Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Accidents and Recoveries
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Does there have to be a collision in order for me to recover damages for a pedestrian injury?
No. Contrary to popular belief, a vehicle doesn't actually have to hit you in order for you to be eligible to recover damages for injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. If you fell or collided with something else while taking evasive action to avoid being struck by a negligent motorist, you may still have a case and be entitled to financial recovery. An experienced personal injury attorney can review your case, and help you understand your legal rights and options.
Damages in pedestrian accident cases often include monetary recovery for accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning potential if the accident leaves you unable to work, physical pain, emotional anguish, scarring or disfigurement, and other losses.
Also, thanks to Georgia's comparative fault rules, you may even be entitled to compensation if you were partially responsible for the accident that injured you. Under this legal standard, victims can still recover damages as long as they're less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
However, their recovery may be reduced to reflect the percentage of fault a judge or jury assigns. For example, if your financial award is $100,000 and you're found to be 10 percent at fault for the accident, your award would be lowered to $90,000. A skilled attorney will help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Let Our Accomplished Attorneys Handle Your Georgia Pedestrian Accident Case
When you're grappling with serious injuries, unscheduled time away from work, and unexpected medical expenses after a devastating pedestrian accident, there's far too much at stake to go it alone. With the dedicated team at Rechtman & Spevak by your side, you don't have to. Our adept personal injury attorneys help accident victims throughout Georgia fight for a fair recovery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.
What are the differences between a criminal case and a civil case against a drunk driver?
Drunk driving is a serious crime that can lead to devastating crashes, injuries, and deaths. When drunk drivers cause accidents, they may face criminal charges for their actions. These charges are brought by public prosecutors for the purpose of holding defendants accountable for breaking the law.
Depending on the circumstances of the crash and the severity of the charges, a drunk driving defendant could face community service, fines,
or even jail or prison time if convicted.
While criminal charges play an important role in the justice system, they do nothing to compensate victims for their losses and make them whole.
That's where civil cases come in. Unlike criminal cases, which are brought by the government against victims accused of crimes, civil cases are brought by victims (or victims' families) against individuals or companies whose negligent or malicious actions resulted in physical, financial, or other damages.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court allows victims of drunk driving accidents to seek compensation for quantifiable economic losses like medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and even the loss of earning capacity if the crash-related injuries are expected to have long-term negative effects on earning potential. Victims can also pursue damages for intangible losses that are more difficult to quantify, such as physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, scarring or disfigurement, and reduced quality of life.
Let Our Experienced Georgia Attorneys Handle Your Drunk Driving Personal Injury Case
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a tragic accident caused by a negligent drunk driver, the skilled legal team with Rechtman & Spevak can help you fight for the damages you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to learn about your legal rights and options, how criminal drunk driving charges and convictions can help your civil case, and how working with our accomplished attorneys can help you maximize the value of your claim.
Do I need an attorney to handle my motorcycle crash claim?
If you were injured or your motorcycle was damaged in a crash caused by another person's negligence, yes, you need an attorney.
Motorcycle crash cases aren't like other types of motor vehicle accident cases. Because the motorcycle provides no meaningful exterior protection, motorcyclists often sustain catastrophic, life-changing injuries. The greater the injuries and damages, the larger the potential settlement or financial award—and the insurance company is unlikely to pay you what you deserve without a fight. Implicit bias against motorcyclists can also endanger your ability to make a fair recovery. Fortunately, a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney can help.
In addition to helping you understand your rights and options, as well as the process for filing a legal claim, an attorney can thoroughly investigate your motorcycle crash, determine whether you're entitled to compensation, negotiate with the insurance company and, if it comes to it, vigorously represent you in court. There, an attorney can call upon expert witnesses such as accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, and economic experts to prove your claim for damages and ensure the judge and jury view you in a favorable light.
