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!

After an accident resulting in serious or fatal injuries you and your family may have questions about what to do next. Do I have to take my claim to personal injury court? Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company? How much money is in a fair settlement? Who can give qualified advice on how to win your personal injury claim? For answers to these questions and more, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help.

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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  • Is Eyewitness Testimony Important for a Car Accident Case? | S. Burke Law

    Sometimes eyewitness testimony can be valuable after a car accident, but only if the witness’s account is accurate. A factually incorrect eyewitness can do more harm than good in a lawsuit. Contact our firm at 404-842-7838 to learn more about eyewitness testimony and how it is typically important for car accident cases. You can also find out additional information such as how fault is determined in a car accident and what’s considered negligence in a Georgia car accident.

    When Accurate Eyewitness Testimony Can Be Vital

    An eyewitness can help to prove your case when there is contradictory evidence. For example:

    • The police report gets the facts wrong. Let’s say that you were driving west in the late afternoon and the sun was in your eyes. Someone ran between two parked cars on the side of the road into your path. Because the sun impaired your vision, you did not see the person in time to stop. The police report incorrectly says that you were driving east. If an unbiased third party, such as a person on the sidewalk, testifies that he saw you driving west, what he says can bolster your argument. Find out if you’re required to call the police if you’re involved in a Georgia car accident.
    • Settling a “he said, she said” situation. Some people try to lie their way out of situations to avoid having to pay for the harm they cause. If you were in a wreck and the person who ran the red light tells the officer that you caused the accident, the testimony of an eyewitness who saw the driver crash into you can be valuable. Judges hear so many people lie that they almost expect people to fabricate stories if doing so helps their cause.

    Reasons That Eyewitness Testimony Can Be Flawed

    Eyewitness testimony is often important for car accident cases, but some inaccurate testimony of eyewitnesses is intentional. But other times a witness can sincerely believe that he is describing what happened, even if he is mistaken.

    Intentionally false testimony because of a bias. When a witness deliberately says something that is not true, he usually has one of these motives:

    • He wants to help someone else involved in the accident. If, for example, the eyewitness was the spouse of the other driver, riding in the same car, she will have a motive to relate the story in a way that is favorable to her spouse.
    • He wants to harm your case. Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. Let’s say that you happen to have a crash at the moment your former spouse is walking along the sidewalk. If the divorce was less than amicable, he might take pleasure in painting you in a negative light.

    The eyewitness did not see the entire event. Either the person did not observe what happened from start to finish, or her angle on the scene was incomplete. If the witness turned to look because she heard the crash, she did not see what led up to the accident. Anyone who watches instant replay in football games knows how much the angle from which you see something can affect the accuracy of the information.

    Imperfect memory or understanding. The brain cannot tolerate a vacuum, so it will fill in tiny gaps in our recollection with information, even if it has to create the data. This concept is reconstructed memory, which can be flawed or flat-out wrong. Hundreds of people get wrongfully convicted based on eyewitness testimony, only to be set free years later because of DNA and other forensic evidence.

    If you suffered an injury in a car accident, call S. Burke Law. We will discuss with you whether you might be eligible for compensation and also answer any questions that may arise about eyewitness testimony and the important role it can play in car accident cases. Call us today at 404-842-7838 to set up your free consultation.

  • What Is Accident Reconstruction?

    Accident reconstruction is method used to prove the cause of an accident. Lawyers use accident reconstruction in car accident cases to resolve disputed facts about how fast a vehicle traveled, the point of impact, the sequence of events, and whether a witness’ account is accurate. We also use accident reconstruction in workplace and industrial accident cases.

    Top Three Reasons We Use Accident Reconstruction

    Accident reconstruction helps us sort out and prove to the court what actually happened when:

    1. The other party denies fault.
    2. Someone cannot remember what happened because of head injuries or other medical issues.
    3. One of the parties died and cannot tell their story.

