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 much is my car accident settlement worth?
It is impossible to pinpoint a dollar amount for your car accident settlement without reviewing your case. Several factors will go into determining the value of your car accident settlement.
What Damages Will My Car Accident Settlement Include?
While every car accident settlement is different, most feature a combination of some or all of the following damages:
Current Medical Expenses
Medical costs associated with your car accident might include:
- Hospital stays
- Doctor appointments
- Physical therapy
- Prescription drugs
- Medical devices
- Disability modifications to your home
We examine your medical bills thoroughly to make sure we recover all costs in the settlement.
Future Medical Expenses
Did you know that after a car accident, the responsible party could be liable not only for your current medical expenses, but also for your future medical costs? This is a good example why it is unwise to take the insurance company's initial settlement offer. Though an initial offer might include all of your current medical bills, it is unlikely to account for any bills you may incur in the future. Our attorneys make sure the settlement covers any foreseeable medical care in the future.
If your recovery requires you to miss work, your settlement can and should include compensation to make up for your lost wages.
Reduced Earning Capacity
Similarly, if your injury decreases your ability to earn a living in the future, you are entitled to the difference between what you are able to earn and what you would have earned had the accident not occurred.
Pain and Suffering
You are entitled to damages for your pain and suffering, which accounts for the physical and emotional turmoil your accident causes. These are noneconomic damages, meaning there is no obvious dollar amount attached to them, so speak with S. Burke Law to review how we might calculate pain and suffering damages for your case.
Does It Affect My Settlement if I Was Partially at Fault?
When it comes to shared fault, Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. You are not eligible to receive compensation if you are 50 percent at fault or more. Further, if the total damages are $10,000, and you were 20 percent at fault, then your damages would be reduced by 20 percent of the total, and you would receive $8,000.
Call 404-842-7838 for a Free Consultation
At S. Burke Law, our clients are like family to us. We fight to ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call 404-842-7838 today.
Does Medicare Pay for Injuries From an Auto Accident?
If you are a Medicare recipient, you can use your health benefits to pay for auto accident injuries. But a couple of stipulations apply:
- Medicare is a secondary payer to your auto insurance company. In other words, it will not pay until you have exhausted your coverage through your car insurance.
- If you receive a settlement from the at-fault driver for your injuries, Medicare expects reimbursement for the money it paid out on your behalf.
For these reasons, if you are injured in a car accident and think you will need to use your Medicare benefits to pay for your injuries, we recommend speaking with a lawyer for help filing a car insurance claim.
S. Burke Law fights for the rights of auto accident victims. Before becoming an attorney and opening the firm, Sheryl Burke worked as an insurance adjuster, giving her an inside look at the tactics insurance companies use when dealing with accident victims. When representing clients, she frequently calls on her experience and knowledge to anticipate insurers' efforts to deny claims or pay less than the injured person deserves.
Who pays for my car accident injuries, Medicare or my auto insurance policy?
Depending on the extent of your injuries, it might be only your auto insurance policy that pays, or it could be a combination of your auto insurance policy and Medicare. The one thing that never happens is Medicare paying before your auto insurance policy does. That is because Medicare is a secondary payer; it kicks in only when you cap out other insurance coverage.
Do I have to reimburse Medicare if I receive a settlement for my injuries?
Unfortunately, in most cases Medicare requires that you reimburse them if you later receive a settlement for your auto accident injuries. In fact, they can even place a lien on your settlement.
Exemption for Pain and Suffering Damages
Medicare cannot lay claim to pain and suffering damages allocated within your settlement. However, the court, not your attorney, must specify that the compensation is for pain and suffering.
Let's return to the original example one more time. Suppose the $250,000 settlement you are awarded is not all for medical bills. Instead, $200,000 of it is awarded due to pain and suffering. In this scenario, Medicare would not be able to lay claim to the pain and suffering portion of your settlement and would only be able to place a lien on the remaining $50,000 allocated to medical bills. Thus, you would receive $200,000 of your settlement – equal to the full amount awarded for pain and suffering.
