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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  • Can a Motorcycle Accident Cause PTSD?

    Yes, a motorcycle accident can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying or horrific event. The motorcyclist can have a severe emotional response following an accident. PTSD is more than normal feelings of guilt or anger. It is an emotional response that affects the daily life of the motorcyclist.

    Signs and Symptoms of PTSD After an Accident

    Symptoms of PTSD may occur within a month of the motorcycle accident, or they may not appear until years after the crash. A person with PTSD may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

    • Ongoing general anxiety or anxiety triggered by seeing or getting onto a motorcycle
    • Refusal of medical tests or procedures
    • Nightmares and difficulty sleeping
    • Excessive worry or unreasonable anger
    • Inability to connect with people
    • Suicidal thoughts

    The critical distinction between PTSD and normal reactions following a motorcycle wreck is the impact of PTSD on the motorcyclist's day-to-day activities. The motorcyclist re-enacts the crash in his or her mind, becomes easily stressed, and avoids situations that trigger memories of the collision.

    Recovering Compensation for PTSD After a Motorcycle Accident

    In some circumstances, you may be eligible to file a claim to recover compensation for a mental injury, such as PTSD. However, there are several things our injury firm must do:

    Provide Proof to Recover Compensation for PTSD After a Motorcycle Accident

    We must prove that a doctor diagnosed your PTSD. We must also show the relationship between the PTSD and the accident. Even if the PTSD diagnosis preceded the accident, you may still be able to recover some compensation if the accident made the PTSD worse.

    Proving the Other Party Caused or Contributed to the Motorcycle Accident

    We must prove that the negligence or reckless conduct of the other driver caused the accident. This might include behavior such as distracted driving, driving over the speed limit, or disobeying a red light.

    Reduction or Bar to Recovery If Your Conduct Caused the Accident

    Georgia’s comparative fault law can reduce your potential recovery or bar you from obtaining compensation entirely. For example, say an investigation found the other driver to be 80 percent at fault and you to be 20 percent at fault. You would be entitled to 80 percent of your demand. If you demanded $20,000, you would be able to recover $16,000.

    The comparative negligence law can also bar you from recovering compensation. Georgia follows a 50 percent bar rule which means the state will bar you from recovering compensation if you contributed 50 percent or more to the cause of the accident.

    When to File a Claim to Recover Compensation for PTSD

    We must file a lawsuit for physical injuries arising out of the accident within a certain time of the accident. The time varies from state to state. Georgia imposes a two-year time limit. If you fail to file suit within those two years, Georgia will throw out your lawsuit.

    Proving That the Motorcyclist Suffers PTSD from the Accident

    To prove you have PTSD caused by the accident, a doctor must give an opinion that the accident caused the PTSD. An expert witness can explain in an affidavit, a deposition, or in court the causal connection between the accident and the PTSD.

    Other witnesses will also be valuable in proving your PTSD. These witnesses may be a spouse, a friend, or a co-worker who has daily interaction with you. They can support your case in several ways:

    • Relate how your conduct changed after the accident.
    • Give examples of episodes they observed.
    • Explain the impact of PTSD on your daily activities.

    We will determine what witnesses might be helpful in your case.

    Receiving Compensation for PTSD

    The compensation for PTSD might include the following:

    • Medical expenses from psychologists and psychiatrists
    • Costs of prescriptions
    • Lost wages
    • Loss of earning capacity
    • Compensation for pain and suffering
    • Compensation for mental anguish

    You can take action that will help us when negotiating a settlement or trying your case in court:

    • Keep records of your prescriptions and any medical bills you receive
    • Keep track of missed days of work
    • Jot down notes of nightmares, bouts with depression, and feelings of anxiety

    How S. Burke Law Can Help

    The S. Burke Law motorcycle accident team will negotiate with the insurance company to get you a settlement for your PTSD. If negotiations do not yield a reasonable settlement, we can gather evidence, interview witnesses, hire experts, and present your case in court.

    If you have questions, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.

  • What Is the Role of a Car Insurance Adjuster?

