Personal injury guide: Questions and Answers
Some injured victims mistakenly believe that they will be able to save money by taking on the personal injury claim on their own. But a study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found that injured victims who have legal representation secured personal injury settlements that are approximately 350 percent or 3.5 times higher than injured victims who didn’t have a lawyer. Those who sustained similar injuries took home substantially more compensation even after paying their lawyers.
If you’ve been injured, then you most likely need a personal injury lawyer. At Banks, Stubbs, and McFarland, we are not a quick settlement firm like the ones you see on billboards, hear on the radio, or watch on TV. We are different because we are committed to working your case with all the personal attention you need for as long as it takes to get your life restored both medically and financially. Our mission is to help you get your life restored in every way.
There are two separate claims under Georgia law applicable to car accidents:
1). Property Damage: This includes vehicle replacement or repair, diminution in value, rental car costs, and more.
2) Personal Injury: This covers medical bills and expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of consortium, disfigurement, wrongful death, and more.
We’ll make sure you get the legal advice and medical care you need right away, even if you don’t have good insurance, or insurance at all. We will educate you on how to properly document your pain, injuries, treatment, and recovery so that insurance adjusters understand your bodily injuries.
The first thing you need to do is to call your insurance company and report the accident. If the officer on the scene of your accident did not fill out a police report, it might be necessary to fill out an SR-13 form. Your lawyer will send a letter of representation and request an under-oath disclosure of any and all insurance which may be applicable.find your police report fill out sr-13 form
- Copies of medical bill(s)
- Accident report
- Declaration page of auto insurance policy covering your vehicle
- Traffic ticket(s)
- Traffic court summons
- Health Insurance Card
- Medicare card
- Medicaid card
- Photos of vehicle in wreck and injuries
- Correspondence with auto insurance companies about accident
We will also ask you to sign a HIPAA compliant medical release so that we can obtain certified copies of all medical records and itemized billing from your medical providers. We will obtain other records such as the accident report, arrest report, 911 records and calls, responding officers’ dash cam and body cam video footage, etc. through the Open Records Act.
If you have suffered a personal injury, you have questions. While the circumstances of your case are undoubtedly unique, there are certain questions and answers that apply fairly universally. If you or someone you care about has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you need professional help from an attorney specializing in personal injury.
What does a personal injury lawyer do?
Personal injury attorneys are legal professionals who help those who have been injured in accidents caused by the negligence of other people or entities recover for their physical, emotional, and financial losses. A personal injury lawyer should:
- Identify all insurance policies that may be responsible for paying medical costs and make sure that they pay them
- Help clients receive the best possible medical care and treatment
- Protect clients from tactics of insurance companies which seek to maximize their profits and minimize their liability by refusing to pay valid injury claims
- Educate you on how to properly document your pain, injuries, treatment, and recovery so that insurance adjusters fully understand your injuries and past, present, and future pain and suffering.
- Gather all necessary evidence from the motor vehicle crash
- Draft persuasive demand letters with all supporting documentation showing the fault for the crash, the severity of the injuries, medical treatment, diagnoses, pain, limitations, disabilities, and prognosis.
- If necessary, initiate litigation, take depositions, obtain discovery, engage expert witnesses, present case at mediation, and prepare for and present case to a trial jury
- Negotiate medical bills and any claims from health insurance companies for reimbursement in order to maximize client’s net recovery
What is the benefit of having a personal injury attorney?
Please see section one immediately above. Personal injury claims are complicated, and insurance adjusters will attempt to run over you if you do not have representation. In several instances, we have been contacted by individuals who agreed to a quick settlement on the phone with the at fault auto insurance company but the money did not pay for all of their medical bills or their pain and suffering. Regrettably, these individuals who accepted a monetary offer, without seeking legal counsel, were left with responsibility to pay for the bulk of their medical treatment out of their own pocket since their oral agreement was enforceable in court. In an effort to evade their fiscal responsibility, insurance companies frequently claim that an injured individual had pre-existing injuries, that their medical care costs were too much, that they are faking or exaggerating their injuries, or that their treatment was not related to injuries from the accident. You are entitled to be made completely whole for all injuries and losses sustained by another’s negligence. Don’t settle for less by going it alone.3.
How long do you have to file an injury claim in GA?
Georgia has a deadline or statute of limitations for bringing personal injury claims. The statute of limitations for an action for personal injuries in Georgia is two (2) years from the date of your injury. This means that you have up to two years to negotiate a settlement directly with the insurance company. If there is no settlement agreement in that time frame, in order to protect your rights, you must file the case in court and serve the at fault parties. If you are still treating at the two year mark will have no choice but to file the case. If the insurance company is lowballing your claim, you will have no other choice but to initiate litigation to fully recover your losses.
Note also that shorter time deadlines may apply such as a six-month notice requirement for municipalities. There are often time deadlines in both health insurance and auto insurance policies for notification and submission of claims. Failure to meet any of these deadlines could result in dismissal of your claim.4.
How long does it take to settle a case?
The answer to this question depends entirely on how long it takes for you to get well. We are not a quick settlement firm. We are committed to making sure that you fully recover from your injuries and that you are fully compensated for all of your losses, regardless of how long that process takes. If you agree to a settlement of your claim, you will have to sign a release in favor of the at fault driver and their insurance company. Thus, it is critically important not to settle prematurely or before you have completed all of your medical treatment. Many cases can be settled in a few months. However, serious injury cases or death cases often take years since they are more likely to require litigation to achieve a complete recovery.5.
What Are the Steps to Filing a Claim in Georgia?
The fundamental steps of filing a personal injury claim in Georgia include:
1. Call your insurance company to report the accident.
2. If a police officer is not called to the scene to take a report, you will need to complete an SR-13 form.
3. To document the circumstances of the accident, take photos from the scene, identify all witnesses, and obtain surveillance video.
4. Seek medical attention immediately and carefully follow directions from health care practitioners for continuing treatment.
5. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney and bring all documents identified above.
6. Your personal injury attorney will notify all involved insurance companies of your claims and identify all relevant insurance policies.
7. Your personal injury attorney will help you get the medical care that you need.
8. Your personal injury attorney will gather all necessary evidence and draft a demand letter.
9. Your personal injury attorney will negotiate to obtain the best possible recovery on your behalf.
10. If necessary, your personal injury attorney will file, litigate, mediate, and present your case to a jury.
11. Your personal injury attorney will negotiate any outstanding medical bills and health insurance company rights to reimbursement to maximize your net recovery.
The Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit is located between the north Georgia mountains and Atlanta. The Bell-Forsyth Circuit covers 247 square miles and proudly serves its more than 227,000 residents. Here you can find information about both the Forsyth County Courthouse and Cumming City Hall when you need it most.
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An Accomplished Forsyth and Gwinnett County Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
The dedicated Cumming and Suwanee personal injury attorneys at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland are committed to answering all of your questions and to helping you obtain your case’s most favorable resolution as efficiently as possible. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 770-887-1209 today.GET IN TOUCH TODAY