospective Personal Injury Lawyer
Have a list of questions ready for when you meet or speak with a prospective personal injury lawyer. Here are a few important questions to get you started:
- Have you handled personal injury cases similar to mine?
- How long have you been practicing personal injury law in Georgia?
- Where can I find testimonials from your past clients?
- How do I contact you when I have questions about my case?
- Do you have experience negotiating with insurance companies?
These are just a few examples of questions to ask a prospective injury lawyer. Create your own list and include questions specific to your accident and injuries.
Ready to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?
S. Burke Law can help. And we offer free consultations to help you decide if we are a good fit for your case.
During your free consultation, you can ask questions about our practice and our experience with cases like yours. Please feel free to come prepared with a list of questions to help you decide if we are a good fit for your case.
Call us at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation to learn how attorney Sheryl L. Burke can help you.
Can You Sue for Premises Liability?
You may be able to sue for premises liability if you suffered an injury on someone's property. You must show that you had a right to be on the property and that the owner failed to correct and warn of the dangerous condition that caused your injury.
Get help after an injury on another’s property. Call Sheryl Burke at 404-842-7838.
The following is an overview of the criteria required to sue for premises liability.
Types of Premises Liability Cases for Which You May Sue
Some common types of dangerous conditions present on private, commercial, or public properties that cause injuries include:
- Water on the floor could cause a slip and fall
- An uneven sidewalk could cause a trip and fall
- A dog bite or attack
- A sudden stop on an elevator
- Falling merchandise from a store shelf
- A collapsing step on a staircase
- A criminal attack like assault and battery
You Must Be an Invitee or Licensee in Most Cases
In most cases, you must be either a licensee or invitee on the property to sue the property owner for premises liability.
Examples of visitors who may qualify as visitors or licensees include:
- A shopper at a store
- A patron eating at a restaurant
- An attendee at a sports event, a concert, or a movie
- A customer at a bank or gas station
- A patient at a hospital, a doctor's office, or a nursing home
- A social visitor to a private residence
- A visitor to an office building for a business meeting
Trespassers generally cannot sue for injuries except for under limited circumstances, such as if the property owner intentionally harmed them or if the trespasser was a child injured by an unsecured attractive nuisance, like a swimming pool.
You Must Prove the Property Owner Was Negligent
To hold the property owner liable, you must prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard and took no action to repair it or warn of it in a reasonable amount of time.
For example, if you slipped and fell in a store, the owner must have known or should have known that the dangerous condition existed and took no action to clean the floor or warn of the hazard.
If somebody attacks you on someone else’s property, you must show the property owner knew there was a heightened risk of violent crimes in the area, but failed to take appropriate measures to prevent assault and battery, such as hiring a security guard. In that case, the property owner may be liable for negligent security.
Fighting Allegations You Are Comparatively Negligent
Georgia's comparative negligence rule limits the amount you may recover for your injuries if you are partially at fault for the accident.
You may recover compensation even if you were partially at fault as long as your percentage of fault was below 50 percent.
And if you were less than 50 percent at fault, your damages are reduced proportionately to your percentage of fault. For example, if you were 40 percent at fault, you may recover only 60 percent of your damages.
How might the defendant or insurance company blame you for the accident?
- You were talking on your cell phone or otherwise distracted when you should have been paying attention to your surroundings.
- You walked into a part of the store where customers were not permitted.
Whatever the other side’s argument, you must present evidence that establishes the property owner’s negligence and reduces your percentage of fault. Get help establishing fault and liability and fighting allegations that you are partly at fault.
Call 404-842-7838 for legal help.
Recovering Compensation for Your Injuries on Another's Property
You may be able to recover compensation for our economic and noneconomic damages, such as:
- Medical expenses (including future medical expenses and the cost of rehabilitation).
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity (the difference in what you earned before the accident and what you can earn after the injury)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of the ability to engage in activities you enjoyed before the accident)
- Mental anguish
Get Help from S. Burke Law After an Injury on Another’s Property
You must file your suit timely. Georgia law requires you to file a premises liability suit within two years of your injury.
Have you suffered an injury on someone's property? Contact a premises liability attorney at the Law Offices of Sheryl L. Burke at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
Can I File a Personal Injury Claim If I Was at Fault?