    The role of a car insurance adjuster is to investigate the circumstances of a car crash after you file a personal injury or property damage claim. In addition to investigating your claim, car insurance adjusters also negotiate and issue settlements once their investigations are complete and they come to a decision on what they believe the insurance company owes you after an accident.

    Primary Roles of Insurance Adjusters

    We discussed above that the car insurance adjusters investigate accidents and eventually negotiate settlements. More specifically, car insurance adjusters do the following after an accident:

    Inspect Damage to the Vehicle

    Inspecting the vehicle often reveals points of impact which may help indicate who was at fault in an accident.

    Review Police Reports

    Police reports are also a key element in determining the degree of fault a driver has in an accident.

    Speak to Witnesses

    Witnesses are often an unbiased source in accidents. They can add significant supporting evidence to a personal injury claim.

    Attempt to Interview the Car Owners

    The insurance adjuster will also attempt to get statements from everyone involved in an accident to supplement their reports.

    While the above is an overview of what adjusters do, there is more specialization than most people realize with them.

    Types of Car Insurance Adjusters

    Depending on the accident and its circumstances, you deal with a different type of adjuster who will investigate your claim. And knowing the type of adjuster you are dealing with in your claim could greatly aid the process of hopefully collecting a claim. The following are the three types of adjusters you will likely come across:

    Staff Adjusters

    These adjusters work directly for the insurance company. Their primary goal is generally to keep costs as low as possible for their employer. That usually means attempting to minimize payouts.

    Independent Adjusters

    Both insurance companies and individuals can hire independent adjusters.

    Public Adjusters

    These adjusters work directly on your behalf as a policyholder. They want to get you as much money as possible. Public adjusters are particularly useful because they help policyholders file counterclaims if the settlement presented by the insurance company appears insufficient.

    Be Careful When Dealing with Insurance Adjusters

    As we mentioned above, adjusters want to pay you as little as possible. They have several ways of doing this:

    Adjusters May Try to Get You to Sign Medical Authorizations

    The insurance adjuster may claim the insurer wants access to your medical records to determine the severity of your injury. To obtain these records, the adjuster may ask you to sign a medical authorization.

    What many people do not realize, however, is that a medical authorization often gives the insurer access to your entire medical history. The insurer can then scour your records to find a preexisting condition or old injury to blame your symptoms on to avoid paying you.

    Adjusters May Try to Get Recorded Statements

    We also mentioned above that insurance adjusters will often request statements from both parties. However, it is usually best not to accept the request for one. The reason for this is that the adjuster is usually doing their best to get you to say something which will hurt your case. If you do submit a statement, it is best to do so with the guidance of a personal injury attorney.

    Adjusters May Offer You a Very Low Settlement

    Insurance adjusters know that many people are desperate for money after an accident. They need to pay medical bills and cover the wages they lost if their injuries kept them out of work. Many adjusters use this against you and offer you a low settlement, hoping you will take whatever you can get.

    Call an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney

    While getting into a car accident is a fairly common occurrence, many people feel intimidated when dealing with insurance companies and adjusters.

    That is why working with someone who has experience on both sides of the table is so valuable. Sheryl Burke, who once worked for a large insurance company before opening her personal injury firm, is ideally placed to help you.

    Insurance companies have teams supporting their efforts. And you should have the same when you are involved in an accident. If you or a loved one about was involved in an accident recently, we encourage you to call Atlanta car accident lawyer Sheryl Burke. The S. Burke Law team prides itself on representing the interests of Atlanta’s citizens.

    To learn more about how we can help you, call us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.

  • Can a Slip and Fall Cause Sciatica?

    Yes, a slip and fall can cause sciatica.

    How a Slip and Fall Causes Sciatica

    Sciatica can be a result of a herniated disc, bulging disc, bone spur, or narrowing of the spine. When you slip and fall, the trauma of the impact can cause a disc in your back to herniate (e.g., when a disc between the vertebrae tears and the nucleus pushes through that tear, pinching nearby nerves). If a disc herniates near the sciatic nerve, you may develop sciatica.