The reimbursement process can be complicated, and disagreements often arise between accident victims and Medicare as to what costs must be repaid. For this reason, it is wise to speak with an attorney from S. Burke Law before agreeing to anything with Medicare. We can take over the negotiation process and potentially win you a bigger portion of your settlement.
Still Have Questions? Call 404-842-7838 to Speak With an Auto Accident Lawyer
If you have further questions about how Medicare pays for your auto accident injuries and what happens afterward, an attorney from S. Burke Law can sit down with you and talk you through what to expect. We can intervene with Medicare on your behalf to potentially reduce the amount of your settlement that has to be reimbursed. Every case is unique. For more information, call our office today and set up a free consultation. We look forward to meeting you. Call 404-842-7838.
Who is at fault in a car accident rear ending?
When it comes to assigning fault for a car accident rear-ending, it seems cut and dried. Perhaps you have heard the oft-repeated mantra that the driver in the back is always at fault. For the most part, this is correct. In a rear-end collision, the following driver will generally receive a citation for a violation, such as following too closely.
But there are exceptions to this rule that can affect your accident claim.
How Do Insurers Assign Fault in a Rear-End Collision?
When a car accident happens in Georgia, several factors determine who receives a percentage of fault. The traffic laws of the state are one such factor; generally, a driver who has violated the law bears liability for the collision. For instance, if a driver runs a red light and strikes another vehicle that has the right of way, the red-light runner is at fault.
In some accidents, people involved assume fault based on the circumstances of the crash. Many rear-end collisions fall under this category. Generally, insurers and police officers assume the driver in back is at fault in a rear-end collision.
That is because the vast majority of rear-end collisions occur for one of two reasons: following too closely or inattention to the road. Either the back driver was unable to stop in time because his following distance was insufficient, or he was not paying close enough attention to the road and failed to notice the vehicle in front of him stopping or slowing down.
Not all rear-end collisions, however, are the fault of the driver in back. The following section describes a few exceptions to the rule.
When Is the Trailing Driver Not at Fault in a Rear-End Collision?
There are exceptions to the general rule that the trailing driver is always at fault in a rear-end collision. Here are a few of the most common examples:
The Front Driver Makes an Unsafe Lane Change
Suppose you are driving on the highway. You are traveling the speed limit and staying in your lane. Suddenly, another driver passes you; then, the driver cuts in front of you, leaving inches between your bumper and his, and makes a sudden stop. You slam on your brakes, but the other driver did not leave you nearly enough time to react, and you rear-end him.
Technically, this is a rear-end collision, and you are the driver in back. But in this case, fault belongs to the other driver because he made an unsafe lane change and cut off your vehicle.
The Front Driver Makes an Abrupt and Unnecessary Stop
As the trailing driver, you should leave enough room so that if the driver in front of you stops, regardless of the reason, you have time to stop as well. In rare situations, though, a driver makes a stop so abrupt and sudden that even a safe following distance is not sufficient for the trailing driver to avoid a collision.
This maneuver is sometimes done by the front driver in an effort to “punish” a tailgater (also known as brake-checking). But two wrongs do not make a right, and thus there is a lot of gray area in this situation as to who is at fault. You should speak to an attorney as soon as possible if you were involved in a rear-end collision of this nature.
There is a Chain Reaction Collision
If another driver rear-ends you and the collision propels you into the car in front, the fault does not belong to you but instead to the driver who rear-ended you.
The Other Driver’s Brake Lights are Burnt Out
Sometimes, rear-end collisions occur because the driver in front failed to replace his burnt-out taillights. If you rear-end a driver whose taillights are out, we can argue that you would have stopped had you had some type of warning (e.g., had the driver’s taillights been functioning).
A Mechanical Failure Causes a Rear-End Collision
In the unique situation of a mechanical failure, it is possible that the liability belongs to neither the front nor back driver, but to the manufacturer of the vehicle or vehicle component that caused the collision. A common example is brake failure. If you rear-end another vehicle because of faulty brakes, you might be able to pursue the car manufacturer for damages. We can help with this process.
