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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What are your fees?
On personal injury cased, including wrongful death and medical malpractice, fees are on a contingency basis. That is, if you do not receive compensation for your injury, we do not charge a fee. All initial consultations are free.
Can we settle out of court?
A claim can be settled at any time. It can be settled before suit is filed, after suite is filed, and of course before trial is started. Suits and claims are also settled during and after trial. Statistically, most cased settle before trial and a few go to trial.
What is mediation?
Mediation is an informal procedure where all parties and their lawyers meet in a conference room to attempt to negotiate a settlement. At mediation, I will make a brief presentation discussing our side of the case to the mediator (usually a retired lawyer or a judge) and of course to the lawyer for the other side and his or her representative (usually the insurance company adjuster). The lawyer for the other side then will make a brief presentation about their side of the case. You are required to attend mediation but you are not required to say anything.
After the initial presentations are made, the mediator will meet with you and me separately from the other side and their lawyer. The mediator then will discuss the positives and negatives of our case and attempt for us to lower our demand. The mediator will then meet with the other side, also in private, and attempts to persuade them to increase their offer to us. This process can be as short as one hour and can go on for several hours. The court orders that mediation takes place and that you and the other side appear in person at the mediation. The court does not order, or course, that the case be settled at mediation.
How much is my case worth?
Every case is at least slightly different. In personal injury cases, you are entitled to compensation for such things as pain and suffering (past and future); lost wages and ability to earn income (past and future); medical expenses (past and future); disfigurement; disability and loss of enjoyment of life (past and future). In order to evaluate your claim, we will have to speak with you and ask you some questions.
What are some of the questions I might be asked during the first initial contact with a personal injury attorney?
Some of the questions we will ask are the following and you can speed up the process by providing this information in your email or telephone call:
Full name, address, telephone number, fax number, email;
Date of birth;
When did the accident or incident occur (date and time);
Where did the accident happen;
Describe what happened and what caused the accident;
Describe your injuries;
When and how long were you treated in a hospital or physicians;
What are your medical expenses, including those which have been paid for and those which have not (and what medical expenses do you anticipate having in the future);
Have you lost time from work as a result of your accident? How much in lost wages have you incurred so far? How much in lost wages will you incur in the future?
Describe your disabilities and what you cant do now that you could do before the accident?
Were you ever treated for this type of injury or problem before this accident?
What is a soft tissue injury and how is it treated?
Most of the mass of a human body is connective tissue in one or more of its various forms: fibrous tissue, cartilage, bone, adipose, etc. Ligaments, tendons and fibrous capsules are all groups of connective tissue fibers arranged in the body in a largely parallel construction, thus providing great strength while also restricting movement. Ligaments connect bone to bone. Tendons are the fibrous ends of the skeletal muscle. Fibrous capsules surround joint cavities into the joint cavity.
Soft tissue (also known as Connective Tissue) injuries can be classified as contusions (bruises) sprains or trains. A sprain by definition is an injury to a ligament while a train involves injury to musculotendonous unit. The degree of injury and the location of the injury are important in determining what therapy is most appropriate.
Soft tissue injuries can be classified as first, second or third degree. First degree, are mild or minimal injuries. Second degree injuries, are moderate and involve partial tearing of a ligament of musculotendonous unit. The most severe injuries, involving the complete disruption of the ligament or musculotendounus unit, are classified as third degree injuries.
Initial therapy should include elevation and ice, an addition to assessment of the injury. The use of crutches or an arm sling may be indicated to immobilize the affected area. In some cases, third degree injuries require surgery. In any soft tissue injury and orthopedic surgeon can best determine the evaluation for treatment.
Personal Injuries - Negligence or Tort Law?
If you have suffered an injury and you think another person caused it negligently or intentionally, you may have a cause of action called tort.
Tort negligence occurs when the person who causes you to suffer a loss fails to exercise a reasonable amount of care under the circumstances. Every person owes others a duty of ordinary care under the circumstances.
A tort is the action (or in some cases, inaction) of another which injures you or damages your property, and which was the result of the negligence or the intentional misconduct of the person who committed it.
In order to recover you must show that the other person's actions (negligence) where the proximate cause of your injuries. You can only recover money damages for those injuries in the form of compensation for pain, suffering, and inconvenience; lost wages; and impairment to your ability to labor and earn money. The damages would those in the past and what you are reasonably likely to incur in the future.
For example, suppose you are driving home from work one day when a car fails to stop for a stop sign and strikes your vehicle broadside. The driver of the other car had a duty to yield the right of way to you. In doing so, he committed a tort of negligence, and you can file suit for the damages you suffered because of that negligence.
Some examples of personal injury lawsuits are:
i. Automobile accidents
ii. Slip and falls at stores or neighbors
iii. Dog bites of attacks
iv. Defective products
What is a reasonably prudent person?
In determining whether a person is guilty of a tort of negligence, the court asks whether or not the person accused of the tort acted as a "reasonably prudent person" would act in the same situation.
By a reasonably prudent person, the law generally means an adult of average age and experience who suffers from no physical or mental disability.
However, when judging the conduct of someone who is physically disabled, the law compares that person's conduct to what would be reasonably expected of a person with the same disability.
While the saw makes this concession in judging the actions of the physically disabled, it doesn't make a similar concession for those who suffer from a mental disability. So, for example, a person who would be considered mentally incompetent and unable to face criminal charges could still be sued for damages in a civil lawsuit.
What is an intentional tort?
An intentional tort occurs when someone deliberately takes some action (or fails to act) in a way that causes you harm. Some of the more common kinds of intentional torts are:
i. Assault (putting you in fear of an imminent attack)
ii. Battery (touching you in an offensive matter)
iv. Conversion (stealing your property)
v. False imprisonment (confining you against your will)
vi. Libel and slander (defaming you or damaging your reputation)
Another kind of intentional tort occurs when someone causes you anguish through outrageous conduct. This tort is known as the intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a person who engages in this kind of outrageous behavior can be liable for damages in a civil lawsuit.
Statues of limitations?
There is a time limit on when you can file suit after you know or should have know you were injured.
Therefore, it is always best to contact a lawyer as soon as you believe you may have a lawsuit because of a personal injury. Do not assume you have plenty of time, or that the time period has expired since this area is complicated with many rules and exceptions.
Furthermore, not all torts or claims for personal injuries have the same time periods for filing suit.