    Types of Vehicles Accident Reconstruction Can Analyze

    Many people think of car accidents cases when they hear the term “accident reconstruction,” but these experts also investigate wrecks involving:

    • Trains
    • Farm equipment
    • Construction equipment
    • Boats, ships, and personal watercraft
    • All sizes of trucks, from light-duty pickup trucks to tractor-trailers
    • All sizes of passenger cars, SUVs, and limousines
    • Smaller vehicles like bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles, and ATVs

    Techniques That Accident Reconstruction Uses

    Accident reconstruction experts have multiple methods for explaining to a judge and jury what happened. The facts of the individual case will determine which type they use. Some of the most common techniques are:

    • Simulating the accident. They can do a mock-up to show the court the location of each vehicle before, during, and after the crash, and the speeds at which they traveled.
    • Analyzing video. Video provides an incredible amount of information experts can analyze to build your case.
    • Making calculations. An accident reconstruction expert can show through physics and math that the accident could not have happened the way the other side claims. They can also calculate that the driver was speeding, did not hit the brakes, or blew through the traffic light.
    • Photogrammetry. Experts use photographs to determine the precise place where the impact happened, the height of a person in the picture, and many other details.
    • Testing impact. An accident reconstruction expert can look at the wrecked vehicles, determine the place on each car where they collided and the direction each vehicle was traveling at the time of impact. This information can be essential in disproving the claims of the other side about which party’s negligence caused the crash.

    How We Can Prove Your Case Using Accident Reconstruction

    Accident reconstruction experts use scientific data to answer questions for the judge and jury about disputed facts. Here are some examples of issues an accident reconstruction expert can testify about:

    • What happened before the crash
    • The order in which events occurred, such as which vehicle struck the other first, and everything that happened afterward
    • What caused the crash
    • The precise point at which a driver applied the brakes
    • If a crash was survivable
    • Whether an eyewitness could have seen what they claim to have witnessed from their location
    • Environmental factors like weather, darkness, road conditions, and whether the angle of the sunlight affected visibility

    How Accident Reconstruction Experts Work Their Magic

    An accident reconstruction expert analyzes evidence, applies scientific principles and logarithms, and creates a wealth of information about your wreck. Here are some of the ways they perform these functions:

    • Police report. The accident reconstruction expert will read the report of the law enforcement officer who came to the scene, but will not accept it as being 100 percent accurate. Accident reconstruction experts often discover mistakes in police reports. If the police report in your case is wrong and it hurts your case, an accident reconstruction expert can prove what actually happened.
    • Vehicles. Crashed vehicles contain valuable information about the wreck and what caused it. An accident reconstruction expert can examine a wrecked car and establish that the other driver must have driven faster than they admitted. The point of impact can also tell the expert that your vehicle did not drift into the other person’s lane as claimed.
    • Video footage. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video must be worth far more. Even footage from nearby properties can be of value. For example, a hit and run driver turns himself in three days after the wreck. He denies that he was impaired by alcohol at the time of the accident. Video footage from nearby properties that showed him driving erratically in a manner consistent with alcohol impairment can be critical evidence.
    • Witness statements. An accident reconstruction expert can calculate whether a party or eyewitness is telling the truth about what happened before, during, or after the crash.
    • Measurements. The accident reconstruction expert can go to the scene, take precise measurements, and evaluate photographs. They will apply formulas to analyze the facts of the case and determine who is telling the truth about what occurred.

    How to Get Help for Your Accident

    If you suffered harm in a car crash or other accident, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 to set up your free consultation. There is no obligation.

  • 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.

    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.

    Personal Representation

    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.

    Resources

    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.

    Communication

    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?

    Did you suffer an injury in a car wreck? Did you slip and fall on another’s property? Were you the victim of an assault and battery, perhaps due to negligent security?