    Symptoms of Sciatica

    The symptoms and pain associated with sciatica can vary greatly depending on the person. But knowing what symptoms to look out for is the first step to determining if you have sciatica and the cause of it. Sciatica occurs when there is irritation at the sciatic nerve, which causes significant discomfort. 

    The sciatic nerve controls the muscles in the legs and buttocks, leading to significant weakness when irritated. The following is a list of symptoms associated with sciatica:

    • Constant pain in your lower back
    • Persistent pain in your buttocks or leg
    • Muscle weakness or numbness
    • Bowel or bladder issues
    • Sudden sharp pain (often when sneezing, coughing, or sitting for a prolonged period of time)

    In many cases, you will only feel symptoms on one side of your body. Knowing the symptoms associated with sciatica is not only important for you to seek out treatment. Identifying these symptoms and seeking medical attention can also directly impact your ability to file a personal injury claim.

    Treating Sciatica after a Slip and Fall

    Of course, simply knowing the symptoms of sciatica is just the first step. You will want to visit your doctor to confirm your symptoms are indeed sciatica. Hospitals use a variety of methods to confirm that you have sciatica. Those methods include:

    • MRIs
    • CT scans
    • X-rays
    • EMG

    These tests will confirm your injury and begin the treatment process. Depending on the severity of your sciatica, there are several available treatments. Those treatments include:

    • Physical Therapy: Therapy can involve exercises intended to loosen muscles and improve flexibility.
    • Medication: Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories and more to address your symptoms.
    • Steroid Injections: For serious cases of sciatica, steroid injections may be necessary to reduce pain and inflammation.
    • Surgery: Surgery may be necessary to remove the part of the herniated disc that is placing pressure on the sciatic nerve.

    While getting your symptoms addressed and getting yourself well is your primary goal here, it is not the only one. Like we briefly mentioned above, seeking medical attention can directly affect your personal injury claim.

    Recovering Compensation for Your Sciatica from Your Slip and Fall

    In the aftermath of slip and falls, your primary objective will be demonstrating fault and negligence. In most cases, that is a matter of establishing the elements of negligence which are:

    Duty of Care

    The at-fault party must have owed you a duty of care. For example, per premises liability laws, all property owners owe a duty of care to keep their homes or businesses safe for invited guests and visitors.

    Breach of Duty

    The party breached that duty. For example, the manager of a grocery store knows their fridge is leaking. The manager does not get the fridge fixed or place a “Wet Floor” sign in front of the spill. You slip and fall in the spill.


    You must prove your injury resulted from the slip and fall. In some injury cases, demonstrating this is relatively simple. For example, if you slip and fall and break your arm, it is reasonably easy to prove causation in this case. But sciatica presents a different brand of issues.

    Because sciatica is generally a degenerative condition, it is likely that the responsible party will argue that you had a pre-existing condition and that your fall did not cause it.

    This could substantially lower what you can collect in a settlement. Particularly if you are someone above the age of 50. But this is also where your medical records and seeking treatment becomes valuable. If you can compare your MRIs, x-rays, etc. after your accident to your records from before the slip and fall, you prove that your condition is new.


    Lastly, you must prove you suffered damages. This might include:

    • Medical bills
    • Lost wages
    • Lost earning capacity
    • Pain and suffering

    Discuss Your Case with an Atlanta Slip and Fall Attorney

    Sciatica can be an expensive, often life-altering injury. After suffering such an injury, it is common to wonder how you will make ends meet. While S. Burke Law cannot guarantee you a particular dollar amount in a settlement, our injury attorney will fight to get you every cent you deserve.

    If you or a loved one suffered an injury like sciatica in a slip and fall recently, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our slip and fall accident team will do everything in its power to get you the settlement you need. Call us at 404-842-7838.

  • Truck Accident Without Insurance: What do I Do?

    If you were in a truck accident without insurance, you may still be eligible to recover compensation.

