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FAQ: Are doctors required to have insurance in Georgia?

FAQ: What should I do with my social media while my Atlanta personal injury claim is pending?

Our clients often have concerns about their social media activity during a pending personal injury claim. Watch this video to learn how social media can impact your case, as well as what to do, and what not to do online while your claim is pending.

Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth 3 Times The Cost of 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.

How Accurate Are Personal Injury Settlement Calculators?

How Accurate Are Personal Injury Settlement Calculators?

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.

How Long Will My Case Take?

How Long Will My Case Take?

When we get hired, clients will always ask us, “how long is this going to take?” And what I always tell people, “it’s going to take as long as it takes for the other side to offer you a fair value on the case. Until then, we’re going to keep on marching towards the courtroom, and marching towards a trial.” Some cases resolve in a matter of months, some take a year, some take two years or more. It really depends on the circumstances of the case. At the end of the day, there’s nothing that can require another party to settle a case. Settlements are voluntary. It’s when two sides come together and settle a dispute. If one side doesn’t want to settle, you can’t make them do it. The way that you make them pay you money is by taking them to court, going to trial, and getting a judgement against them. Then they have to pay.

Police Body Cam Cases

Police Body Cam Cases

Every police department is different on what types of cameras they might require, whether it’s body cam, some police officers have cameras on their tasers that are activated when they deploy them. Anytime we’ve got somebody alleging that the police did something wrong, it’s important that there be some type of video evidence. If there isn’t video evidence, then we’re generally looking for an independent witness who can verify what happened. Because a lot of times what we find are the statements between the person who is having the encounter with police differs greatly from what the police say happened. Now, sometimes the police are telling the truth, and the person that had the encounter, they had force used against them, they were arrested, maybe they were in the wrong, maybe they’re lying about what happened, maybe they just have a different memory of what happened. But unfortunately, sometimes the police don’t tell the truth. Maybe sometimes they shade the truth and try to put a spin on facts. And so that’s why it’s important to try to find any kind of video evidence you can. Of course with cell phones now and what we find a lot of are bystanders recording encounters with cellphones, and that can be helpful as well.

Common Mistakes People Make After An Accident

Common Mistakes People Make After An Accident

One of the number one mistakes that people will make after an accident is trying to handle the case on their own and not hiring an attorney as soon as possible. Sometimes we’ll get a case that’s maybe six months into the process and the client had been handling it on their own, so they’ve given recorded statements to the insurance company, they’ve said all these things about their injuries, or the insurance companies got them tripped up in their recorded statements that they’ll use against them later, maybe there’s some sort of gap or delay in treatment. There’s a number of things that can go wrong when a client doesn’t have an attorney by their side advising them. Another common mistake that clients make is not getting medical treatment. I think it’s common for people to get in some sort of accident, whether it’s a car accident, a slip and fall, or whatever it may be, and to feel like “ok, I’m going to go home, take some pain medication and try and ride this out, let my body heal.” And two or three weeks go by, maybe a month goes by, and they’re not better, so then they go to the doctor. Well the insurance company’s argument is “why did you go so late?” And what I always tell clients is, it’s about documentation and being able to show the other side and to prove to them that you were hurt. If it’s not in a medical record, the insurance company and their defense attorneys aren’t going to believe you. In a jury, if the case goes to trial, a jury may have a hard time believing that you were hurt if you didn’t get medical treatment. So delays in getting treatment at the beginning of a case, and gaps in treatment as the case goes on can really, really harm a case.

Medical Bills

Medical Bills

When somebody’s been injured and they have medical bills coming in, they often ask us “what do I do with these?” And there’s a number of different options. If our clients have health insurance, health insurance should be getting billed. If they don’t have health insurance, or maybe there’s a copay or deductible they can’t afford to pay, sometimes we can ask the doctor’s office to hold off on payment. It’s called a Letter of Protection. We just send a letter to the doctors saying “hey we’ll protect your right to claim this debt, and make sure that it’s paid back out of the settlement when we get it.” Sometimes our clients don’t want us to do that, sometimes our clients want to handle it on their own, and maybe set up a payment plan with the doctor’s office, or maybe talk to them directly. There’s a number of options though, and that’s why it’s important to talk to your attorney that’s representing you and make sure that your bills are being handled the right way. What we don’t want to happen is you have bills coming in and you just let them pile up, you don’t let the attorney know, you don’t ask the attorney for advice, and they go into collections and it harms your credit. At least tell your attorney about it, so that we can come up with a game plan on how we’re going to tackle those bills.

Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations

Georgia and every state has what is called a Statute of Limitations for a variety of types of cases. For personal injury cases in Georgia, the Statute of Limitations is generally two years from the date of injury. There’s a variety of things though that can extend that and there’s a variety of things that may actually shorten it, not necessarily the Statute of Limitations, but that may require you to do certain things pre-suit, before filing suit. For example, if you have a claim against a governmental entity like a city, a county, or the state, you might have to go through what’s called the Ante Litem Process, which certain government officials have to be given written notice of the claim in a certain way and in a certain form. If somebody’s sitting back thinking they have two years, but maybe they only have six months or one year to do the Ante Litem Notice and they miss that deadline, they can’t bring the claim. So it’s important to make sure that every case is analyzed to determine what the specific limitations period is. In terms of extending the period, there are things that will extend the Statute of Limitations period. For example, if somebody is a minor, they generally have two years from the date they turn eighteen. But there’s a variety of things that need to be taken into account with that too. So if somebody’s a minor, the parents actually have the claim for the medical bills, and the parents have two years from the date of the injury to bring the claim for the medical bills. If they don’t do that, they’re not able to recover for that claim. So, it’s important that every case be analyzed to determine what specific limitations periods may apply to the overall case and any claims within it, because if an attorney sits back and misses that deadline, the client can be seriously harmed if they’re unable to bring a lawsuit later.

Spine, Back, and Neck Injuries

Spinal Injuries

One of the most complex things about spine injury cases is a lot of people have had back or neck issues at some point in their life. Maybe it’s, you know, they wake up with a stiff neck, or a stiff back. Maybe they throw their back out in the yard or playing sports. Maybe they’ve had a prior car accident and they’ve gotten some chiropractic treatment. Back and neck injury cases can be very difficult just because of that. Another reason why they’re so difficult is because it’s difficult to show what exactly you might see on an MRI to show whether that’s related to this specific accident or whether it was preexisting. Or maybe it was preexisting but this accident aggravated it and made it worse, and that may be recoverable. One of the best ways to show an insurance company, to show a defense attorney, to show a jury, that somebody’s back or neck injury is related to this incident, is to support it with as much facts as possible to get out there and talk to the friends and the family members and the coworkers who can talk about how they were before. Maybe they didn’t have any problems at all with their back or neck, maybe they had a prior back or neck issue but it wasn’t as bad and now it’s worse. So really being able to explain that and to show the other side that story is important to proving any case involving a back or neck injury.