    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 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:

    Videos

    A lawyer at S. Burke Law can help you gather any available video surveillance, such as:

    • Cell phone video
    • Security camera footage
    • Dashboard video

    Police Reports

    The police report may contain information that supports your case, such as:

    • Which party caused the accident
    • Citations issued to the defendant
    • Description of how the accident happened

    Photographs

    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

    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.

  • Does Health Insurance Cover Accidents?

    Your health insurance may cover accidents. If your health insurance policy helps you cover your medical bills after an accident, your health insurance company may seek compensation for the medical expenses it covered for you.

    If you or someone you care about was involved in an accident recently, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our legal team will pore over every detail of your case to help you collect the compensation you need. Our team prides itself on serving Atlanta’s citizens and dedicate ourselves to putting the strongest case together on your behalf. Call us at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation.

    Auto Insurance Policies Typically Pay First

    Georgia requires motorists to carry certain minimum coverages on their auto policies. These policies cover any injuries and damage drivers cause in accidents.

    MedPay Coverage

    However, insurance companies also offer various types of optional insurance that cover the policyholder. One that can be very helpful after a car accident is medical payments, or MedPay, coverage. Insurers often offer this coverage at $1,000 to $50,000 per policy.

    Filing a Claim Against the Other Driver

    A more common option is to file a claim against the other driver in the accident if they caused or contributed to the collision. This will allow you to recover compensation for your medical expenses without ever going through your insurance company.

    Note: If you had your health insurance cover your medical care until you received your settlement from the other driver, your health insurance may attempt to recover those expenses from the car insurance company. This process is called subrogation.

    Subrogation After Your Accident

    Subrogation is basically a legal right allowing one entity to sue for payments they made on behalf of someone else. It is a legal term you generally do not hear very often. The reason you hear about it so rarely is that subrogation typically happens at the end of the claims process. And the process involves the insurance companies almost entirely without involving the insured person much.

    Your insurance company is required, however, to inform you that it is beginning the subrogation process.

    Two Examples of Subrogation After an Accident

    You suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. You did not have MedPay coverage and could not wait until you received a settlement to pay your medical bills. Your health insurance company covers $10,000 in medical expenses.

    Example 1: Once you have determined the other party is liable, the health insurance company will sue the other driver’s auto insurance company for those $10,000 in medical expenses.

    Example 2: You determined the other party was liable for your injuries. You file a claim for $50,000, including $10,000 for medical expenses. Because you filed for those medical expenses your health insurance company already paid, it will take $10,000 from your settlement.

    What You Can Recover

    If your health insurance company covered your medical expenses, you cannot recover compensation for those same medical expenses. However, if you needed to pay deductibles or co-pays, you can receive reimbursement for that.

    You can also recover compensation for any medical expenses your health insurance company did not pay.

    How to Pay Medical Bills Without Using Health Insurance While Waiting for Your Settlement

    In some cases, you do not need to depend on your health insurance to pay medical bills. We can discuss your case with your doctors and other medical providers to let them know they will receive payment as soon as you win your case. This can keep your doctor’s office off your back and allow you to continue getting the care you need.

    If the doctor refuses to wait on payment, we can discuss the possibility of a payment plan. You can pay a small amount of your debt each month until you win your case. You can also add those payment amounts to your settlement demand.

    Call an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney

    Covering expenses is one of the primary concerns for anyone following an accident. The answers do not always seem clear and knowing where to even look for the answers is difficult, too. But this is where an auto accident lawyer at S. Burke Law can help you. Our team of legal professionals examines every detail of your accident. And we can lay out exactly what your options are as you seek the compensation you require.

    We can also help you through any complications that accompany your health insurance company covering your medical bills. Feel free to reach out to an injury lawyer at 404-842-7838 to learn more about how we can help you.

  • Are Car Accident Settlements Public Record?

    Like other personal injury settlements, car accident settlements are not public record. However, this only applies when you settle out of court.