    Recovering Compensation for a Truck Accident While Uninsured

    You must be able to prove the other driver was at least 50 percent at fault to be eligible for compensation. This is due to Georgia’s comparative negligence law which allows an injured party to recover compensation even if they contributed to the accident. However, they must also be less than 50 percent at fault for a crash to qualify for compensation.

    How the Comparative Negligence Law Applies

    For example, say a truck driver rear-ended you after you slammed on your brakes to avoid debris in the road. The truck driver was following you too closely, so the investigation found the trucking company liable for 90 percent of the damages. However, because one of your taillights had burnt out, the investigation found you 10 percent at fault.

    You would be eligible for 90 percent of your damages demand. For example, if you requested $100,000, you would be able to recover $90,000. Unfortunately, you would be responsible for paying that last $10,000 out of pocket because you do not have insurance.

    Holding the Truck Carrier Liable for Your Truck Wreck

    As we stated above, you would hold the trucking company liable for your injuries. This is due to vicarious liability laws which state that an employer is responsible for any actions its employees take within the scope of their employment.

    Holding the Truck Carrier Vicariously Liable

    If a truck driver causes an accident while performing work-related duties, the truck carrier will likely be your liable party.

    The truck carrier may be vicariously liable in any of the following situations:

    • The truck driver was fatigued, intoxicated, or distracted
    • The driver was driving recklessly (e.g., speeding, following too closely, etc.)
    • The driver was negligent in any other way (e.g., failing to adequately check blind spots before changing lanes)

    Holding the Truck Carrier Directly Liable

    In some cases, the truck carrier can be directly liable. This is common in cases of negligent hiring or situations in which a driver felt pressured to drive past the legally allowed hours.

    For example, say a truck carrier knew of an applicant’s history of driving while intoxicated. Even though the carrier knew another state had revoked the driver’s commercial license for a time in the past for DUI, it decides to take a chance on the driver. If that driver operates his truck under the influence and causes an accident, the truck carrier can be liable for negligent hiring.

    An employer can also be liable for negligent hiring in other situations. A carrier can be liable if it did not:

    • Adequately check references
    • Conduct a sufficient background check
    • Conduct a drug test before offering the driver a job
    • Conduct a skills test
    • Conduct a credentials check

    A carrier can also be directly liable if it pressured or forced drivers to violate hours of service rules or to disobey traffic laws such as driving faster than posted speed limits to finish a delivery more quickly.

    How S. Burke Law Can Help You Recover Compensation

    Our team will handle your entire case from start to finish.

    Building a Robust Case

    We will build your case from the ground up, creating a convincing argument that establishes the truck carrier’s liability. We will gather all necessary evidence to prove the driver caused the accident.

    Defending You Against Accusations of Liability

    In addition to establishing the truck carrier’s liability, we will attempt to mitigate your own responsibility for the crash. This is important as every percentage of liability on your part decreases the compensation to which you are entitled. As truck crashes often lead to catastrophic or fatal injuries, even 10-percent liability on your part could cost you thousands or more.

    Call an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney

    Accidents are complex in normal circumstances. But being involved in a crash with a commercial truck when you are uninsured takes that to another level. You likely feel like you are in a hopeless situation right now.

    However, our team prides itself on representing personal injury victims with different stories and circumstances. Our truck accident lawyer can walk you through the details of your case, help determine who you can file a claim against, and ultimately help you get the compensation you need right now.

    If you would like to hear more about how our law firm can help you, do not hesitate to call us at 404-842-7838 right now for a free consultation.

  • 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.

  • Will Homeowner's Insurance Cover Personal Injury?

    Yes, homeowner’s insurance does cover personal injury. However, like any other personal injury case, collecting a settlement requires proving the homeowner was liable for the accident and your injuries.

    Most people typically think homeowner’s insurance only covers disasters like fires and floods. But most homeowner’s insurance policies cover injuries in a home with their personal injury liability coverages as well. Personal injury liability covers a variety of injuries around the house and, in some cases, outside the home.

    Common Types of Home Accidents  

    Accidents can happen anywhere, and a residential home is no exception. Homeowner’s insurance protects you from recourse to those accidents. And, as we mentioned above, this protection occasionally extends beyond the person’s physical home.