You can file a personal injury claim even if you contributed to the accident, as long as you were not 50 percent or more at fault under Georgia comparative negligence laws.
So, proving the defendant is liable for your accident and presenting evidence that you are not at fault or that minimizes your percentage of fault is vital to the success of your case.
If you need help after an accident that caused you serious injury, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
How Your Fault Affects Your Recovery in a Personal Injury Accident
As long as your fault amounts to less than 50 percent, you can recover under Georgia law, although your fault reduces your recovery by the percentage of your fault.
For example, if your fault amounts to 10 percent, you can recover 90 percent of your damages.
Comparative negligence, the severity of your injury, and the strength of your case all factor into your recovery. Talk with attorney Sheryl L. Burke about your case. Get a free consultation by calling 404-842-7838.
Proving Fault for a Personal Injury Accident
Your case must clearly establish that the defendant is liable for your accident. This involves four elements:
- Defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
- Defendant acted negligently.
- Defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Plaintiff suffered damages.
How to Prove a Party Was at Fault for Your Accident
The manner you may prove the defendant’s fault and liability varies depending on the types of case. For example:
- You can prove negligence in a car accident by proving a driver was texting at the time of the accident.
- You can prove liability in a slip and fall case by showing the property owner knew or should have known of a hazard and failed to take action.
- You can prove negligence in a motorcycle accident by establishing that another driver failed to yield to you and struck your motorcycle.
Gathering Evidence to Support Your Case & Fight Allegations of Partial Fault
If the defendant tries to blame you for the accident or argue that you are partially to blame, your case should present evidence to fight those allegations and clearly establish the defendant’s fault.
Some types of evidence that may be important to prove fault for your accident include:
A lawyer at S. Burke Law can help you gather any available video surveillance, such as:
- Cell phone video
- Security camera footage
- Dashboard video
- Which party caused the accident
- Citations issued to the defendant
- Description of how the accident happened
Photographs of the accident scene, vehicles involved (in the case of a car accident), and your injuries may help support your case and prove liability. A photograph may help demonstrate:
- What caused your fall (for a slip and fall case)
- Extent of damage to your vehicle
- Severity of your injury
Medical records can help connect your injuries to the accident and establish the value of your case. They may also be helpful in fighting allegations that your injuries are preexisting and unrelated to the accident.
Statements From Eyewitnesses
Your lawyer can interview eyewitnesses about how the accident happened and who caused it. Save any contact information from eyewitnesses and share them with your lawyer at S. Burke Law.
Expert Witness Testimony
Expert witnesses – e.g., accident reconstruction experts, doctors, engineers, vocational experts, etc. – can testify about how the accident happened and who is at fault. Your lawyer at S. Burke Law can secure testimony from expert witnesses who can help support your case.
Get Help at S. Burke Law to Build and Support Your Case
If your percentage of fault is 50 percent or greater, you cannot recover compensation. If your percentage of fault is less than 50 percent, you can recover compensation, but it is reduced by your percentage of fault.
So, if you are filing a personal injury case, you must present a well-supported case that proves the defendant’s liability.
The more evidence in support of your personal injury claim, the better off your case may be. Act now before evidence disappears and to ensure you meet Georgia’s statute of limitations.
If you suffer injuries in a personal injury accident, contact S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
How Do You Report a Work Accident?
If you are hurt at work, report the accident to your supervisor promptly and no later than 30 days after your injury. If practical, give written notice of your injury. Be sure to include in your report that your accident and injury occurred while you were performing your job duties. If your employer spells out a policy for reporting injuries, follow the procedure.
Notifying Your Employer of Your Work Accident
Georgia workers' compensation law requires that you give notice to your employer as soon as possible and within 30 days of an accident or injury.
The Procedure for Giving Notice of a Work Accident
If you suffer an injury, follow your employer's procedure for reporting accidents and injuries. Check your employee handbook or ask your supervisor how to report your accident.
What to Include in Your Notice of an Accident or Injury
Your report of your accident and injury should include the following:
- Explain how, when, and where the accident happened.
- Describe your injury, symptoms, and other effects of the injury.
- Make it clear your injury occurred while you were performing job duties.
Here are a few additional tips for reporting your work injury:
- Be honest in your responses.
- Do not exaggerate the facts or overstate the extent of your injuries.