    In-Court Awards Are Public Record

    If you do go to court, the result will be public record. The only instance in which your car accident verdict will not be public record is if the judge seals the records of your case. However, this is unlikely in personal injury cases.

    Because many personal injury claims do not go to court, your car accident claim will most likely not be public record.

    Benefits of Settling Car Accidents Out of Court

    Above and beyond keeping your case private, settling out of court is often the best course of action for your car accident claim for a variety of reasons. This is particularly true if the other driver is clearly at fault and the insurance company agrees to meet your or your lawyer’s demands.

    Typical benefits of settling out of court include the following:

    Trials Are Often Quite Long

    Personal injury trials can take several months or even years to complete. And that is not considering the possibility that there may be an appeal. Settling out of court often ends the matter quickly and allows you to collect compensation faster.

    You Will Be Responsible for Court Fees And Any Additional Fees

    If your personal injury claim goes to court, you will also be responsible for paying court fees. This cost would come out of your compensation package when the trial concludes.

    In addition to court fees, settling out of court saves in other ways. While you will need to pay attorney’s fees regardless of whether you settle or go to court, the attorney’s fees may be more if you need to go to trial. There may also be travel involved as well as the cost of bringing expert witnesses to strengthen your case.

    Depending on the size of the award you receive, this may be a hefty chunk of the money you have been waiting for.

    The Benefit of Settling Out Of Court For Defendants

    You are not the only person who potentially benefits from settling out of court. Defendants stand to benefit from settlements as well. The primary reason for this is that a trial is often quite expensive. If a defendant must go to court and then loses their case, they will need to pay for your accident damages and attorney’s fees. In some cases, they need to pay your attorney’s fees as well.

    And depending on the case, the judge or jury may award much more than the defendant was planning on settling for.

    Benefits of Taking a Car Accident Case to Court

    While settling out of court is more common, it is not always the best course of action. If you and your attorney trust that you have a very strong case, you may be willing to incur the additional costs of a trial in hopes of collecting as much of a compensation package possible.

    The primary reasons you might want to go to court include:

    The Defendant Undervalues Your Damages

    In many instances, the defendant may admit fault but significantly undervalue your damages. This results in an offer much smaller than you deserve. If the defendant refuses to negotiate with you, a lawsuit may be your best course of action.

    Seeking Additional Damages

    If your car accident was particularly serious, you may be able to seek damages above and beyond medical expenses and lost wages. While a settlement offer may include damages for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages, it might not be all that you deserve. If you and your attorney can build a strong case showing how your accident affected you physically and emotionally, you may have a convincing case for additional damages.

    Call an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney

    When you work with a car accident attorney for your car accident claim, they will discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of settling a claim or taking your case to trial.

    While we try to settle out of court as this is often the best option for you, we will not hesitate to take your case to court. We prepare your case for court from day one to ensure that we are ready to switch gears immediately if necessary.

    If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a car accident, reach out to an injury attorney at S. Burke Law. We will walk you through the details in hopes of getting the best settlement possible. Call us at 404-842-7838.

  • Who Is Liable for a Bus Accident?

    Determining who is liable for a bus accident depends on the circumstances which led to the accident.

    The process of filing a traffic accident claim feels daunting even under normal circumstances, let alone when a large bus is involved. If you or someone you care about was involved in a bus accident, call S. Burke Law: 404-842-7838.

    Common Causes of Bus Accidents

    Like other motor vehicle accidents, liability hinges on determining which party caused the accident. Accidents occur for a variety of reasons and bus accidents are no exception. The following are among the common causes of bus accidents:

    • Distracted driving
    • Bus driver error
    • Driving under the influence
    • Poor driver training
    • Poorly maintained buses
    • Violation of bus regulations
    • Speeding

    As you can see above, bus accidents happen for a variety of reasons. And those reasons directly influence who is liable in an accident. For example, if the bus driver in your accident did not have the proper licenses to operate the vehicle, then it is likely the bus driver, or whomever he or she works for, will be liable.