    Like a private property owner, homeowners have a duty of care to their guests. Owners must maintain the safety of the premises for any guests visiting their property. And they must also warn their guests about any potential dangers which may raise the risk for injury on the premises. The following are the most common types of home accidents:

    Slip and Fall Accidents

    Slip and falls are common residential accidents. A homeowner may be liable for your slip and fall injuries if it occurs in the following situations:

    • Rugs (particularly without proper grip pads or holes)
    • Wet floors
    • Ice or snow
    • Cracks in the floor or concrete on the property

    Accidents on Staircases

    Accidents on stairs are another common occurrence. And they often lead to severe injuries because you may roll down them rather than falling in one swoop like most slip and fall accidents. The following are common causes of staircase accidents:

    • Missing handrails or poorly placed handrails
    • Water, grease or any other foreign substances on the handrails
    • Poorly placed carpets and rugs on the stairs
    • Shallow steps

    Swimming Pool Accidents

    Swimming pools offer a great form of recreation but are often the cause of serious accidents. And in many instances, you may have a case for wrongful death if someone drowns in your pool. However, one thing to note is that homeowner’s insurance only covers you if you were injured when after an invite to the pool. Coverage does not include trespassers.

    Dog Bites

    Homeowners are also liable for your injuries if his or her dog bites you. A dog is part of your home, and a homeowner must keep you safe from a potentially dangerous dog. But one thing to note is that homeowner’s insurance covers your dog bite injuries even if the dog bite did not occur on the owner’s property.

    Proving Liability after Residential Accidents

    An accident occurring in someone else’s home is only part of the puzzle when seeking damages from homeowner’s insurance. You must also prove that the homeowner was liable for your injury. Accomplishing this requires proving negligence on the part of the property owner.

    A premises liability lawyer may be of great help if you got hurt one somebody’s property.

    For example, if you suffered a slip and fall, you must prove that the accident was preventable. You must demonstrate that the homeowner was aware or should have been aware of potential risks. If you fell because there was a conspicuous hole in the homeowner’s lawn, you may be able to prove the homeowner was negligence in not fixing or warning of the hole.

    Potential Compensation for a Personal Injury in Atlanta

    Everyone feels a bit of uncertainty when deciding to file a personal injury claim. You are likely wondering if it is worth it and what damages you can collect. While S. Burke Law cannot guarantee you any specific amount of damages, we can seek the following on your behalf:

    • Medical expenses: This includes ambulance bills, hospital stays, medication, therapy and more.
    • Lost wages: Any time you miss at work can be a portion of your reimbursement.

    Call an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney

    If you or someone you care about is need of compensation after a residential accident, we encourage you to reach out to S. Burke Law. Our team dedicates itself to representing the victims of serious accidents. Our service begins with a free consultation. Call us at 404-842-7838 today to schedule your free consultation with a member of our legal team. 

  • Can a Personal Injury Case Be Reopened?

    No, generally you cannot reopen a closed personal injury case. Once you sign a release to settle the case, you are essentially signing away your right to pursue further compensation for the accident.

    However, there are a few circumstances in which you may be able to reopen the case.

    Nevertheless, it is important to build a solid case that accounts for all your current and future damages so you are not left in a position looking to reopen a closed case.

    Signing a Release Ends Your Personal Injury Case

    Signing a release is the moment you officially end your personal injury case. A release typically presents a settlement offer for a certain amount of money. But what many people do not realize is that you are also signing your right to pursue further damages away for a certain amount of money and other damages. Only you can sign a release, not your attorney.

    Most releases usually dictate terms for what your claim and damages are worth including:

    • Medical expenses: Based on the cost of medical bills, such as ambulance bills, medication, therapy and projected costs of long-term medical care if necessary.
    • Lost wages: Reimbursing you for losses when you miss time at work and can include the time missed because of scheduled doctor’s appointments. Occasionally, it includes lost earning potential.
    • Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering is not part of all settlements, but it is not uncommon. If you receive damages for pain and suffering, it varies depending on the extent of your injuries and length of your recovery.

