Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Accidents and Recoveries
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Who's liable for damages in an accident involving a borrowed vehicle?
If you were involved in a wreck with someone in a borrowed vehicle or if you lent your vehicle to a friend who caused an accident while driving your car, understanding what Georgia law says about liability in these types of cases is vital. Here's what you need to know.
Insurance Coverage in a Borrowed Car
Auto insurance follows the car, rather than the driver, in the Peach State. This means that when a person borrows a vehicle, they essentially also "borrow" the insurance coverage on it. State law requires a minimum of $25,000 bodily liability coverage (a total of $50,000 for the deaths or injuries of more than one person) and $25,000 in property damage liability coverage. In Georgia, when someone borrows a car and causes an accident, the vehicle owner's liability insurance policy pays for the other driver's injuries (and injuries to their passengers), and the damage sustained to their vehicle.
In some cases, the liability coverage on the borrowed vehicle may not be sufficient to cover all of the other driver's injuries and damages. When that happens, the at-fault driver's insurance policy can kick in as secondary coverage. If you were injured, you can also may be able to take advantage of your own Uninsured Motorist (UM) and/or MedPay coverages, which follow the driver, rather than the vehicle.
If you loaned your car to someone else, or were driving a borrowed vehicle, it is important to know what to do regarding the damage to the borrowed vehicle. Collision and comprehensive insurance coverage can cover the damage, subject to a deductible. However, as optional insurance coverage, they can only help if you already have them. Review your auto insurance coverage periodically and consider adding these optional coverages to your policy.
Loaning your vehicle to someone or borrowing another person's car can be a risky decision. Make sure that the person borrowing your vehicle is a safe and responsible driver, and if you're borrowing a vehicle from someone else, make sure you can trust that the vehicle is in safe working condition.
Talk to an Experienced Georgia Attorney About Your Case
Need legal advice after getting into an accident with a driver who was in a borrowed vehicle or after loaning your vehicle to someone who caused a crash? Contact Rechtman & Spevak today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss options and potential damages.
My child was hurt in a car accident, can they file a personal injury claim?
As a parent, you do everything possible to protect your child from harm. Unfortunately, not everyone shares your commitment to safety. If your child was in a car accident caused by a negligent person or company, the traumatic experience can affect them physically, mentally, and financially for years to come. Fortunately, Georgia law allows car crash victims to take legal action to pursue compensation from an at-fault party—and while victims under the age of 18 can't file their own personal injury claim, as a parent or guardian, you can file one on their behalf.
In Georgia, personal injury claims involving victims who are minors are often comprised of two separate parts or actions: the parents' claim and the child's claim. The first claim allows parents or guardians to seek compensation for their child's medical bills and other accident-related costs, including future expenses incurred before the child turns 18. Parents can also pursue damages for wages lost as a result of missing work to care for their injured child.
The child's claim is for compensation for reasonable and necessary medical care required after their 18th birthday, as well as for any loss of earning capacity or loss of future earnings. Children can also recover compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering, in addition to other losses. In cases where the at-fault party's conduct is deemed particularly egregious, punitive damages may also be awarded.
We Can Help You Fight For a Fair Recovery
If your child was injured in a car accident and you want to hold the at-fault party accountable, Rechtman and Spevak is here to assist you. Our accomplished personal injury lawyers can file claims on behalf of you and your child, and gather the evidence needed to build a strong case for damages. Let us ensure both you—and your child—receive the recovery you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.
If I hire a lawyer to handle my injury claim, what will I have to do?
When you hire an attorney to represent you in a personal injury matter, you can count on them to handle both the major and day-to-day aspects of your case. However, there are a number of essential things you can—and should—do to help your lawyer build a strong claim for damages.
Help Start Your Case Off on the Right Foot
You can help by providing your attorney with as much information as possible about the accident, your injuries, and how they've affected your life. Be honest and thorough, but don't embellish or exaggerate. Sign authorizations giving your attorney access to your medical records and other vital documents. Discuss and sign a contingency fee agreement; this allows your lawyer to take their fee out of the money they recover for you, rather than requiring you to pay for legal services upfront.
Talk about your goals for the case with your attorney and work on a strategy. The attorney will send a demand letter to the potentially liable parties and their insurers, and you'll work with them to decide the next step based on the response received. Your demand could be accepted, the other side could make a counter offer, or you could instruct your attorney to make another demand.
When and if your lawyer files a lawsuit on your behalf, you'll be expected to participate in the discovery process, a six-month period where both sides answer detailed questions about the case. In-person, under-oath questioning sessions known as depositions are also generally held during this period. You'll need to work with your attorney to prepare for your deposition to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
Other things you can do to help your injury attorney include responding to communications in a timely manner, attending all medical appointments, and following your prescribed treatment plan.
Talk to Us About Your Injury Case
Hurt because of another person or company's negligence? The skilled personal injury attorneys with Rechtman & Spevak can help you fight for a fair recovery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.
Can I file a personal injury claim for malicious, intentionally-inflicted injuries?
Yes. If you were the victim of assault or battery in Georgia, the person who intentionally caused your injuries could face criminal charges and harsh penalties such as fines, jail or prison time, and other restrictions if convicted.
However, while a criminal prosecution and conviction may satisfy the state that justice was served in your case, the criminal justice process doesn't cover your medical treatment, wages lost
while out of work recovering from your injuries,
or other expenses related to your attack.