    Conversely, if a passenger car driver was speeding, runs a red light, and rams into a bus attempting to make a turn, then the passenger car driver would be at fault.

    Common Carriers

    Buses are common carriers. The term common carrier refers to vehicles that transport people or goods. In this category are tour buses, school buses, and any other type of commercial bus.

    Because common carriers transport goods and people, they must exercise a higher degree of care. Thus, they often have lower thresholds for liability. So, if a bus driver is at fault in an accident, this factors heavily into who is responsible for your variety of damages.

    Differences Between Commercial Buses and Public Buses

    Some buses are public buses, such as school buses and commuter buses. Others are private buses transporting passengers and goods for a variety of reasons.

    For example, if you get into an accident with a school bus, there are a variety of people and entities who may be liable in your accident. Those people and entities may include:

    • School bus driver’s employer: The school bus driver’s employer may be liable for the driver’s negligence. 
    • The bus manufacturer: If the bus was defective in any way that contributed to the accident.
    • Third-party contractors: If any contractors were responsible for supplying parts or hiring bus drivers.

    Similarly, if your accident occurred on a tour bus, there are a few entities which may be liable. Those entities include:

    • The owner: Whoever owns the bus is responsible for maintaining a safe fleet of vehicles. They are also responsible for ensuring their drivers are qualified to operate their vehicles.
    • The tour company: Tour companies may be liable if they did not appropriately evaluate the bus companies they choose as a business partner. For example, if you can demonstrate that bus company’s owners had several safety violations, the tour company may be liable as well for an accident.

    Call an Attorney at S. Burke Law Today

    Being aware of the causes of your accident and who may be liable is crucial in eventually collecting compensation for damages in a settlement. But it is often difficult to determine who is responsible for your injuries. We can help you fight for compensation.

    Our team thoroughly investigates the circumstances of your accident to determine which parties might be liable for your damages. Call us at 404-842-7838 to learn more about how we can help you.

  • What Happens If You Crash a Leased Vehicle?

    The process of handling things when you crash a leased vehicle a bit different from when you own or finance a car. Typically, you want to take the following three steps when involved in a car accident with a leased vehicle.

    • Call your insurance company.
    • Notify the dealer or leasing company.
    • Document damage and get an estimate on repair costs.

    Call Your Insurance Company

    Like any other car accident, calling your insurance company is your first step. Report the accident to the insurer, but do not agree to a recorded statement until you speak with S. Burke Law.

    The State of Georgia mandates minimum car insurance coverage. However, leasing a car is a bit different than owning one outright. Leasing companies may require you to carry certain types of insurance beyond the minimum to protect their property in the event of an accident. The leasing company may require you carry collision and comprehensive coverage, for example.

    Depending on the type of insurance you have, your deductible determines how much you can receive to repair your vehicle. For example, let us say your car sustained $2,000 worth of damage, and your collision coverage deductible is $300. Your car insurance company will pay the remainder of $1,700 to repair the vehicle.

    Notify the Dealer or Leasing Company

    Though you’re driving the car every day, you are required to notify whoever you lease from because they own the vehicle.

    Even if you are financing your car, you would call your insurance company to notify them that you were in an accident. The insurance company would either send over an adjuster, or you would provide them with an estimate from a body shop.

    But in leased vehicle accidents, the leasing company may specify certain requirements to fix the vehicle. In some cases, car dealers will require that the repair be made using the manufacturer’s parts, not secondary parts.

    Check with the leasing company or car dealer before you make any repairs, as failing to comply with their requirements could leave you on the hook for penalties for violating the terms of the lease.

    Document Damage and Obtain an Estimate on Repair Costs

    Once you call your insurance and leasing company, you are ready to document the damage and learn how much repairs cost. In most cases, this is a straightforward process similar to when you repair a vehicle you own outright.

    The insurer may deal directly with the party performing the repair, such as the car dealer itself, and provide reimbursement for the repairs directly to the repair company.