- If you do not know the answer to a question, say so.
What to Expect After You Report an Accident to Your Employer
In Georgia, employers with three or more full-time, part-time, or seasonal employees must carry workers' compensation insurance or must be self-insured.
So, if you are injured at work and your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, here is a general overview of what you can expect after you report your accident:
The Procedure for Getting Treatment for Your Work Injuries
In Georgia, an employer must choose one of two options for providing medical care to an injured employee:
- Provide an injured employee a panel of doctors.
- Contract with a Managed Care Organization (MCO).
Once you report an injury, you go to the doctor you choose from the list or to an MCO provider. Tell the doctor your symptoms and be sure to make it clear that your injury happened while you were performing job duties.
You may also be able to get a second opinion from a doctor of your choosing.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Your employer must pay for medical expenses related to your injury, allowing you to get the treatment you need to recover from an injury.
If you miss seven days of work, you may be eligible to receive two-thirds of your weekly earnings, up to the state's maximum, helping you replace some of your lost wages as you recover from your injuries.
Learn more about the workers’ compensation benefits available to injured Georgia workers.
You can settle your claim, but you should contact a lawyer before signing anything.
Reasons an Employer May Deny a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Your workers’ compensation claim may be denied for a few reasons:
- Your work did not cause your injury.
- You waited too long to report your injury.
- You violated a safety rule.
In some cases, a failed drug test may be grounds to deny your claim if your impaired caused or contributed to your injuries.
What to Do If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Gets Denied
Talk to an attorney if your workers’ compensation claim gets denied. You may have grounds to appeal the denial and fight for workers’ compensation benefits.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Work Injury
For example, if you got hurt on a construction site in an accident caused by a subcontractor other than your employer, you may be able to sue that subcontractor in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
If you suffered a work injury in the Atlanta metropolitan area, contact S. Burke Law for help fighting for the benefits you deserve.
Contact S. Burke Law for Help After a Work Accident
You may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you suffered an injury at work. A successful workers’ compensation claim can help you get medical care and replace a portion of your lost wages.
If you were involved in a work accident, suffered an injury, or developed a repetitive stress injury, contact a workers' compensation lawyer at S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?
Personal injury lawyers do several things:
- Determine the validity of your case
- Investigate your accident
- Gather evidence
- Establish the value of your damages
- Build your case and prove negligence
- Negotiate a settlement
- File a lawsuit
What to Expect from a Personal Injury Lawyer During the Initial Consultation
During the initial consultation, you explain what happened, and the lawyer assesses the strength of your case and explains your potential options to recover compensation. During or after this initial consultation, you decide whether to hire the lawyer. Most injury attorneys offer these consultations for free.
What the Personal Injury Attorney Will Do After Accepting Your Case
What a personal injury attorney will do after accepting your case can differ depending on the type of case you are filing. For example, the approach may differ between a slip and fall case and a car accident. However, many of the following remain the same regardless of how you suffered injury:
Investigating the Incident and Interviewing Witnesses
An attorney and their team will investigate your accident to determine exactly how it happened. The attorney may also interview eyewitnesses to obtain an unbiased point of view of the accident. An attorney may also look for surveillance video from nearby businesses to bolster your account of how the accident happened.
Gathering Records and Documents
The attorney will gather records and documents such as:
- Police or accident reports
- Medical records to substantiate your injury claim
- Employment records to show you missed work because of your injuries
Hiring Experts to Conduct Tests or Give Opinions
The attorney may also hire experts to support your case, such as the following:
- A mechanic or other expert can check your vehicle for signs of a defect, such as a brake problem.
- An accident reconstructionist can recreate the accident.
- A medical expert can look at your medical records or examine you to show a connection between your injuries and the accident.
- An economist can estimate your lost earning capacity.
Researching the Law and Developing a Strategy
An injury attorney may also research the law relevant to your case. They can locate similar cases, note any issues raised, analyze the results, and apply the principles of the previous cases to yours. The lawyer will also weigh the strengths and weaknesses of your case and then decide what strategies to use when negotiating a settlement in your case.
Negotiating a Settlement of Your Case
Most cases end out of court with a settlement, rather than a trial verdict. Parties often settle cases to avoid litigation costs.
