Our attorneys answer frequently asked questions on topics such as personal injury cases, motor vehicle accidents, insurance claims and settlements, as well as general legal questions. Browse our extensive list of questions to find the answers you are looking for.

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  • What to do if you are injured in a school bus accident?

    What Is The First Thing You Should Do After A School Bus Injury? If you've been injured in a school bus accident, you should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. There are a number of things that make a school bus accident different than your typical motor vehicle accident. The main difference is that school districts in Georgia have what's called sovereign immunity. That means you generally cannot sue the school district, but you may have claims against the school bus driver. The amount of insurance the school bus driver has though will vary depending on a number of factors including the amount of insurance the school district has purchased, as well as whether you are seeking compensation for yourself if you were hit by a school bus, or if you were seeking compensation for one of your children who was injured while on a school bus. These cases can be very complicated and there are a number of different procedural hurdles that must be overcome to make sure you get adequate compensation. If you've been injured in a school bus accident, make sure that you call Brogdon Champion.

    School bus accident cases can be very complicated. You or your child may have suffered life-altering injuries. There may be multiple victims involved. Your school bus accident attorney must conduct a thorough investigation to determine who can be held responsible. Our Atlanta, Georgia personal injury attorney, Darl Champion, discusses what to do if you have been injured in a school bus accident.

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    For more information fill at the firm below and schedule an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys about your case. Our personal injury attorneys have recovered millions for victims of car accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice claims, and more.

  • What to do if you’re in an accident with a police vehicle in Georgia?

    If you've been injured in an accident with a police vehicle, one of the most important things you should know is that the filing deadline may be significantly shorter than what you would find with a typical personal injury car accident claim. Generally in Georgia you have two years from the date of the accident to either file a claim and settle it, or file a lawsuit. With accidents involving police vehicles these deadlines can be significantly shorter because the police vehicle will either belong to the state, the city, or the county. For states and counties, you have one year from the date of the accident to file what is called an Ante Litem Notice. An Ante Litem Notice is simply a notice that is given to the appropriate government agency notifying them of the claim as well as providing other information that may be required by law. For cities, the deadline for submitting the Ante Litem Notice is six months. If these deadlines are missed, you may lose the right to obtain any compensation at all for your injuries. This is why it is very important that if you're involved in an accident with a police vehicle, you contact an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

    Having an accident is never a good thing but it can be especially problematic if you are in an accident with a police car. If this happens you have to know what to do to make sure that your rights are properly protected. In most cases this is going to mean that your first call will be to your lawyer. Our Atlanta, Georgia personal injury attorney, Darl Champion, discusses what to do if you’re in an accident involving a police car (vehicle).
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    For more information fill at the firm below and schedule an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys about your case. Our personal injury attorneys have recovered millions for victims of car accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice claims, and more.

  • Is my Georgia Personal Injury Claim Worth Three Times my Medical Bills?

    Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth 3 Times The Cost of My Medical Bills? A common question we hear from clients who want to know what the value of their claim is, is whether their claim is worth three times their medical bills. This is a common belief that we have heard from clients, but there really is no such thing as a special formula or calculator for determining the value of a claim. And to state that a claim is worth three times the medical bills really ignores a lot of the different factors that go into determining claim value. There's so many different factors that include: the venue where the case might be pending, whether there's any aggravating facts associated with the defendant's conduct, what was the nature of the treatment, what's the prognosis for the injuries. For example: has the injured party recovered fully, are they going to need ongoing medical care, are there future medical bills in order, did they miss any work, what are their lost wages, are there future lost wages, is there any permanent disfigurement or scarring? Because of all the different factors that go into evaluating a claim and determining what it's worth, it would be impossible to create a universal rule that says "all personal injury claims are worth three times their medical bills." In our law firm, we don't use a 'one-size-fits-all' approach and we don't put claims into a box. We look at every case independently and evaluate it and determine what the value of the claim is based on all the relevant factors.