    Gap Insurance When Your Lease is a Total Loss

    Insurance companies may consider a vehicle a total loss if the repair costs exceed a certain percentage of the vehicle’s value. You might find yourself in a precarious situation if there is a gap between the value of the totaled vehicle and what you owe on the lease.

    Most leasing companies require you to carry gap insurance as part of the terms of the lease. Gap insurance covers the difference between what the insurance company is willing to pay for a totaled vehicle and the remaining balance on the lease.

    Call an Atlanta Attorney Today if You Crash a Leased Vehicle

    If you or someone you care about was involved in a car accident with a leased vehicle, we encourage you to speak with a personal injury attorney.

    Call S. Burke Law today for legal guidance. Our team can walk you through what to expect with a free consultation. Call us at 404-842-7838 today to schedule your free case review.

  • What Information Is on a Police Report?

    The information on a police report varies depending on the accident, where your accident occurred, who was at fault, and who witnessed your accident. The one constant which holds no matter what is that Georgia motorists must call the police and file a police report after an accident with injuries, death, or significant property damage. Failing to report an accident to the police could result in criminal charges filed against you.

    Standard Information Contained in Police Reports

    While the specifics of a police report vary, there are a few common things contained within them. If you ever request a copy of a police report, you can expect to find a list of the following items on your police report:

    • Drivers and vehicles involved in the accident
    • Names of passengers and witnesses
    • Date, time, and location of the accident
    • Accident report
    • Statements from witnesses

    Drivers and Vehicles Involved in the Accident

    The name, address, and driver’s license number of the parties involved in the accident are among the most important bits of information on a police report. The driver’s name and address, as well as date of birth, will be visible on the driver’s license. In addition to their vital information, driver’s licenses commonly contain information regarding any physical impairments (vision for example). This could be helpful in a personal injury claim if one of the drivers was not wearing corrective eyewear.

    In addition, your police report should list the make, model, and license plate number of both vehicles. Again, this information could prove to be helpful if you file a personal injury claim.

    Names of Passengers and Witnesses

    A police report should include the names and contact information for passengers and witnesses as well. This is particularly important because passengers and witnesses often provide better accounts of the situation and circumstances of the accidents than the drivers.

    Date, Time, and Location of the Accident

    Knowing the setting of the accident provides context into some of the circumstances of the accident. For example, did the accident occur late in the evening at a busy intersection? Was it a rainy day at rush hour? All these details may not seem wholly important but can influence the outcome.

    Summary of the Accident

    Once the police officer has spoken to the drivers involved in an accident, he will gather all the information and write a summary of the accident. The more detailed the report is, the better. Whether the accident is something as simple as a fender bender or a more severe one, every detail counts.

    In some cases, you may have to give testimony. In this case, it is not only important to remember what happened leading up to the accident, but also be able to explain what happened clearly.

    Statements From Witnesses

    As we mentioned above, testimonies from witnesses and passengers are sometimes more reliable than from the drivers. That makes collecting statements from anyone who was in the car or who witnessed the accident very important. A witness statement which conflicts with the other driver but lines up with your account is a very powerful testimony and would be very beneficial to a personal injury claim.

    Police Reports Can Help Your Personal Injury Case

    While the specific details in a police report vary from case to case, there are some basic details which appear on every standard police report. That information often proves to be very helpful if you decide to file a personal injury claim. Police reports help prove that someone violated traffic laws in your accident.

    If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our compassionate team has spent the last 20 years serving personal injury victims in Atlanta. In many of those cases, the details listed on police reports provided vital information which helped us collect a settlement. 

    Call an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney

    Many people do not realize how important police reports are to their personal injury claims. A detailed police report can make collecting damages after an accident relatively easy. But a thin report could make it quite difficult. That makes reviewing police reports very important for Atlanta car accident victims.

