Atlanta, GA Personal Injury FAQ
Have you been injured in an accident in Georgia? You probably have many questions about Georgia’s personal injury claims. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys can address your concerns during a free consultation.
Hasner Law, P.C. has over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury law. We’ve recovered millions of dollars for individuals and families in GA.
Our goal is to answer as many questions for you as possible online. However, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with our law firm to discuss your personal injury case with an experienced personal injury attorney.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law is based on tort law. Tort law attempts to make a person “whole” again after an accident. Being “whole” means the person is as close to their position before the accident as possible.
Unfortunately, the justice system cannot turn back time to undo your injuries. However, it can make you “whole” by requiring the at-fault party to compensate you for your damages.
What is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury case is a dispute between two or more parties about an accident or injury. The case can arise from various situations, including car accidents, wrongful death, slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, and many more situations.
We work to settle your personal injury case as quickly as possible for the largest amount available for your case. If necessary, we can file a lawsuit to force the other party to address the allegations of fault during a trial.
Who Can File a Personal Injury Claim?
Generally, if another person caused your injuries, you should be able to file a personal injury claim in Georgia. However, there are exceptions.
For example, if the jurors determine that no one, not even a reasonable person, could have foreseen what would happen, they might find that the other party is not liable for your damages.
Therefore, a careful analysis of your accident’s details and circumstances is the only way to determine if you have a personal injury claim.
Why Should I File a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?
The best way to determine if you should file a personal injury claim is to meet with an accident attorney. A personal injury lawyer reviews your case to determine what happened and whether another party could be responsible for your damages. If so, the attorney provides legal advice and explains the next steps to hold the at-fault party financially responsible for your damages.
How Much is My Claim Worth?
The value of your personal injury claims depends on the facts of your case. Factors that can impact how much your injury claim is worth include:
- The duration of your recovery
- Whether you sustained catastrophic injuries or permanent disabilities
- The value of your economic damages
- If you had any responsibility for the cause of the accident or your injury
- Failing to mitigate damages
- The availability of insurance coverage
- The parties involved in the case, such as government entities, trucking companies, specific insurance companies, high-net-worth defendants, etc.
- Whether multiple parties could be liable for your damages
There could be other factors that impact how much money you can receive for your claim. Our legal team carefully analyzes each relevant factor. We work to minimize factors that could lower the value of your case while maximizing the factors that increase how much an injury claim is worth.
What Compensation Can I Recover from a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Atlanta, GA?
The amount of compensation you can recover for a personal injury lawsuit depends on several factors. Your injuries and financial losses influence the value of a personal injury case heavily.
In most injury cases, accident victims can receive compensation for their economic damages and non-economic damages. The victim may receive punitive damages in limited situations.
These damages compensate you for your financial losses. Examples of economic losses in an injury case include:
- Medical bills
- Cost of personal care and in-home health care
- Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other types of therapy
- Medical supplies and medications
- Surgeries and hospitalizations
- Loss of income and benefits
- Reductions in future earning potential
- Travel costs
- Helps with household chores, child care, and errands
- Travel expenses to and from doctor’s visits
The value of your economic damages is the total of the actual costs incurred for each damage.
Your non-economic damages represent the pain and suffering you experienced because of your injuries and the accident.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Emotional distress and mental anguish, including PTSD, depression, fear, and anxiety
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Disabilities and permanent impairments
- Loss of enjoyment of life and ability to return to normal daily activities
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life
Pain and suffering damages are subjective. There is not a “price tag” or “invoice” we can use to calculate the value of non-economic damages. Therefore, we often use a multiplier method to value these damages. The more severe the injury, the higher the multiplier.
Economic and non-economic damages are compensatory damages. They “compensate” you for losses you incur because of another party’s negligence or wrongdoing.
Punitive damages “punish” a defendant for gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing. When punitive damages are awarded, the victim receives the money. However, punitive damages are rare in personal injury cases.
What Georgia Personal Injury Laws Impact My Case’s Value?
Many personal injury laws impact the outcome of an accident case. Georgia’s comparative fault law is one example.
Comparative fault rules reduce an accident victim’s damages by the percentage of responsibility they have for their injuries.
In other words, if you are partially at fault for the cause of your accident, you cannot recover the full amount of your damages. For example, if you are 30 percent at fault for a motorcycle crash, your compensation for the injury claim is reduced by 30 percent.
Georgia’s comparative fault laws prohibit you from recovering any damages if you are over 50 percent at fault.
What is the Burden of Proof in Personal Injury Cases?
The burden of proving that another party caused your injuries is on you, the injury victim. Fortunately, the burden of proof in a personal injury case is lower than the burden of proof in criminal cases.
You only need to prove your case by a “preponderance of the evidence.” A preponderance of the evidence means that it is “more likely than not” that the defendant caused your accident and damages.