    Why You Might Want to Reopen a Case

    Most people who want to reopen their claims do so because they believe they did not receive enough compensation for their damages.

    One example would if you suffered a leg injury and discovered that you would require long-term medical assistance for the rest of your life. You rightly believe that you deserve a more substantial settlement to satisfy these costs, but unfortunately, you probably cannot receive one because you already signed a settlement agreement.

    A release is a legally binding document that most courts will uphold barring specific circumstances.

    Unfortunately, signing a release prematurely or discovering unexpected medical costs do not typically qualify as circumstances that allow you to reopen most personal injury claims.

    It is for these reasons that it is imperative to have a personal injury lawyer on your side who can help you value your case and can advise you on when to accept a settlement offer.

    Personal Injury Case Settlements Made in Bad Faith

    One of the rare instances in which you can reopen a personal injury claim is if you believe the settlement is in bad faith. While it is difficult to prove, it is possible.

    A settlement made in bad faith requires demonstrating that the defendant or insurance company defrauded you or your attorney at the time, which led you to settle.

    If fraud is at play in your initial settlement, it may be possible to void the settlement. From there, you may be able to reopen the case and pursue further compensation for your damages.

    Call a Personal Injury Attorney at S. Burke Law for a Free Case Review

    Getting compensation for your injuries the first time you file a personal injury claim can be challenging. Attempting to reopen a previously closed claim is nearly impossible.

    That is why working an attorney dedicated to getting you the money you deserve the first time is vital. When execution of your first personal injury case is correct, there should not be a need to reopen the claim.

    Our legal team thoroughly examines the circumstances of your accident but also ensures that your diagnosis of injuries is accurate. If you or someone you care about recently suffered an injury in an accident, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law for a free consultation. Schedule one today at 404-842-7838.

  • What is Vicarious Liability?

    Vicarious liability is a component of law which holds a third party responsible for the negligent actions of another related party. Vicarious liability commonly relates to accidents involving employees who behave negligently within the scope of their duties.

    This type of vicarious liability is known as respondeat superior, which specifies that employers are vicariously responsible for accidents and injuries involving their employees even when they have no direct link to the event.

    Examples of Vicarious Liability in a Truck Accident

    One way vicarious liability can come into play is when filing a claim or lawsuit against a trucking company. In most cases, you can hold both the truck carrier and the driver liable for any injuries the driver causes. There may be various reasons to hold the employer responsible for the truck accident.

    These two examples can better explain vicarious liability:

    • Example 1: A driver wants to finish his deliveries early, so he speeds through traffic. He rear-ends a driver. You would assume that the driver would be your only liable party as he acted negligently and caused the collision. However, the truck carrier would be vicariously liable for any injuries that result as the driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the crash.
    • Example 2: A driver violates hours of service laws and remains on the road longer than legally allowed. He falls asleep at the wheel and crashes into another vehicle. The trucking company would be liable for this as well.

    The truck carrier would likely be liable even if it expressly forbade these types of behavior.

    What Happens if the Truck Carrier Pressures a Driver to Do Something that Results in Injuries?

    Let us revisit Example 2. While truck drivers often decide on their own to violate hours of service rules, in some cases, a trucking company pressures or forces its drivers to do so. In this case, the truck carrier would be directly liable for any injuries the truck driver causes. This might mean the truck carrier is fully liable for any injuries that result.

    Call an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney

    Accidents happen all the time and are often difficult to deal with. One of those difficulties is determining who you can seek damages from. Making sure you meet your expenses and needs ranks high on your list of priorities after an accident. Determining who is liable in an accident is essential, but it is often quite complicated.

    But this is also where a truck accident lawyer from S. Burke Law can help you. Our team prides itself on simplifying complicated legal concepts for our clients as we aid them on the path to personal and financial recovery.

    If you or someone you care about was involved in an accident recently, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our team pores over the details of every potential claim and walks you through your options. We can help determine if you have a case for vicarious liability. Call us at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation.