Insurance adjuster called me for a statement, what should I do?

Donít give a statement until you had an opportunity to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. If injuries became more serious over time, although you initially thought your injuries were minor, the insurance company will try to use your statement against you to attack your credibility and to question whether the accident was the cause of your alleged injuries. You are under no obligation to give a statement to the at fault partyís insurance company.

How much is my case worth?

Every case is unique, and there is no magic formula to determine how much your case is worth. If you suffered a serious injury that will require many months or years of treatment, call our office today to schedule a free consultation, and I can give you an initial evaluation of the possible settlement range based on my 30 years of experience handling injury claims. When you suffer serious injuries from an accident caused by someone elseís negligence, the legal system provides for money damages to compensate you. Georgia law allows you to recover three categories of damages: pain and suffering, lost wages, and reasonable and necessary medical expenses (even if your medical bills were paid by other insurance such as your health insurance and/or your own car insurance policy under medical payments coverage).

Generally medical bills and lost wages are easily determined in most cases, but the amount for your pain and suffering cannot be determined so easily because every person is unique. The duration and intensity of Joeís suffering is going to be different from that of Tomís suffering even if they had the same injury. An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your claim based on several factors including the nature and severity of your injuries, level of pain you experienced as a result of your injuries, types of medical treatment and length of treatment, how well you recovered from your injuries, whether your injury is permanent, how your injuries impacted your daily life, whether you will continue to experience pain and suffering in the future and many other factors that are specific to your situation.

The potential jury verdict at trial is very unpredictable, and no lawyer can guarantee a particular result in any case. Historically, jury verdicts in Georgia have been higher in the large metro counties like Dekalb County, Fulton County, Cobb County, Clayton County, Douglas County and Gwinnett County. If the insurance company refuses to settle for a reasonable amount, we file law suits in the legally proper county where you are likely to get the best possible result. In addition to the venue rules set forth in Georgia law, experienced personal injury lawyer will also consider which venue is generally most favorable to injured Plaintiffs. We regularly monitor jury verdicts in metro Atlanta area to keep abreast of what juries award to seriously injured accident victims, and we use that information to get the best negotiated settlement for our clients if the case can be settled before trial.

Do I need a lawyer to handle my case?

If you suffered a serious injury that requires extensive medical care, we recommend you contact our office to schedule a free consultation or another experienced personal injury lawyer. But if you suffered only a minor injury that required little or no treatment and you completely recovered after a few days, you may not need a lawyer. In minor injury cases with one or two visits to the doctor, most insurance companies will offer to pay your medical bills, lost wages and few hundred dollars for pain and suffering. You are welcome to call our office to schedule a free consultation, and we will tell you whether or not it makes sense for you to hire a lawyer.

When do I need to consult a lawyer?

You or your family should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as practical if you suffered serious injuries by the fault of someone else. Remember, the insurance company employs trained adjusters and investigators who investigate accidents promptly Ė usually within a few days - after it receives notice of the accident. Insurance companyís goal is to limit how much it might have to pay you for your claim. So, you are at a great disadvantage if you donít consult an experienced injury lawyer immediately. As time passes, witnesses become hard to track down, witnessí memory fades, critical physical evidence is lost or destroyed (sometimes intentionally), and proper accident investigation necessary to maximize your recovery becomes more and more challenging. It is very important that our law firm or another experienced personal injury attorney have an opportunity to investigate the accident, talk to any witnesses and to investigating police officers, often times visit the scene of the accident, inspect the vehicles involved, engage experts as needed and thoroughly investigate the accident to maximize your potential recovery.

Will I receive higher settlement if I hire a lawyer?

If you are seriously injured, you will almost always receive a higher settlement if you hire an experienced and knowledgeable injury attorney (i) who knows how to properly investigate your claim, (ii) who will present your claim persuasively to the insurance company, (iii) and who is able to litigate your case aggressively if insurance company refuses to pay reasonable settlement.

How should I choose an injury lawyer?

If you were seriously injured, would you want your claim handled by case managers at the offices of lawyers who advertise on TV? Typically, they operate on a business model of handling large volume of minor injury cases handled by a team of case managers and/or paralegals. Although the TV ads lead you to believe that your case would be handled by an experienced injury attorney, thatís not what really happens in most cases. They often settle cases quickly without regard to obtaining just compensation for your serious injuries.

If you hire our law firm, you will be talking to me or another experienced injury attorney in our office, and our attorneys handle your case from start to finish. Of course, Iíll be assisted by my associates or staff with routine follow ups, obtaining medical bills and records, writing, research and other office work. You need to hire an experienced, knowledgeable and caring injury attorney to maximize the amount of money you can recover for your serious injuries. Contact our office to schedule a free no obligation consultation and hire our office only if you are satisfied that we have the knowledge, experience and caring tenacity to fight for the just compensation you deserve.

Why should I hire your law firm?