    A common belief amongst individuals filing personal injury claims is that their claim is worth three times the cost of their medical bills. Our Atlanta, Georgia personal injury attorney, Darl Champion, explains why that’s not always true and discusses the variables that go into determining the value of your personal injury claim.
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    For more information fill at the firm below and schedule an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys about your case. Our personal injury attorneys have recovered millions for victims of car accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice claims, and more.

  • How Accurate are Georgia Personal Injury Settlement Calculators?

    How Accurate Are Personal Injury Settlement Calculators? nn Lately we've heard some of our clients ask us if personal injury settlement calculators give an accurate appraisal of the value of the claim. The short answer is no. Personal injury settlement calculators do not work. Insurance companies don't use calculators, we don't use calculators, and if your case goes to trial there isn't going to be a calculator in the jury. There are a lot of factors that go into determining the value of the claim. If you do use a personal injury settlement calculator online, don't trust it. n

    Our Atlanta, Georgia personal injury attorney, Darl Champion, discusses whether or not personal injury settlement calculators work and if they give an accurate appraisal of the value of their claim.

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    For more information fill at the firm below and schedule an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys about your case. Our personal injury attorneys have recovered millions for victims of car accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice claims, and more.

  • Who Pays Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

    After an accident, medical bills can start piling up. Our clients often ask us what they can do or how they can deal with these bills that they can't afford. There are actually a few options available to you while we work on settling your case. Watch this video to learn how a Smyrna personal injury attorney can help you handle your bills while you focus on healing.

    For anyone who has been injured in a car accident, one of the first questions that runs through their mind is who will take care of their medical bills. Unfortunately, you are responsible for making sure your medical bills are paid as they become due, even if the other driver was at fault.  Of course, your total medical expenses will be part of the claim against the at-fault driver, and you will request compensation for those expenses as part of a settlement demand. However, the other driver and his insurance company are not going to pay your medical bills as they come in, and you are legally responsible for paying them while your accident claim is pending. So does this mean you have to pay all of your bills out of your own pocket while your claim is pending? Hopefully not. If you have health insurance, it should be billed for any medical expenses. Another potential source of payment for your medical bills is the medical payments coverage on your own auto policy or on the policy for the car you were in at the time of the accident. Medical payments coverage, or “med pay” for short, is basically health insurance for car accidents. It can be used to pay medical bills regardless of who is at fault, and it can even be used if you were not in a car at the time of the accident (for example, if you were a pedestrian, on a bicycle, etc.). If you are unable to pay your bills—either because you do not have health insurance or medical payments coverage, or if you do have insurance but you just can’t afford the co-pays and deductibles—then some providers will treat you on a lien, which is essentially where you promise that you will pay the provider for the medical bills owed when you receive compensation from your accident case.

  • How Do I Get Money For A Hit And Run in Georgia?

    Hit and run accidents are an unfortunate reality on today’s roadways, especially in large cities like Atlanta. If you have a hit and run accident, you may be wondering who will pay for your property damage and any bodily injuries. The first place to look is the hit and run driver. If you, or any other eyewitnesses, got any identifying information on the vehicle, such as the license plate, report it to the police immediately. The police can run the plate and figure out who owns the vehicle. In the event that the driver or owner of the vehicle cannot be located, then you will need to locate and pursue all available uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage. There may be a variety of different UM policies that may apply to provide you coverage, including your own policy, UM that belongs to any resident relatives, and the policy for the car you were in at the time of the accident if you are not the owner. It is also important to remember that your own UM policy and the policies for any resident relatives will protect you even if you were not in a car at the time of the accident.

    If you are involved in a hit and run accident, it is important that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you of your rights. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney, call The Champion Firm, P.C., at 404-596-8044.