Negligence per se applies in some personal injury cases. The defendant is presumed to be negligent if they broke a law and caused you harm. The law must be designed to protect the public interest and have a criminal penalty for a conviction.
Strict liability applies in product liability cases and a few other types of personal injury claims. Strict liability means that a product manufacturer is liable for any damages caused by the defective product once you prove the product was defective. You do not need to prove intent or negligence in strict liability cases.
How Do I Prove Fault in a Personal Injury Case?
Fault for an accident is based on negligence.
The legal elements of a negligence claim are:
- The other party owed you a duty of care
- The other party breached that duty of care
- The breach was the direct and proximate cause of your injury
- You sustained damages because of the breach and injury
The evidence used to prove negligence varies depending on the case. For example, evidence in a bicycle accident case could include:
- The police or accident report
- Videos and photographs of the accident scene
- A video of the collision from traffic cameras or surveillance cameras
- Statements and testimony from eyewitnesses, drivers, and passengers
- Copies of medical records
- Cell phone records and information on vehicle data recorders
- Testimony from expert witnesses and accident reconstructionists
Causation is one of the most challenging elements of a negligence claim. If you cannot prove that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries, you cannot recover compensation for a claim.
Our personal injury attorneys investigate and search for evidence to prove each element of your personal injury claim. We explore every avenue to maximize your chance of recovering fair compensation for your claim.
What Are Common Atlanta, GA Personal Injury Practice Areas?
Injuries can arise from numerous accidents or incidents. Therefore, there are numerous personal injury practice areas.
Our legal team handles cases involving:
- Nursing home abuse
- Dog bites
- Motor vehicle accidents, including accidents involving pedestrians, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, buses, cars, and MARTA transportation
- Construction accidents
- Wrongful death
- Medical malpractice
- Defective product claims (product liability)
- Slip and fall accidents and other premises liability claims
- Workplace accidents
We value our attorney client relationship with our clients. We work on a contingency fee for most personal injury cases. Our goal is to recover the maximum amount for your personal injury claim in the least amount of time.
However, we never rush through cases or accept low settlement offers just to move a file off our desk. We always have your best interest as our top priority.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?
You have a time limit for filing lawsuits related to personal injuries. The Georgia statute of limitations (deadline) for most personal injury cases is two years from the injury date. If you do not file your personal injury case before the deadline, you are barred from seeking compensation for damages through the courts.
Of course, there are exceptions to the two-year deadline. For example, the statute of limitations may be tolled for minors.
A minor cannot file a lawsuit until the age of 18 years. Therefore, if a parent does not file a lawsuit before the child turns 18, the child has two years from his 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.
There are exceptions for individuals who flee the state or cannot reasonably discover the injury before the two-year deadline. However, you should never assume that you have more time to file a lawsuit.
In cases involving a government entity, you have just six months from the injury date to file a notice of claim. Some local ordinances could set shorter deadlines. Failing to file the notice of claim before the deadline means you could lose your right to sue the government.
It is always best to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to avoid missing a filing deadline.
How Long Will My Case Take?
The timeline for a personal injury case depends on the case. For example, an accident case involving minor injuries, no disputes related to liability, and a reasonable claims adjuster might settle within a couple of months after the person completes treatment.
On the other hand, if you sustained traumatic injuries, we do not want to settle your case until your complete medical treatment, which could take many months. This is the case because your doctors cannot tell us if you have permanent impairments (which generally increases the value of your claim) until you complete treatment.
Likewise, if there are multiple parties, it could take time to sort out who is liable and how much responsibility they have for the cause of your injury.
If the insurance provider refuses to negotiate in good faith, we may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. Unfortunately, the lawsuit could take more than a year to go to trial.
We understand that you need your money as soon as possible. Our legal team will do everything possible to resolve your case quickly without decreasing the value of your claim. We update you on the progress of your case and discuss all settlement offers with you.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta, GA?
As we stated above, we accept most injury cases on a contingency fee basis. What does that mean for you? It means that you do not pay any upfront attorneys’ fees or retainer fees.
In other words, if you do not get paid, we do not get paid.
Our attorneys’ fees are based on the amount of money we recover for your claim. We agree to a specific percentage when you hire our law firm. When we settle your claim or receive a jury verdict, we deduct an amount equal to the percentage we agreed up when you hired us.
A contingency fee allows you to hire a law firm, even if you struggle to make ends meet after an accident or injury. It also means you can trust we will aggressively pursue the largest settlement amount possible because our fees are based on the amount we recover for your injury claim.
Call Our Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers Today for a Free Consultation
You probably have other questions about personal injury claims. We encourage you to contact our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our Georgia personal injury lawyers.
You may also find additional information about injury claims in our blogs and articles library, provided free of charge.