Can Both Parties Share Fault?
Yes. This is a common occurrence. If you were following too closely, but the driver’s brake lights were out, you might share fault. Per Georgia’s comparative fault rule, while you can recover compensation if you were less than 50 percent at fault for the crash, your fault will decrease your settlement (e.g., if you were 20 percent at fault, you can only recover 80 percent of your settlement award).
Get Help Determining Liability for Your Rear-End Collision. Call S. Burke Law.
After a rear-end collision, whether you were the front or back driver, you need a skilled and compassionate attorney who will fight for your rights. I am that lawyer. I am committed to winning you the max compensation for which you are eligible. And because I worked as an insurance adjuster before I opened my law firm, I am prepared for every tactic the insurance company might use to deny or reduce your award.
Come in for a free consultation to talk with us. We will answer all your questions and give you honest answers on what to expect with your case. Call today for an appointment: 404-842-7838.
What should I do after a car accident that's not my fault?
If you are involved in a car accident that’s not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation, but you must make sure you take four steps before you do so.
What Steps Should I Take After an Accident That Is Not My Fault?
Protect yourself and your right to compensation by taking the following four steps:
1) Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Always seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident. Do this even if you feel fine and do not have a scratch on your body. There are two reasons to get yourself checked out immediately after any collision or accident:
- Even if you feel fine on the outside, you might have damage on the inside that is not visible or apparent. Not all injuries present symptoms right away. You could have internal bleeding, brain hemorrhaging, or a host of other serious (even life-threatening) conditions that do not show any signs until weeks or months down the road. All the while, the injury could be worsening inside you, making it harder to treat when you finally do realize something is wrong.
- There is also a financial reason to seek medical attention right away. When you pursue the responsible party and its insurance company for compensation, one factor that determines your settlement amount is the severity of your injuries. You need a thorough medical exam to provide proof of how badly you are hurt, and the sooner after the crash, the better. By waiting to see a doctor, you give the insurance company the opportunity to cast doubt on whether the accident was the cause of your injuries.
2) Speak to an Attorney
The next step is to speak to a car accident lawyer in Atlanta about your case. A skilled attorney from S. Burke Law can investigate the details of your accident, identify all potentially responsible parties, determine what evidence is necessary to prove the liability of those parties, and set out to gather the evidence we need to build a strong case.
We can also take over all correspondence with the insurance company, coordinate with your treating physician to obtain the medical reports needed to show the severity of your condition, and put together a case for pain and suffering damages. Getting help from an attorney can help ensure you do not leave thousands or even millions of dollars on the table.
3) Keep Up With Your Follow-Up Medical Care
Once you hire us to fight your case, we will handle all the details, big and small, for you. Your main responsibility at this point is to focus on your health and recovery, and this includes making sure you attend all follow-up doctor appointments and continue to receive any medical care you need. This will speed up your recovery and help get your life and your health back on track.
It is also important to your case that you keep up with your medical care. Failure to attend appointments for medical care, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and so on can give the appearance that your injuries are less severe than you and your attorney claim, and the insurance company can use this as evidence against you. The insurance company might even claim that you are falsifying or contributing to your injuries.
4) Turn All Evidence Over to Your Lawyer
If you have any evidence relating to the accident, make sure your attorney gets it. This includes photos taken at the crime scene, pictures of your injuries, statements made by witnesses following the crash, and all receipts for expenses you encounter because of the accident (e.g., rental car, repair bills, medical bills, and so on).
We will gather most of the evidence we need on our own. But the more help you can provide by offering evidence of your own, the better.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company After the accident?
If there is one thing you should NOT do following a car accident that is not your fault, it is talking to the insurance company without first speaking with an attorney.
There is a good chance that the insurance company will call you soon after the accident and try to extract a statement. It might entice you by saying it has a settlement offer put together. Do not let an appearance of generosity or a what seems like a willingness to help fool you. The insurance company is NOT on your side, and it does NOT have your best interests in mind.