An accomplished motorcycle accident attorney can help you obtain the money you need while allowing you to focus on your physical recovery.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Georgia Motorcycle Crash Attorney
With so much at stake, you simply can't afford to go it alone. However, if you're worried that you can't afford the legal representation you need, we have good news for you.
Accident attorneys like those at Rechtman & Spevak work on a contingency fee basis, so having limited financial means doesn't have to prevent you from seeking the compensation—and justice—you deserve. We also offer free initial consultations. If you would like to discuss the details of your motorcycle accident case with a knowledgeable member of our legal team, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
How do I know if I have grounds to pursue a personal injury lawsuit?
If you were hurt or suffered significant property damage in a Georgia car crash, truck wreck, or another type of personal injury accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and other losses you sustained. It's vital to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights, options, and whether you have grounds to take legal action.
In the meantime, here's a quick overview of some of the factors that affect your ability to file—and win—a personal injury lawsuit.
Comparative Fault Liability
Who was at fault for the accident plays a big role in whether you can collect compensation. However, in Georgia, being partially at fault for an accident doesn't necessarily preclude you from making a financial recovery.
Because the state follows what's known as comparative fault rules, as long as you were less responsible for the accident than the other party, you could potentially recover damages—although the amount you receive may be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if the other party was 85 percent at fault for an accident and you were 15 percent liable, your monetary award of $100,000 would be reduced to $85,000.
Statute of Limitations
Statutes of limitation laws restrict how long you have to file a lawsuit against someone. In Georgia, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of the accident or injury. If the two-year statute of limitations expires, you won't be able to file a lawsuit or pursue compensation.
Elements of a Personal Injury Case
In order for your accident case to have a favorable outcome, you and your attorney must prove the following points, which are often referred to as the elements of a personal injury claim:
- Duty of care. This means the other party had a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure your safety. For example, all drivers must drive safely in order to reduce the risk of causing a crash.
- Breach of duty of care. Once duty of care is established, you must show the defendant breached that duty in some way. In our car accident example, this could mean driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or texting behind the wheel.
- Causation. Next, you must prove you sustained injuries, property damage, or other losses as a direct result of the defendant's negligent action.
- Damages. Finally, you must demonstrate that the harm in question resulted in actual damages, such as medical expenses, property repair or replacement costs, lost wages, and other relatable losses.
Contact Us Now to Request a Free Initial Consultation
Make an appointment with the experts at Rechtman & Spevak for a free consultation, and we'll review the details of your case and discuss the options. Don't wait—contact us today!
How much does it cost to hire an accident attorney in Atlanta?
People injured in car accidents, truck crashes, motorcycle wrecks, and other personal injury accidents caused by someone else's negligence can often file an insurance claim or lawsuit to seek compensation for related injuries and losses.
However, many accident victims worry they won't be able to afford an attorney to help guide them through the personal injury litigation process.
Fortunately, when it comes to personal injury law, not having a thick pocketbook doesn't have to translate to a denial of justice.
Many personal injury attorneys work on contingency. This means their fees depend on how much they're able to recover for the client. Under a contingency fee arrangement, rather than having clients pay fees for legal services up front, the attorneys instead receive a percentage of the clients' settlement or financial award. This percentage varies, but in Georgia, it's often one-third of an accident victim's recovery—potentially more if the case goes to trial.
Some personal injury victims may be hesitant to part with one-third of their settlements. However, numerous studies show that victims represented by attorneys receive significantly larger settlements than those who choose to handle their personal injury claims without legal representation.
Personal injury attorneys can help people seek compensation for a wide range of financial issues, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, loss of earning potential, pain and suffering, mental anguish, scarring or disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Consult a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia
If you were hurt in a personal injury accident that wasn't your fault, the seasoned attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can answer your questions, and help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your case and learn more about our firm, how we handle cases, and our contingency fee agreement.
How long will my case take?
Victims of accidents caused by another person or entity's negligence may be left with severe injuries, costly property damages, insurmountable medical debt, and other losses.
So it's no wonder that “How long will my case take?” is one of the first questions most people ask when consulting a personal injury attorney.