For a chance at collecting compensation for these and other damages, you'll need to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Here's what you should know.
Georgia criminal and civil cases have different standards of proof. While most people are familiar with the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases, the standard for civil cases is the less stringent “by the preponderance of the evidence”—although you'll still have to prove the defendant owed you a duty of care and breached that duty, which led to your assault or battery, and caused your injuries and other losses.
If your attacker was charged or convicted in criminal court, it can lend credence to your personal injury claim. A skilled injury lawyer will thoroughly investigate your case and gather the necessary evidence and documentation to recover compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic damages, including, but not limited to:
- Medical treatment expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological trauma
- Scarring or disfigurement
As the victim of an assault or battery, you may also receive punitive damages. Rarely awarded, these damages punish the defendant for behavior deemed particularly egregious.
Take Advantage of a Free Consultation
Not sure which types of damages may apply in your case? We can help. Contact Rechtman & Spevak today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary, no-obligation initial consultation with a member of our experienced team of Atlanta personal injury attorneys. Don't wait—the law restricts how long you have to file a claim.
What do I need to prove to recover damages in a Georgia personal injury case?
When you're hurt in a Georgia car crash, truck wreck, or other accident caused by negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for related medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. However, in order to recover damages, you'll have to show that the party named as the defendant in your lawsuit—whether a person or business—was, in fact, negligent.
To do this, you and your attorney have to prove the following four elements of a personal injury claim:
- Duty of care. The defendant had a legal responsibility to take reasonable care to avoid injuring others. In car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, this generally means operating the vehicle safely to avoid causing crashes.
- Breach of duty. The defendant breached the duty of care with an intentional act or an act of carelessness, such as driving while distracted or operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Causation. The defendant's breach of duty of care caused the accident in question. For example, driving while distracted or failing to stop for a stop sign resulted in a crash.
- Damages. You suffered physical injuries and other losses as a result of the defendant's negligence. These injuries wouldn't have occurred if not for the defendant's conduct.
Unfortunately, personal injury litigation can be very complicated—and it can be difficult to recover the compensation you deserve without the help of an experienced accident and injury attorney. At Rechtman & Spevak, our skilled Georgia personal injury lawyers will investigate your case, and gather and preserve the evidence necessary to prove negligence and recover fair damages.
Talk to Us About Your Georgia Personal Injury Case
Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation. We look forward to discussing your case, and helping you understand your legal rights and options. Act now, as Georgia law gives you just two years to file an injury claim.
How can I protect my right to recovery after a train crash?
Train accidents happen more frequently than one might expect and when they do, victims are seriously injured, unable to go to work, and facing mounting medical and household debt. If you were involved in a Georgia train crash or lost a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation.
However, obtaining a fair financial recovery requires taking immediate steps to protect your rights.
Here's what you can do to help build a strong claim for damages:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. In some cases, train accident injuries may require on-the-scene emergency care but, even if yours didn't, it's crucial to see a doctor right away. Not all traumatic injuries are immediately apparent and should you experience symptoms later on, you'll want to be able to connect them to the train crash. A doctor can help.
- Document your injuries. Make sure to discuss all body parts that may have been affected in the accident with your doctor. Be thorough and honest, providing a detailed account of how your injuries impact your ability to work and complete other daily activities. Photos of your train crash injuries can also serve as powerful evidence.
- Gather evidence of your losses. Speaking of which, save medical bills and receipts, documentation of work absences and wage losses, costs of medically-necessary assistive care or devices, and home modifications.
- Talk to an experienced train accident attorney right away. Train crashes often result in catastrophic injuries and damages and the greater the damages, the greater the potential compensation—and the bigger your claim, the greater the certainty that the at-fault party's insurance company will fight it. A skilled attorney will investigate the crash, gather and preserve valuable evidence, handle communications with insurance companies and defense attorneys, and maximize the value of your claim or lawsuit.
Let Our Seasoned Georgia Attorneys Handle Your Train Crash Case
Contact Rechtman & Spevak today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your rights and options. Don't wait—Georgia's statute of limitations restricts how long you have to take legal action after a MARTA or other train accident.
Can I seek compensation for a foot drop injury?
The type of muscle tearing or nerve compression that leads to foot drop is common among victims of car collisions, truck crashes, and motorcycle wrecks.
If the nerves in your knees or back were damaged in an accident you didn't cause and you began experiencing foot drop symptoms, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent party.
Foot drop is characterized by the inability to lift the front part of the foot. While that may not sound particularly dire, it can have wide-ranging consequences. In order to help a dropped foot clear the floor, you may find yourself lifting your knee or thigh—or swinging your foot side to side—every time you take a step.
Unfortunately, rather than helping, these modified gaits create problems of their own. For example, the foot will often strike the floor with considerable force, which can make walking extremely difficult or painful.
If your foot drop is severe, it can be a significant disruption to your life. Not only can foot drop seriously limit your mobility, but it can also restrict your occupational opportunities. If you're injured, unable to work, and drowning in medical debt after being hurt in an accident caused by another person or company's negligence, we can help you seek compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, loss of earning potential, pain and suffering, and more.
Consult an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney
At Rechtman & Spevak, our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys fight to help injured Georgia residents obtain the compensation and the justice they deserve. We may be able to help with your case as well. Interested in learning more about our firm and how we handle personal injury cases? Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation. We look forward to reviewing your case and discussing your legal rights and options.
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.