  • What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

    Motorcycle accidents are different than typical car accidents. Motorcycles lack many of the essential safety features that can protect occupants in a car accident. Unfortunately, this increases the risk that someone involved in a motorcycle accident will be seriously injured, or even worse, killed. In fact, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger vehicle occupants, and 5 times more likely to be injured. After you have you been in a motorcycle accident, your head is probably swirling with questions. What do I do now? Can I afford the medical bills that are going to accumulate? Will I have to take time off of work? What if the other driver does not have enough insurance? Can I sue the other driver? It is completely normal to ask these types of questions. The important thing is to take the correct steps immediately following your motorcycle accident in order to best set yourself up for the future.

    1. Make Sure That Everyone Involved In The Accident Is Okay

    First and foremost, make sure that you, the other driver, any passengers, and pedestrians are all safe. Immediately following the accident, you should not be worried about anything other than your safety and the safety of those around you. Call an ambulance if needed, make sure everyone is a safe distance from the collision, and try not to disrupt the traffic pattern surrounding the scene. Once everyone is safe, it is time to move on to the legal aspects of your case to ensure that you are in the best position to get the compensation you deserve.

    2. Get The Insurance & Vehicle Information Of The Other Driver

    Unlike car accidents, there is rarely a collision with a motorcycle that leaves no damage or injury. In the event you do not immediately feel pain or injury, it is still important to get all of the insurance, vehicle, and personal information from the other driver. It is not unusual for somebody to feel ok at an accident scene and then to feel the onset of an injury in the hours or days that follow.

    3. Gather & Preserve All Evidence

    In any accident it is important to gather and preserve all evidence. This is even more important in a motorcycle accident because of the increased chance of a serious injury, which increases the importance of being able to successfully prove your case. In addition to getting the information of the other driver, get as much information from other people at the scene as possible, including witnesses, responding officers and emergency personnel, and anybody else who comes on the scene and provides assistance after the wreck. Do not get rid of the bike. Keep it in the condition it was in at the time of the wreck in case the other driver disputes fault. The bike may contain evidence or it can be used in an accident reconstruction to show who was truly at fault. Take pictures of the accident scene and the other vehicle. While this may sound gruesome, try to use photographs to document your injuries as well.

    4. Get The Necessary Medical Treatment

    It is always important to get the necessary medical treatment after an accident. First of all, this is critical to your well-being. You need and want to get better, and the best way to ensure you receive a full recovery is to seek medical treatment and follow the doctor’s advice. Another reason why this is important is that it helps prove your injuries and damages. Insurance companies are notorious for using delays and gaps in medical treatment to challenge somebody’s injuries and accuse them of being a liar. Getting immediate medical treatment and all the required follow-up treatment helps prove your injuries.

    5. Locate All Sources Of Insurance

    A lot of people do not know all the possible sources of insurance that apply in a motorcycle accident. For example, the vehicle that hit you should have liability insurance, and the at-fault driver may have an additional insurance policy as well. The at-fault driver could have been in a company vehicle or driving in the scope of their employment, which could open up an additional source of insurance. You may also entitled to uninsured motorist coverage. You may be entitled to coverage under a number of different uninsured motorist policies. Because of the importance of locating all sources of insurance and timely notifying those insurance companies, this step should not be followed without the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. This brings us to the next step in the process.

    6. Seek The Right Legal Guidance

    Oftentimes, motorcyclists find themselves frustrated with the outcome of their injury claim because they did not work with the right attorney. While motorcycle accidents fall into the broader category of motor vehicle accidents, it should be treated as its own practice area. Just because an attorney handles personal injury cases in general, or even car accidents in particular, does not mean that he or she is experienced in dealing with motorcycle accidents.

    If you have been in a motorcycle accident in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, contact The Champion Firm, P.C., today.

    Our attorneys our very experienced in helping riders receive the financial compensation that they deserve following their motorcycle collisions. We can help answer any questions that you have regarding the next steps in the process and the actions you need to take to be successful when it comes to financial compensation.

    Call us today; we want to help you return to your normal life as quickly as possible.

  • Can You Sue After Signing a Waiver in Georgia?