Unfortunately, there's not a simple answer to this question, as various factors influence case length, and can be as different as the cases themselves.
Elements that affect how long it takes to resolve a personal injury case can include:
- Accident liability or cause of injuries is in question
- The case involves significant injuries and losses and consequently, substantial damages
- The length of time that the injured party undergoes treatment
- An accident victim hasn't reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI)
How quickly a case concludes is also affected by whether the injured party chooses to settle the case out of court or take it all the way to trial. Most personal injury plaintiffs opt to settle out of court, which allows for a faster financial recovery.
It's essential for personal injury plaintiffs to wait until they've reached MMI before accepting a settlement offer. This means their condition and prognosis are understood, and the injuries have healed as much as they're expected to, according to medical experts. Settlements are final, and victims who settle before reaching MMI may miss out on receiving a financial recovery that fully covers ongoing accident-related medical issues.
Settling may allow plaintiffs to resolve their cases more quickly. But sometimes, going to trial may be necessary in order to secure a fair award for damages. Personal injury plaintiffs often receive more money in cases determined by judges and juries than what's traditionally offered in out-of-court settlements.
Get the Experienced Legal Help You Deserve
Negligence-related incidents can deal harsh physical and financial blows to people. If you were hurt in an accident that wasn't your fault, you might be entitled to extensive damages and, as a result, be bombarded with short settlement offers.
Don't accept less than you deserve. The savvy personal injury attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help you understand your rights and options, and determine whether accepting the settlement offers you receive are in your best interest. Contact us today to request an appointment for a free case consultation.
What damages are available for a personal injury claim in Georgia?
After being seriously injured in a Georgia car collision, truck crash, motorcycle wreck, or other personal injury accident caused by someone else's negligence, victims may be entitled to pursue a wide range of damages.
Two Types of Damages
These damages are usually divided into two main types: special damages and general damages.
Also known as economic damages, special damages compensate personal injury victims for quantifiable financial losses stemming from the
accident in question. Examples include:
- Medical bills
- Future accident-related medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity, if applicable
While special damages compensate victims for quantifiable losses, general damages (or non-economic damages) deal with losses that can't be neatly measured, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Additionally, in cases where the at-fault party's conduct was particularly egregious, a third type of damages may be available. Known as punitive damages, they're intended to punish the at-fault party for wrongdoing and deter similar actions, rather than compensate the victim for an economic or non-economic loss.
What If My Family Member Died As A Result Of An Accident?
If a personal injury victim dies as a result of their injuries, their surviving family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for special and general damages related to their loved one's death. Wrongful death damages may include reasonable funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial contribution, the family's emotional suffering, and other relatable forms of compensation.
If you were seriously injured in a Georgia personal injury accident, the knowledgeable attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help you explore your options for compensation. We can advise you regarding which types of damages may be available in your case. Use the convenient contact information on this page to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.
Who's liable when a driver hits a pedestrian who was distracted while texting?
The dangers associated with distracted driving are better known, but many people don't realize that distracted walking can also have serious consequences.
Distracted walking accidents and injuries are on the rise, according to the National Safety Council. Pedestrians who text, play mobile games, or surf online while walking are most at risk.
Pedestrian accidents are also on the rise, as noted by the Governors Highway Safety Association in its 2016 and 2017 reports, and distracted walking—particularly texting while walking—may be at least partially to blame.
When pedestrians are struck by vehicles, the injuries they sustain can be absolutely devastating.
Even in cases where the driver was traveling at a relatively slow speed, victims may require extensive medical care and time off from work. Pedestrian accident victims may be entitled to compensation from the driver who hit them. However, if the pedestrian was distracted and texting at the time of the accident, he or she may share in liability, which could potentially affect their financial recovery.
Fortunately, Georgia is a comparative negligence state. This means personal injury victims may still be entitled to compensation, even if they were partially responsible for their accidents and injuries. Georgia courts use modified comparative negligence rules, which allow for personal injury claimants to collect damages if they were up to 49 percent responsible for the accidents in which they were injured.
