Personal Injury FAQs
If you have sustained injuries in any type of accident, you may be considering hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you. You’re also likely to have a lot of questions for your attorney. Morrison & Hughes personal injury law firm is happy to answer some of the most frequently asked question we hear from our clients.
What Should I Do Right After an Accident?
To protect the safety of everyone involved, call 911 immediately if you’re able to or flag someone to do it for you. Don’t attempt to move injured people until help arrives. Document the scene the best you can, including writing down accident details, names of witnesses, and name of the responding police officer, and take photos if possible.
How Long Do I Have to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?
The personal injury statute of limitations typically allows two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the other party. We will discuss possible exceptions to this when we meet with you for a consultation.
However, don’t wait 2 years to call! It takes some time to prepare paperwork and have it filed with the court. Evidence also disappears very quickly, and evidence is all you have to prove your case. At least call for a free consultation as soon as you can.
Should I Accept a Settlement from the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
Your personal injury attorney will likely advise you not to settle a claim right away. The reason is that it’s rarely in your best interests to do so. Because the insurance company wants to settle quickly, the agent will offer you a lowball amount knowing that you may be desperate for the money. We recommend that you speak with a personal injury attorney at Morrison & Hughes before considering any settlement offer. Your lawyer may be able to obtain a higher settlement on your behalf by negotiating with the insurance agent representing the other party.
How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question since every accident and case is different. If your case goes to court, the jury will consider both special and general damages. Special damages are typically straightforward and represent your actual financial losses for medical expenses, time missed from work, and property damage. It can also include projected future losses if your doctor does not expect you to return to the same job in the same capacity.
General damages are more subjective and can include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. The severity of your injuries, the sympathy the jury has for your situation, and how well you and your personal injury attorney can prove your claim all play a factor in your settlement amount.
How Much Will It Cost Me to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Clients typically pay little to nothing when pursuing a personal injury case. That is because we offer the initial consultation at no charge and work your case on a contingency basis. Contingency means we don’t receive payment for our work unless and until we settle a lawsuit successfully in your favor. At that point, we would deduct a percentage of your proceeds to cover our legal fees. You owe us nothing if we don’t win your case. If any exceptions apply in your situation, we will explain them in more detail at your initial consultation.
What Happens After I Decide to Hire You?
When you choose to work with Morrison & Hughes, your personal injury lawyer will immediately begin gathering evidence in your case. This will typically include reviewing the police report, interviewing witnesses, and working with an accident reconstruction specialist if necessary. We may also retain expert witnesses to speak on your behalf such as a medical professional who specializes in treating your type of injury.
Once we feel satisfied that we have enough evidence, we will prepare a demand package and present it to the attorney or insurance agent representing the other party. This will start a negotiation process that leads to a settlement in most cases. However, we will represent your interests in court if the other party refuses to negotiate.
Can I Handle My Case without an Attorney?
Although Georgia law doesn’t require you to have an attorney, we highly recommend that you retain one. Representation for the other party could easily take advantage of you without an attorney present, which could cause you to accept blame when you’re not at fault or accept a much lower settlement than we could obtain for you. Consider that personal injury attorneys have years of experience with investigating accidents and negotiating settlements. We will be happy to tell you if we think your case is one we think you can handle yourself.
When Should I Visit a Doctor After the Accident?
It’s a common mistake for people not to visit a doctor after an accident because they don’t feel pain or notice any injuries. Unfortunately, some effects from accidents such as whiplash or concussion symptoms don’t always show up right away. Making a prompt appointment allows your doctor to detect and start treating issues you may not even know you have yet. It also improves your credibility with the other party. They may try to argue to your personal injury attorney that you couldn’t be too injured because you didn’t even see a doctor.
What Do I Do About My Medical Bills While I’m Waiting for a Settlement?
Your health insurance company should pay your bills, less any deductible or co-pays that you owe. It may try to recover those funds later if it discovers that another party was at fault and that you have initiated a personal injury lawsuit against him or her.
If you don’t have health insurance, it’s still possible to get quality medical care, but most times you will have to have assistance getting it setup. Since everyone’s situation is different, you should ask your attorney. Have your insurance information, and tell your attorney if you have Medicare, Medicare, or other benefit programs.
How Do You Decide Whether to Accept a Case?
When you meet with a personal injury attorney, expect to present proof of liability of the other party. While state law doesn’t bar you from seeking damages if you shared any blame for the accident, it can reduce your payout significantly and affect your credibility. We will also ask you to prove your injuries so we can hold the other party liable for them.