I know this because I used to work for insurance companies. The less you say to the insurance company after an accident, the better. It can and will use anything you say against you. So, until you have spoken with an attorney, send insurance company calls to voicemail, or if you decide to answer the call, politely decline to comment until you have spoken with your lawyer.
Call S. Burke Law After an Atlanta Car Accident
You need a skilled and compassionate lawyer to fight for your rights after an Atlanta car accident. You need S. Burke Law. Call us today to set up a free consultation to see how we can help you win the maximum compensation: 404-842-7838.
How is fault determined in a car accident?
To determine fault in a car accident, the insurers for both parties investigate the accident. Fault in a Georgia car accident is not always cut and dry. In some cases, one driver is completely at fault; in others, both drivers share fault.
However, you can be sure that both insurers are doing everything they can to place blame on the other side, often resorting to underhanded tactics to trick victims into admitting fault or handling their case alone. This is why you need a skilled lawyer to fight for your rights after a car accident.
Call the team at S. Burke Law before talking to the insurance company or anyone else involved in the crash. We will advise you of your rights and the best way to move forward. Call for a free consultation: 404-842-7838.
What criteria do insurers use to determine fault in a car accident?
Insurers consider several factors when assigning fault in a Georgia car accident:
Like every other state, Georgia has traffic laws that govern what a driver may and may not do on the road. These laws exist to protect the safety of everyone on the road, including motorists, pedestrians, and workers. When drivers apply for a Georgia license, they implicitly agree to uphold a duty of care to others on the road. When a driver violates a Georgia traffic law and causes an accident, they can be liable for any injuries that result.
If a driver in an accident was doing any of the following, an insurer might assign him partial or total fault for the accident:
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Making an improper U-turn
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to yield right of way
- Reckless driving
- Failing to use due care and caution
This is only a partial list, as the number of traffic laws in Georgia is extensive. Just know that if officers find a driver in an accident violated the law, the driver will likely be liable for the collision.
Automatic Assumption of Liability
In some cases, the specific circumstances of a car accident result in one driver's assumed liability. The classic example is that of the rear-end collision. When an accident occurs because one driver strikes the back of another vehicle, people will almost always assume the driver in back is at fault.
But even this rule has exceptions. These include the driver in front:
- Backing up without warning.
- Neglecting to replace broken or burnt out brake lights.
- Cutting off the rear driver.
A skilled attorney at S. Burke Law can look at the circumstances of your car accident and determine if the insurer may have improperly assigned fault to you.
How do I prove that another driver was at fault in my car accident?
To receive compensation from another driver or their insurance company, you need evidence of liability. We can gather evidence on your behalf and build a strong case against the responsible party. Ultimately, the evidence needs to prove three things:
- The other driver violated a Georgia traffic law or was negligent in some way.
- The driver's negligence caused or contributed to the accident.
- The accident resulted in injury, property damage, or both.
The team at S. Burke Law seeks out extensive evidence to show liability. This evidence might include:
- Police reports
- Video surveillance
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert witness testimony
- Accident reconstruction
- Medical documentation
Without sufficient evidence, it is too easy for the insurance company to cast doubt on who was at fault in the crash or on the severity of your injuries.
How do I deal with the insurance company following a car accident?
The short answer is, you never want to speak to an insurance company after a car accident without speaking to an attorney first. You will probably start receiving calls from the insurance company within a day or two of the accident, and they might even entice you by offering a settlement right off the bat.
Remember, however, that the insurance company is not actually looking to help you, nor does it have your best interests at heart. I know this from experience. Before opening my law practice in Atlanta, I worked as an insurance adjuster and I know how insurers deal with accident victims. Ultimately, they have one goal — to pay as little as possible or, if they can get away with it, to not pay at all.
By speaking to the insurance company, you are giving it the opportunity to take your words and twist them to fit the narrative it created. Instead of taking the insurance company’s calls, send them to voicemail and call S. Burke Law. We will take over all correspondence on your behalf and make sure your settlement includes all the compensation you deserve.
