What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?
A personal injury attorney represents clients who may have experienced an injury, whether the injury took place on a job site, in a car accident, on someone’s property, or in other locations.
Tort law refers to negligence or intentional actions that may lead to personal injury and is the basis for personal injury cases. Experienced personal injury attorneys fight tirelessly to help their clients pursue compensation for the damages incurred due to personal injury.
What Makes a Valid Tort Claim?
For a tort case to be effective, four aspects must be reviewed to determine the validity of your options to pursue compensation or damages.
The first aspect that must be present is that the other party had a duty of care to the victim. A duty of care can be described as what reasonable actions another party would have under the same circumstances to ensure other parties aren’t harmed by their actions.
The second aspect is that there was a breach of this duty by the alleged other party. For example, the other party was aware of their duty of care to follow safety laws like obeying stop signs or not speeding.
Due to this breach of duty, an accident occurred, and the victim incurred injuries, the third and fourth elements of negligence.
You may have a valid personal injury case if these aspects are evident and easily presented. Consult an experienced attorney to determine your specific options.
What Are Some of a Personal Injury Attorney’s Duties?
A personal injury attorney will work to investigate the incident, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies or other relevant parties, request further documentation regarding medical bills or accident recreation, and more.
To further utilize the earlier example of a person who chose not to obey traffic laws, which led to an accident where you were injured. In this case, your personal injury attorney will gather evidence such as video or pictures during or after the accident if available, gather or confirm eyewitness accounts, and speak with responding law enforcement and emergency personnel when relevant. They may also dig further into the medical or police records surrounding the incident.
They may negotiate with the other party’s insurance companies to get a more appropriate settlement if they feel the original amount is too low. Negotiating is incredibly valuable, and since most of us don’t have to negotiate frequently, we may not be as effective as an attorney. Their experience and knowledge can be invaluable, and this may be especially evident during negotiations.
Should I Seek Legal Assistance Even If I’m Partially At Fault?
One of the biggest misconceptions following an accident is that the victim may feel they aren’t entitled to any damages because they were partially at fault. This isn’t entirely true.
Georgia (and several other states) follow a modified comparative negligence rule. This rule states that even if you are partially at fault for the incident, you may still be eligible for damages. If you are less than 50% responsible for the accident that occurred, you can typically seek damages.
Contrary to what some may believe, that they had a part in the incident that occurred through their actions and therefore won’t be eligible to recover damages, they may still be able to pursue a portion of the damages.
Each party will be found to be a certain percentage at fault for the incident. If you are found to be 25% at fault for the incident, your portion of the damages will be reduced by that amount. For example, if the total damages awarded are $100,000, your portion would be $75,000 if you were found to be 25% at fault.
What Types of Damages May I Recover?
You may be able to pursue a few categories following a personal injury: medical expenses, other expenses, lost wages, and compensation for emotional pain and suffering.
Some of the damages may be straightforward to calculate, such as the amount of medical expenses you incurred or the amount of wages that were missed while you were healing or attending medical appointments to address your injuries. Other damages may be more challenging to calculate, such as how much is appropriate to pursue pain and suffering. Your personal injury attorney can help ensure you aren’t settling for far less than you deserve.
When Should I Call a Personal Injury Attorney?
Following most significant injuries or incidents, it can be in your best interest to seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney. One of the main reasons for this is insurance companies are notorious for trying to get their clients to settle for far less than they deserve. They will use tactics that frustrate you, such as denying your claim or offering a minimal amount several times, so you will choose to settle just to get the process over with.
The facts of your accident may not be evident, and further investigation may be needed. If this is the case, it’s a great time to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
By consulting an attorney immediately following the accident, you can discuss your options and determine the necessary next steps so you aren’t inadvertently hurting your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve, like missing the statute of limitations on your personal injury case. Especially when medical expenses are incurred, it is hugely beneficial for you to seek legal assistance. We all know that medical costs aren’t cheap, and following an accident that wasn’t entirely your fault, they can be increasingly frustrating.
Contact our office today at (706) 503-7811 to learn more about how our compassionate and capable team can help you.