    Can I still sue for a personal injury claim in Georgia if I signed a waiver? This is a common question that people have if they have been injured after they signed a waiver. The good news is that all hope is not lost if you signed a waiver. You can still potentially recover damages for your injuries, but a waiver does make things more complicated.

    What is a Waiver?

    A waiver is basically a document a person signs that says the person signing the document waives his or her right to pursue a claim or hold somebody else responsible for their injuries or other damages. Waivers can come in a variety of different types. Waivers are sometimes referred to as exculpatory clauses, hold harmless agreements, indemnity agreements, and pre-injury releases.

    The language in a waiver is important because it helps determine what is being waived and whether the waiver is enforceable in the first place. Many waivers contain very broad language that attempts to exculpate the wrongdoer from any and all responsibility for their conduct.

    Where are Waivers Used?

    Businesses are increasingly using waivers in an attempt to avoid any responsibility for their wrongful conduct. Waivers are commonly encountered at trampoline parks, amusement parks, theme parks, zip lines, canopy tours, go kart rides, sports leagues, and sporting and recreational events.

    Are Waivers Enforceable?

    The first question that must be answered anytime an injured person has signed a waiver is whether the waiver is enforceable. There are a number of Georgia cases that discuss the circumstances in which a waiver is unenforceable. Generally speaking, the parties have the freedom of contract and can waive their rights. However, a waiver cannot violate public policy. A waiver may violate public policy if there is a statute that says a waiver cannot be used. Or there might be Georgia case law that says a certain type of waiver violates public policy because it jeopardizes the public interest.

    A waiver may be unenforceable because of the subject matter it relates to. Examples of waivers that Georgia courts have held are unenforceable include a waiver in an agreement for the construction or maintenance of a building. Waivers in lease agreements that attempt to shield a landlord from any liability are also unenforceable. Georgia courts have also refused to enforce waivers and exculpatory agreements for medical professionals.

    Even if a waiver does not violate public policy, the language of the agreement still must be analyzed. A waiver must be clear and unambiguous. If the language is not prominent, clear, and unambiguous, then a court may decline to enforce the waiver.

    Waivers and Gross Negligence

    What if the waiver does not violate public policy and the language is clear and umambiguous? Does this mean the courthouse doors are locked when you try to seek justice for your injuries? The short answer is no. Regardless of whether you have signed an enforceable waiver, a person or business can still be held liable if their conduct amounted to gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. These standards are higher than the ordinary negligence standard that normally applies in an injury case, but it is not an impossible standard to meet.

    What Should You Do If You Are Injured But You Signed a Waiver?

    If you are injured in Georgia, but you signed a waiver that says you waive your right to sue, you should immediately contact an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney. In any injury case, it is always a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney. If you signed a waiver, your case will likely be more complicated, which makes it even more important for you to contact an injury attorney as soon as possible.

    If you have questions about a waiver you signed before sustaining an injury in Georgia, call the Atlanta, Georgia personal injury attorneys at The Champion Firm, P.C., for a free consultation.

  • What Factors Are Considered When Determining The Value of My Case in Georgia?

    People often wonder if it's worth it to hire a personal injury attorney after a car accident or other injury. While some cases are straightforward and don't require an attorney's expertise, that's not always the case. In this video, Smyrna personal injury attorney Darl Champion talks about some of the nuances of dealing with different insurance providers, whether you'll have to pay back health insurance, and other factors that could impact your case.

    How much is my personal injury case worth? This is one of the most frequently asked questions that my clients have. There is almost never a clear-cut answer to this question because there is not a magic formula or calculator that can be used to determine a case’s value. Every case is different, and the value of a case depends on a variety of factors. Some of those factors include whether the other driver was clearly at fault or whether liability is in question, whether you share any blame for causing the accident, the amount of property damage to the cars, the amount of your medical expenses and lost wages, the nature and severity of your injuries, the extent of your pain and suffering, the amount of available insurance coverage, whether there are any aggravating factors in the accident, and the credibility or likability of the parties involved. Based on all of these factors, as well as any others that may be unique to your case, an experienced personal injury attorney can generally come up with a range for the settlement value of your case and determine how to approach settlement discussions with that range in mind. To evaluate a case’s value, it is important to understand the types of damages you are entitled to claim. Broadly speaking, damages fall into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive.