Once the insurance company has considered your case, it will offer you a settlement. In many cases, this offer is much lower than you deserve. If you do not want to accept the offer, your injury attorney can negotiate with the insurance company for a higher amount. The lawyer tells you if they think the offer is reasonable, but you decide whether to accept it.
If you accept the offer, the case is over, and you get your money. If you refuse the offer, the negotiations resume. If the insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, the attorney may suggest filing a lawsuit. Negotiations can continue after you file a lawsuit. The lawyer lets you know the highest offer they expect you to receive, and you decide whether to take it or continue with the lawsuit.
Filing a Suit to Recover Compensation for Your Injuries
If the parties cannot reach a settlement, your lawyer files a lawsuit against the responsible parties, for example, the other driver, the store, or the manufacturer.
Court Procedures and Deadlines in a Lawsuit
A personal injury lawyer files a complaint to start the suit. The attorney knows the deadlines for filing pleadings and motions, and they will keep you informed of the progress of your case.
Conducting Discovery and Filing Motions
Each side in a lawsuit engages in the process of discovery to get information from the other side about the case. The attorney files and answers interrogatories (a list of questions about the case). The attorney requests documents and records from the other side and takes depositions during which the involved parties, experts, and other witnesses answer questions under oath.
Trying the Case in Court
When your day in court comes, your lawyer will present your case. Your lawyer prepares you for your testimony. Witnesses for each side will testify, and the attorney sums up your case.
You may agree for a judge to decide your case. If a jury hears the case, the judge instructs the jurors on the law. Either side can appeal the judge's decision or the jury's verdict.
Learn More About What an Injury Attorney Will Do for You — Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Did you suffer an injury in an accident? Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation to learn more about how an injury attorney can help you. We can answer any questions you may have about the process of recovering compensation.
How Many Hours Can a Truck Driver Drive?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) allows truck drivers to drive a maximum of 11 hours per day.
Other hours of service regulations cargo truck drivers must follow include:
- A truck driver may only drive that maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours of being off-duty.
- A truck driver can only remain on-duty for 14 hours.
- A truck driver cannot drive after 60/70 hours on-duty in seven/eight consecutive days and can only restart his next seven/eight-day work schedule after being off-duty for 34 or more consecutive hours.
- Truck drivers can only get behind the wheel if has been less than eight hours since they were off-duty or spent at least 30 minutes in the truck’s sleeper berth.
The FMCSA enacted these regulations to promote driver safety. It found in a 2007 study that 13 percent of large truck crashes involved driver fatigue.
Why Do Truck Drivers Stay Behind the Wheel Longer than Is Safe?
There are many reasons why drivers may attempt to drive beyond these limitations. Two of the most common include:
- The driver may want to complete his shipment ahead of schedule. In some cases, drivers receive payment per shipment, so they get more money if they can squeeze in another delivery.
- The driver feels pressured by his employer to stretch himself a bit further. In some cases, employers force their drivers to skip breaks to stay on schedule.
Why Is It So Dangerous for a Truck Driver to Operate a Rig While Fatigued?
A large truck is ungainly and can weigh 80,000 pounds. Safely operating a truck requires the utmost caution and alertness. If a driver is fatigued, he may not be able to perform a necessary evasive maneuver or safely navigate the road. This could lead to a deadly accident.
What Happens If a Driver Does Not Follow Regulations?
If a driver fails to follow regulations and causes an accident, he can be liable for any injuries or losses.
However, per Georgia’s vicarious liability laws, a trucking company can be liable for any actions its drivers take behind the wheel. If a truck driver chooses to drive longer than allowed, the truck driver will be liable for any accidents.
The trucking company can also be directly liable if it pressured its drivers to operate their rigs past allowable hours of service.
This is often good news for you because trucking companies have larger insurance policies than individual drivers. It also means you will be dealing with a large trucking company and an experienced insurance company. The team at S. Burke Law will not back down when faced with a trucking company and its insurer. In fact, Sheryl Burke used to work as an insurance adjuster so she knows how they operate.
How Can I Prove a Driver Was Fatigued When He Caused My Accident?
Most drivers will not readily admit they were fatigued or fell asleep behind the wheel. To prove a driver was drowsy, we can use:
- The driver’s logbooks: All truck drivers must fill out logbooks detailing how long they spent behind the wheel, when they took breaks, and when they slept and for how long. Truck drivers can either keep a manual log in a notebook or they can use the truck’s electronic data recorder.