We really care about our clients, and we work hard to get you the best result possible. Experience, knowledge, personal attention to your case and results sum it up. I started handling injury claims on behalf of insurance companies nearly 30 years ago, and I continued to handle injury cases as a defense lawyer for many years after I started my law practice in 1997. Since 2007, I have exclusively represented seriously injured persons and spouses and children of wrongful death victims. I use my extensive knowledge of the insurance companiesí claim handling practices and insurance defense strategies to prepare my clientsí cases for the sole purpose of obtaining the maximum possible recovery for my clients. My associates, staff and I are committed to helping you to recover maximum money damages for the serious injury you suffered, whether by settlement or by trial in front of a jury.

Who will pay my medical bills and lost wages?

Under Georgia law, your lost wages and medical bills are included as special damages, along with money damages for pain and suffering, that you are entitled to recover from the negligent party or its insurance company. However, you can submit your medical bills to your health insurance company (or your own car insurance company if you have Medical Payments coverage under your policy).

What is Medical Payments coverage?

In Georgia, you can obtain medical payments coverage under your own car insurance policy to cover medical expenses resulting from an automobile accident regardless of who was at fault. You should ask your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate medical payments coverage. If you are injured by the fault of someone else, your policy will pay your medical bills up to your medical payments coverage limit. Under current Georgia law, your insurance company is not entitled to reimbursement of the amount it paid under medical payments coverage when you receive a settlement from the at fault partyís insurance company.

Do I still have a claim if my insurance paid my medical bills?

Yes, you still have a legally valid claim against the at fault party for all of your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Georgia rules of evidence prohibit disclosure to the jury that your own insurance paid your medical bills.

How does the insurance company decide how much to pay me?

These days most major car insurance companies use computer software to decide how much they will offer you as settlement. The adjusters enter information from your medical records into the software, and it will generate a settlement range. Adjusters have limited authority to exceed the software generated settlement range, especially in cases involving only soft tissue injuries as opposed to fractures or disc injuries that are objectively diagnosed by MRI or CT scans. As with any other software program, it doesnít take into account subjective or unique ways the injuries caused you pain as opposed to an average person. There is no computer program that can (a) put a value on your pain and suffering and (b) fairly compensate you for how your injuries impacted your life. Imagine you have a little baby, but you canít pick her up for weeks and months because of extreme pain from the injuries you suffered. No computer program can put a value on that, only our human sense of fairness and justice can do that.

We present your case persuasively to the insurance company showing how your injuries have impacted your normal life; and, if the insurance company refuses to pay reasonable compensation, we will be prepared to file a lawsuit and proceed to trial. Typically, insurance companies will take a second look at their valuation of your case after a lawsuit is filed and they better understand their risks of a high jury verdict at trial. We have settled most of our injury law suits prior to trial either through mediation or direct settlement negotiations.

How long will it take to settle my case or go to trial?

We evaluate your claim and discuss with you our evaluation soon after your treatment is completed and all medical records, bills and any lost wage paperwork are received in our office. Based on the settlement range we mutually agree to after our discussion, we will prepare and submit a demand package to the insurance company fully documenting your injuries, all of your medical expenses, disabilities, lost wages and any other special damages and the nature and extent of your pain and suffering. Most insurance companies will respond to our initial demand within 30 days and generally negotiations back and forth could take another month. Most pre lawsuit settlements would happen within 3 Ė 4 months of completion of treatment. If a reasonable amount is not offered during negotiations, we proceed to file a lawsuit promptly. After a lawsuit is filed, cases settle or will be set for trial generally within 1 Ė 2 years in most metro Atlanta counties.

Who pays for my injury if the person who hit my car didnít have insurance?

If you were hit by an uninsured driver, you can make a claim under your own car insurance if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage under your own policy. You should talk to your agent about obtaining sufficient amount of uninsured motorist coverage to protect you in the event you are seriously injured by an uninsured driver.

What is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured/underinsured coverage is intended to provide you compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages and pain and suffering if you were hit by a driver who had no insurance or had insufficient amount of insurance relative to the value of your claim. In Georgia, uninsured/underinsured coverage is optional, but you should talk to your insurance agent to obtain sufficient amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage because, sadly, there are many drivers on the road who either do not have insurance or have only the minimum insurance coverage required under Georgia law - $25,000. If you suffer a serious injury, $25,000 is hardly enough to cover your medical bills, much less compensate you for pain and suffering and any future medical care you might need. High limits of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage under your own car insurance policy will provide you some protection if you were hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Do I need to pay court costs and case expenses up front?

No. When we represent you in an injury case, we will advance the court costs and case expenses and you will reimburse us such costs and expenses when we obtain a settlement or collect a judgment on your behalf. Under Georgia law and rules, although Georgia lawyers are allowed to advance the costs and expenses of their clientís case, the client remains responsible for reimbursement of those costs and expenses in the event a case results in no recovery or insufficient recovery.

How does your law firm get paid?

When we accept your case, we enter into a written contingency fee agreement with you which will provide that you will pay as our legal fees an agreed upon percentage of the amount we recover on your behalf.