Call S. Burke Law for Help After a Car Accident
A car accident is stressful enough. Do not make a bad situation worse by allowing the insurance company to push you around and dictate how much compensation you receive. The team at S. Burke Law fights for your rights with compassion and conviction. We know from experience how insurance companies take advantage of accident victims, and we will not let them hurt you. Call us for a free consultation: 404-842-7838.
Can I file an injury claim if I was hit by car while crossing a street without being at a crosswalk?
If you were hit by a car while crossing a street, but you weren’t at a crosswalk, you may still file a personal injury claim. However, the results of the case will depend on the state in which you live and who was at fault. If you want to file a personal injury claim, hiring a personal injury attorney to examine your case is advised because laws vary by state.
For example, Virginia and Maryland follow pure contributory negligence laws, meaning if the pedestrian was any way at fault for the accident, he or she cannot recover any compensation. Other states, including Georgia, follow a comparative fault rule, meaning that even if the pedestrian was partially at fault, he or she can recover some damages based on their percentage of fault.
Fault is determined by negligence. Those acting below reasonable standards of care are considered negligent. For example, a pedestrian crossing a street in front of a vehicle going 60 mph on a freeway is negligent. However, if that same driver is going that fast in a parking lot and not looking for pedestrians, then he or she may be considered the negligent party.
After the accident, a police officer will complete an accident report and interview the parties involved, as well as any witnesses. Insurance companies may also review the accident scene to determine which party was at fault.
If you need help with a personal injury claim and live in the Atlanta area, contact personal injury attorney Sheryl Burke of S. Burke Law. Sheryl and her staff will treat you like family and give your case the attention it deserves. Contact her today at 1-404-467-0909.
Can an car manufacturer be sued for my Atlanta car accident?
If an engineering flaw, design failure or unexpected equipment defect caused you to be seriously hurt in a car accident you will likely be able to pursue legal action against the car or parts manufacturer. You should consult with an Atlanta car accident attorney.
Car companies are often shown in advertisements talking about how safe their vehicles are. However, errors can be made and drivers can become hurt. Just by looking at the news you can see examples of recent recalls of cars because a defective part was shown to be dangerous.
Toyota was recently forced to recall more than 2 million cars and trucks because of a faulty gas pedal, which caused hundreds of accidents.
If you find that the car you drive has been issued a recall order, it is important to take it to the closest dealership and follow the instructions of the company. If you do not adhere to a recall order you may risk injuring yourself or a loved one by driving a potentially dangerous car.
If you believe that something went awry in your car causing you to be hurt in a car accident the first step you should take is to contact a legal professional. A car accident attorney can take a look at the details of your case and accident to see if you have a viable claim against the manufacturer.
Contacting an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney
If you were hurt because a large corporation allowed you to drive a vehicle that was not safe causing a car accident – you have the right to hold them responsible. Contact the Atlanta accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Sheryl L. Burke for a no-cost consultation – 404-842-7838.
What is uninsured/underinsured car insurance in Georgia?
Georgia uninsured car insurance and underinsured car insurance are two very important forms of coverage that many motorists do not appreciate until they’ve been in a very serious Atlanta crash. Basically, these are two types of coverage you can add to your existing insurance policy. Most important is the protection these two options provide you, your family, and passengers.
Georgia uninsured car insurance protects you and the passengers in your car when a driver that has absolutely no insurance coverage causes your Atlanta crash. This means if you have family members on your policy who are riding in another person’s car at the time of the crash, they may still be protected. Passengers in your car may be protected, too, regardless of whether they are family members.
Underinsured car insurance coverage protects you after an accident caused by a driver without enough coverage to cover the full extent of your injuries. Say for instance the other driver’s policy only accounts for $250,000, but your medical costs combined with loss of income amount to more than $300,000. If you have purchased $100,000 or more of Georgia underinsured insurance coverage, you may be able to stack that coverage on top of the other driver’s insurance payout if you have stackable coverage.