- Surveillance video: Many trucking companies install cameras in the cabs of their trucks. If the truck involved in your accident was outfitted with a camera, we can watch the surveillance video and determine whether the driver was showing any signs of fatigue (e.g., yawning, rubbing his eyes, nodding off, or even falling asleep at the wheel).
- Eyewitness testimony: If an eyewitness saw the driver swerving, yawning, or driving recklessly directly before the accident, we can use them to back up our allegation of fatigue.
- Photos of the scene: We will examine photos of the scene for evidence of evasive maneuvers, such as skid marks. A lack of skid marks can show that the driver was asleep and did not attempt to brake or avoid the accident.
Unfortunately, most of this evidence is in the hands of the trucking company. This is why we will send a spoliation letter immediately to preserve and obtain the evidence we need.
Call Now for a Free Consultation
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident in the Atlanta area, discuss your case with the team at S. Burke Law. If we believe the driver was fatigued, we will gather the evidence necessary to prove it.Call us today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
Can You Negotiate with an Insurance Adjuster for a Car Accident?
Yes, you can negotiate with an insurance adjuster for a car accident. This negotiation begins after you file an injury claim, send a demand to the insurance company, and the insurance adjuster sends an offer for a settlement.
How We Can Help You Negotiate with an Insurance Adjuster
Many people just take the first offer they receive because they are afraid of entering into the negotiation process. This is understandable.
Negotiating with an insurance adjuster can be quite difficult, especially if you have no experience doing so. Insurance adjusters receive special training on how to devalue claims and save the insurance company money. It is very easy to say or do something while negotiating with the insurance adjuster that can jeopardize the value of your claim.
However, you do not need to handle this process alone. Our founder, Sheryl L. Burke, used to work as an insurance adjuster before opening her firm. She knows how insurance adjusters operate and tactics they use to devalue claims. She can handle your case from start to finish to fight to get you the compensation you deserve. She will manage all negotiations and fight until you receive what your case is worth.
We Will Determine the Value of Your Case
Meeting your basic needs is an essential component of your personal injury settlement. That amount varies depending on the circumstances of your accident and the extent of your injuries and property damage. We will determine the value of your case to ensure we do not accept a settlement that is lower than what you deserve.
We will investigate your accident and determine the value of your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Other accident-related losses
We Will Field All Offers
More often than not, the first offer you receive from an insurance adjuster will not satisfy your needs after a crash. We suggest that you do not accept this offer without running it by a member of our team first.
If you have not already enlisted our help before this step in the process, we recommend you call us immediately after receiving the first offer. (Call 404-842-7838 to discuss the offer.)
We will compare the settlement offer to the demand made and send back a counteroffer. Depending on the case, this could lead to several rounds of negotiations.
As we mentioned above, Sheryl Burke spent time as an insurance adjuster. She knows how the insurance adjuster will approach the task and how to stay one step ahead. She is not afraid to stand against even the largest insurer to get the compensation you deserve.
Defend Your Case Against Any Accusations of Liability
In many cases, your settlement offer will be lower because the insurance adjuster will claim that you contributed to the accident. Per Georgia’s comparative negligence law, your contribution to an accident will decrease the amount of compensation you can recover. Sheryl and the S. Burke Law team will defend you against any accusations of liability to ensure you get the settlement you deserve.
Your Options If the Insurance Adjuster Will Not Negotiate
In some cases, the insurance adjuster will refuse to offer you a fair settlement. If this is the case, we are not afraid to file a lawsuit and take your case to court.
Filing a lawsuit might prompt the insurer to offer you the settlement you deserve.
If not, we will build a case, persuading the judge and jury to order the insurer to offer you the compensation you requested.
Call an Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyer for Help Negotiating Your Claim
A car accident lawyer at S. Burke Law wants to get you the compensation you deserve after an Atlanta car accident. We take your case as seriously as you do and will put all our efforts into this. And you can be sure of this as we will not receive compensation unless you do. If we fail to negotiate a settlement the insurer, we will not get paid.
Sheryl Burke worked for insurance companies for years before starting her own firm. She will use that experience and the insight she gained on your behalf. Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 to learn more about how we can help. The initial consultation is always free.