    If you were involved in a car accident recently and would like help looking over your accident report, or anything else, feel free to call S. Burke Law. Our consultations come at no cost, so we encourage you to gather the information you need. And if you do decide to file a personal injury claim, you can rest assured we will do everything within our power to effectively represent you. Call us at 404-842-7838.

  • Who Is At Fault for an Accident in a Parking Lot?

    Like accidents on highways and roads, determining who is at fault for an accident in a parking lot is not always a simple matter. However, in any case, the party or parties that breached their duty of care will be at-fault for a parking lot accident.

    Determining Fault and Liability in Atlanta Parking Lot Accidents

    Like all personal injury claims, collecting a settlement depends on your ability to prove another party’s fault and liability in your accident. But to determine fault, we must first understand how to prove fault and liability.

    Determining fault for an accident in a parking lot requires proving four elements. Those elements are:

    · Duty of care

    · Negligence

    · Causation

    · Damages

    Duty of Care

    Every driver has certain responsibilities and expectations when they take the road. The expectation of how another driver or party will act is duty of care.

    Essentially, Georgia defines the duty of care as the expected reasonable actions drivers must take when navigating roads, intersections, and parking lots. The following are actions in a parking lot which would constitute reasonable care:

    · Driving at a reasonable speed. Many parking lots post speed limits ranging from 10

            to 15 miles per hour. However, even if there is not a posted speed limit, you should

            not exceed reasonable speeds.

    · Not driving recklessly.

    · Not driving while intoxicated.

    · Following the parking lot’s posted traffic rules. Many parking lots have one-way streets, stop signs, left or right turn only lanes, and more.

    · Watching for any oncoming vehicles as you back out of parking spaces. The driver

             pulling out of parking spaces must yield for oncoming vehicles.

    Breach of Duty of Care

    If the other party failed to fulfill its duties, then you might be able to prove negligence. For example, let us say you were driving in a parking lot with no stop sign in your path. However, a vehicle to your right did have a stop sign but ran it. If you collided with that vehicle, the driver would be at fault for the collision.

    Causation

    The other driver’s negligent behavior caused the accident and your injuries. Continuing our example from above: the driver ran a stop sign and T-boned your car. The impact caused you to suffer broken ribs.

    Damages

    You must have suffered damages in the accident. If you were involved in a parking lot accident but did not suffer emotional, physical, or financial harm, you do not have a case. Common damages include:

    · Medical expenses

    · Lost wages

    · Pain and suffering

    The S. Burke Law team can help you prove negligence as well as establish the damages you suffered.

    Instances When Third Parties are At Fault in Parking Lot Accidents

    While this does not happen very often, there are instances when neither party involved is at fault for the accident. This usually happens when there are conditions present at the site of the accident impairing the vision or judgments of the drivers.

    For example, if there is excessive debris or damage (e.g., potholes) in a parking lot, this could contribute to your car accident. In this case, the property owner would not be fulfilling their duty of care. They might be negligent if they were aware of the unsafe conditions.

    The designer/architect of the parking lot could also be at-fault for a collision if the design contributed to the accident occurring. For example, the designer created an intersection in the parking lot but did not place stop signs at the entrance to the intersection. If the lack of a stop sign is determined to be the cause of the collision, the designer may share fault.

    Recovering Compensation If You Contributed to the Accident

    Shared fault is common in all types of car accidents. You may still be entitled to compensation, even if you contributed to the collision. However, you must be 49 percent or less for the accident to recover compensation, per Georgia’s comparative negligence law.

    Call an Atlanta Parking Accident Attorney

    We expect entering and exiting parking lots to be the safest part of our outings. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. If you or someone you love was involved in a parking lot accident, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our team has spent the last 20 years serving Atlanta residents such as yourself in personal injury cases. In that time, we have collected millions on behalf of our clients.

    If you are curious how S. Burke Law can help you, reach us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation. We will guide you through your options at no cost to you.