There are a few key steps you should take if an uninsured or underinsured driver in Atlanta caused your crash. First, notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Second, know that you don’t necessarily have to comply with the other insurer’s requests for statements and records. After all, insurers are not in business to shell out as much money as possible for injured parties. An attorney dealing with these kinds of crashes will tell you that that's the last thing the at-fault party’s insurance company wants.
When you’ve been injured in a crash that someone else caused and compensation is necessary to cover for your medical bills and losses, an Atlanta-area attorney can help you make sense of your insurance coverage, determine your options, and file a claim.
Answering Your Questions About Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance
If you are the victim of someone else’s negligence or carelessness in a traffic accident, navigating insurance coverage and the claims process can be confusing at best. To help you understand your rights and seek the compensation for which you may be eligible to help get your life back in order, contact the Atlanta Law Offices of Sheryl L. Burke for a no-cost consultation on your injury case – 404-467-0909.
What’s considered negligence in a Georgia car accident?
Negligence in a Georgia car accident is essentially behavior that is reckless or careless. Negligence, by law, is when one person fails to use reasonable care or caution, and another gets hurt because of it. But why is it important? Negligence is the basis for recovering much-needed compensation when you or a loved one has been injured. Without it, you can’t file a personal injury claim in Georgia.
What’s worse, depending on whether insurance adjusters from the other party’s insurance carrier consider your actions to have been negligent and contributed, at least in part, to your car accident, the amount of compensation you can receive through a personal injury claim can be reduced or lost entirely.
It doesn’t matter where in the state your accident occurred, whether it was Fayetteville or Atlanta, a personal injury attorney can explain this often confusing topic in more detail. For starters, if you’re found to be 50 percent or more at fault for your accident, you won’t be able to claim any damages.
To get a better idea whose behavior caused your crash, it helps to consider some common types of negligence behind the wheel.
It can take many forms, including:
- running a red light;
- failing to yield; and
- failing to turn on your headlights.
The list goes on. Unfortunately, as some of those actions show, negligence can occur because of something a driver actively does or something a driver fails to do.
The roads can be a dangerous place, and while a Georgia car accident may occur in the blink of an eye, its aftermath can last a lifetime. As soon as you or a loved one is able, meet with an Atlanta-area personal injury attorney to determine what you should do next.
Contacting an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney After Your Car Accident
If you are the victim of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, whether in a traffic accident or some other type of accident, you have certain rights guaranteed by law. To help you understand these rights and seek the compensation you may be eligible for to help get your life back in order, contact the Atlanta Law Offices of Sheryl L. Burke for a no-cost consultation on your injury case – 404-467-0909.
What are the consequences of not reporting a Georgia car accident?
According to Georgia accident laws, it's important that you report an accident that you have been involved in because the consequences may be severe if you don't. Foremost after an Atlanta car accident, do not leave the scene, even if the collision is minor. Failing to stop and report the accident could lead to criminal charges even if the accident wasn't your fault.
After checking on everyone's safety, you should call the police. Even if you suffer no physical injuries, you may be too shaken up to think clearly. Understand that police officers are aware of this. When the officer arrives, give them the basic facts of the accident so they can prepare a report. Do not admit guilt, and do not guess if you don't know the answer to any questions the police ask.
Before you leave the accident scene, make sure you have identified the other driver, if you are physically capable, and gathered contact information from all witnesses.
Report an Accident to Insurance Representatives
Under Georgia accident laws, it's no longer required that a written report of an accident be made to the Georgia Department of Public Safety. However, you should call your insurance company and inform them in writing of the car accident. Be sure to include the time, date and place of the accident as well as the names of the injured and any witnesses.
If you don't promptly notify your insurance company you could lose all coverage for the accident. If you have suffered serious injuries, you should also find help with an Atlanta personal injury lawyer to discuss methods of recovering damages.
Contacting an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are the victim of a car accident, you have certain rights guaranteed by law. To help you understand Georgia accident laws and seek the compensation you may be eligible for to help get your life back in order, contact the Atlanta Law Offices of Sheryl L. Burke for a no-cost consultation on your injury case – 404-842-7838.