Consult an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you were seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, but are worried that your role in what happened may affect your ability to recover compensation, it's vitally important that you understand your legal rights and options.
The knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help you build a strong case and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact our offices today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case analysis.
What are the benefits of settling your personal injury claim out of court?People who are seriously injured as a result of another person's negligence often file personal injury claims or lawsuits to seek compensation for medical expenses and other losses. Although some personal injury lawsuits actually make it to trial, the vast majority are settled long before they reach the courtroom.
Why Choose a Settlement?
While resolving a personal injury case in court can sometimes lead to a higher financial award for plaintiffs, it can also be lengthy, costly, stressful, potentially embarrassing, and unpredictable. However, when a fair settlement amount is offered, settling out of court can actually have numerous benefits, including:
- Faster resolution. Settling out of court can help personal injury plaintiffs receive compensation much more quickly than going to trial—it can take months or even years to receive a financial recovery from a trial, especially if a defendant decides to appeal an unfavorable decision. Out-of-court settlements usually take just days or weeks to negotiate.
- Fewer expenses. Litigating a personal injury case can be expensive. Although most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and receive a percentage of the pre-trial settlement or court-ordered financial award, attorney fees aren't the only expenses to consider. Plaintiffs will also likely be responsible for court costs, expert witness payments, and more.
- Less stress. Bringing a personal injury lawsuit is stressful enough without being subjected to intrusive questioning and cross-examination. Opting to settle out of court can help plaintiffs avoid emotionally taxing courtroom scenarios.
- Maintain privacy. Trial details are public record, but settling out of court often lets both sides keep personal information private.
- Compensation plaintiffs can count on. Trials can be unpredictable. Even if all of the evidence is admissible and your witnesses are convincing, there's no guarantee that the jury will side with the plaintiff and award the desired amount of compensation.
Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured due to someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Let a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer examine the facts of your case and help you explore your legal options. Contact Rechtman & Spevak today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.
What is the likelihood my wrongful death case will settle out of court?
Wrongful death claims, like other types of personal injury cases, rarely go to trial. It’s estimated that over 90% of cases are settled out of court. Of those that do go to trial, about 90% settle before the court reaches a verdict.
Advantages of Settling Out of Court
Settling out of court offers a number of important advantages:
- Settling is less expensive. Preparing for a trial takes a lot of time, which increases legal fees. In many cases, settling before trial is the most cost-effective solution for everyone.
- Trials are unpredictable. In your mind, you may have an open and shut case. However, trials are known for being unpredictable. The jury might not agree with your assessment of liability, or they may decide that your case is worth less than you think.
- Settling protects your privacy. A wrongful death claim can involve a number of sensitive issues. If you settle out of court, you can control the release of this information. If your case goes to trial, you may have to deal with unwanted media attention.
- Trials and appeals can take years. The legal system moves much more slowly than many people would like. Even a fairly simple wrongful death case may take years to resolve once the trial and appeals are taken into consideration. If you settle out of court, you can put the matter behind you and focus on moving forward with your life.
Deciding to Accept a Settlement Offer
If you’ve received a settlement offer in your wrongful death claim, it’s important to discuss the terms of the settlement in great detail with an attorney. A fair settlement should provide adequate compensation for the deceased person’s medical expenses, burial costs, and lost wages. You should also be compensated for the deceased person’s pain and suffering in their final moments as well as your own loss of his or her care and companionship.
How Rechtman & Spevak Can Help
The experienced legal team at Rechtman & Spevak is dedicated to helping Georgia residents who have lost a loved one due to the negligence of others receive the wrongful death compensation they deserve. Our attorneys will advocate for your rights throughout every step of the settlement process. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.
- Settling is less expensive. Preparing for a trial takes a lot of time, which increases legal fees. In many cases, settling before trial is the most cost-effective solution for everyone.