    Economic Damages

    Economic damages, also known as special damages, are the economic losses you sustained because of the accident. The most common types of economic damages are medical expenses and lost wages. Under the collateral source rule, you are entitled to claim the full amount that your medical provider bills, regardless of whether they have been paid by health insurance or some other source. This is important to remember because many people believe they can only claim the bills they actually pay out of their own pocket, such as their portion of the co-pay and deductible.

    Likewise, you still get to claim lost wages if you miss time from work but still receive payment for your missed time. For example, you may receive payment from using accrued leave time, a disability policy, or workers’ compensation coverage if the accident occurred while you were working. In this scenario, the collateral source rule allows you to claim the missed time from work as lost wages.

    You may have additional out-of-pocket expenses you are entitled to claim. For example, you may have to make frequent trips for medical treatments. Or you may have to pay someone to perform tasks you normally performed, such as household chores, going to the grocery store, or doing yard work. It is important to keep an accurate record of any out-of-pocket expenses, including any documentation, such as receipts, that show what you paid.

    Non-Economic Damages

    Non-economic damages are also referred to as general damages. This category of damages includes things like pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, diminished capacity to labor, and bodily disfigurement. These damages are the most frequent source of disagreement in settlement discussions because there is no clear mathematical formula for determining them. Under Georgia law, the standard is the “enlightened conscience of a fair and impartial jury.”

    Because nobody knows for a sure what a jury will do in a given case, the amount of non-economic damages an injured person is entitled to receive can be a hotly contested issue. A common myth is that insurance companies offer injured people three times their economic damages as compensation for their pain and suffering. This is simply not the case as there are many factors that go into determining a case’s value. Although no two cases are the same, insurance companies and personal injury attorneys will frequently use their experience handling injury cases, as well as past verdicts and settlements that are similar to your own, to help determine the value of these damages.

    Punitive

    Punitive damages are awarded where there are aggravating circumstances that justify an award of damages to punish, penalize, or deter a defendant. They are only appropriate when there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care that would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to the consequences. In car accident cases, punitive damages are most common when the driver was drunk, under the influence of drugs, or texting at the time of the accident. Some insurance policies will exclude punitive damages.

    As stated earlier, damages alone do not determine the value of a personal injury case. There are other considerations that must be taken into account. For example, there may be a question as to whether the other person is liable. Or, you could have clear liability and significant damages, but there may not be a source of money to pay for your losses if the defendant has little or no money and inadequate insurance coverage.

    If you have a Georgia personal injury case, it is important you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options. The Champion Firm, P.C., is an experienced Atlanta personal injury law firm that offers free consultations to potential clients. Contact us today for a free consultation with a highly rated Atlanta personal injury lawyer.

  • Should I File a Lawsuit in Georgia? Is It Worth It?

    A lot of people come to us who are a little bit apprehensive about contacting a personal injury attorney. They often say, “Well, I’m not the type of person to sue,” or “I don’t want to get rich off this accident.”

    I try and put their mind at ease and make sure that they know it’s not about taking advantage of anybody. It’s about making sure that they’re properly compensated, and that they’re made whole for what’s happened to them. The law says that if you are injured because of somebody else’s negligence, you’re entitled to compensation for things like your medical bills, for any missed time from work. You’re entitled to lost wages, and you’re entitled to pain and suffering as well.

    What we strive to do is to protect our client’s legal rights, and to make sure that they are adequately compensated and not taken advantage of. We make that process as smooth as possible by pursuing the case aggressively. Keeping the client updated so that it doesn’t drag on for years, and it’s not a huge inconvenience for the client in their life.