Whether you’re in a car accident or hurt by a medical professional, injuries can happen to anyone at any time. When that injury happens because of someone else’s actions or negligence, it can lead to a personal injury lawsuit.
At Hawkins Spizman & Fortas, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers have many years of experience representing clients who have been hurt by another party. We are intimately familiar with the different courts around Georgia, and we know how to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been injured, contact an Atlanta personal injury attorney at HSF Law Firm today by calling 678-248-6572 or filling out our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Types of Cases We Handle
At HSF Law Firm, we handle many different types of personal injury cases in Atlanta. These include:
- Brain Injury: A traumatic brain injury can be caused by a variety of factors, from car accidents to slip and fall incidents.
- Distracted Driving: Though Georgia has passed laws prohibiting cell phone use while driving, distracted drivers still cause accidents every day.
- Medical Malpractice: When a medical professional makes an error that leads to injury or death, they can be held liable for their actions.
- Motorcycle Accidents: Because motorcyclists are less protected than car drivers, motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in serious injury.
- Negligent Nursing: Elderly loved ones are too often subjected to abuse and negligence by medical professionals, either in their home or in a facility.
- Pedestrian Accidents: When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, whether they’re walking, riding a bike or are on a scooter, severe injuries occur.
- Premises Liability: Whether you’re in a store or in someone’s home, you have the right to compensation if you get injured on someone else’s property.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries, like whiplash and broken bones, can lead to serious complications after the initial injury.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord can result in partial or full paralysis and other issues, leading to a lifetime of expensive care.
- Trucking Accidents: Semi trucks dominate Atlanta’s highways, and a wreck with one causes serious or fatal injuries much more often than car accidents.
- Uber Car Accidents: Getting in a wreck while you’re in an Uber can lead to a variety of legal complications, which are difficult to figure out on your own.
- Wrongful Death: Though no amount of money can bring your loved one back, a wrongful death lawsuit can help ease your financial burden.
What You Should Do After You’re Injured
No matter how you’re injured in Atlanta, there are a few steps you should always take afterward. These steps not only protect your health and wellbeing, but they can also help you mount a stronger case if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit later on.
Note that there are different steps to take if your family has suffered a wrongful death. An experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney can explain these different steps to you.
1. Call 9-1-1 and Seek Medical Attention
In almost every personal injury situation, it’s important to call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance or EMTs. If police response is warranted, the responding officer will take statements from everyone involved and may also take witness statements.
Perhaps more importantly, requesting an ambulance or EMTs will ensure your injuries are evaluated by a trained medical professional. If your injuries aren’t evaluated on scene, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible after the fact. Otherwise, the defendant in your personal injury lawsuit could say you were injured in an unrelated incident.
If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice, it’s vital you seek medical attention from a doctor other than the one who allegedly caused the injuries or illness. Doing so will not only help your wellbeing, but that new doctor can provide expert testimony later on if need be.
2. Document Everything
In nearly every personal injury situation, you’ll need to take photos for evidence. For instance, if you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, you should try to take photos of the damage to your bike, the other car, road conditions, weather conditions, your injuries, the other driver’s information, and more. If you’re injured in a store, try to get photos of what caused the injury and other factors.
Of course, your documentation should go beyond the initial scene. Be sure to get records of all the medical attention you receive, including the costs of treatment, rehabilitation, therapy and more. You should also document the costs of any vehicle repairs, lost wages and other expenses you encounter due to your injury.
For wrongful death cases, be sure to document your loved one’s end-of-life medical expenses, including hospice care, funeral expenses, and proof of how much they made at their occupation, especially if you are a dependant.
All of this documentation will be incredibly valuable to your Atlanta personal injury attorney if you file a lawsuit.
3. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
One of the most common mistakes we see accident victims make is discontinuing medical treatment, whether it’s because they can’t afford it, they feel better or for some other reason. You should always do your best to continue medical treatment until your doctor says you no longer need to.
If you stopped following the regimen implemented by your doctor, the defendant in your personal injury lawsuit may be off the hook for any further complications. Perhaps more importantly, stopping the regimen set forth by your doctor could cause major issues later on, including infections and improper healing.
4. Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney
If you’re injured due to someone else’s actions or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. The best way to know whether you have a legitimate case is to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.
Lawyers often offer free consultations to prospective clients. During the consultation, they’ll evaluate your case and help you decide whether it’s a good idea to pursue it. It’s important to note that experienced lawyers know which cases will and won’t be successful. HSF Law Firm only collects payment if we win your case, so we’re skilled at determining the probability of a positive outcome. If we take on your case, it’s because we are confident we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
It’s also important to note that you should always get a free consultation, even if you aren’t sure if you have a case or not. This consultation should happen before you accept any kind of settlement offer from an insurance company.
Insurers are always looking out for their bottom line first and foremost and will often send a lowball offer. An experienced attorney can review that settlement offer and help you decide whether a personal injury lawsuit will result in a greater sum. But once you accept that offer, pursuing further compensation is all but impossible.
The Keys to Personal Injury Cases: Negligence
No matter the type of personal injury case, from car accidents to wrongful death, negligence is the most important factor. Negligence is often defined as the “failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances.”
In personal injury cases, negligence comes down to four elements:
- Duty of care: Depending on the situation, people have a certain duty of care to each other. For instance, drivers have a duty to be careful on the roads.
- Breach of duty: A person must have breached their duty of care. For instance, a driver running a red light and causing a wreck has breached their duty of care.
- The breach caused the injury: Just because someone breached their duty of care doesn’t mean they’re automatically liable; that breach must have caused injury.
- You suffered actual damages: Whether it’s medical expenses or pain and suffering, there must have been some kind of damages that can be monetarily compensated.
When all of these factors are met, negligence can be established in personal injury cases, and you have a much better chance of winning your case. However, the other party must be a certain percentage at fault for you to receive compensation.
Georgia’s Comparative Negligence Laws
Very few states follow what’s known as contributory negligence statutes. This means if you are even 1% at fault for your injuries, you cannot receive compensation. Thankfully, Georgia is not one of those states.
Instead, Georgia follows what’s known as a modified comparative negligence statute. Specifically, if you are 50% or more at fault for your injuries, you cannot receive compensation. But if you are less than 50% at fault for your injuries, can recover some or all of the compensation awarded to you.
You are driving on I-85 at night, when traffic in front of you suddenly stops. You come to a stop, but one of your tail lights is out. The driver behind you is texting, and doesn’t see you stop. They rear-end you, and you suffer from whiplash and a broken jaw after slamming into the steering wheel.
Because your tail light was out, the court finds you 20% at fault for the accident. You are awarded $10,000 in compensation for your injuries, but because you were 20% negligent, you will only receive $8,000.
Of course, this is a very simple example. Your lawyer can go into greater detail of your specific case and how negligence will play a role in it.
Talk to an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in Georgia, know that you have the right to legal representation. At Hawkins, Spizman & Fortas, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers are ready to help you. We offer free consultations, during which we can help you decide the best path forward.
Don’t wait; in Georgia, you only have 2 years from the time of injury to file a lawsuit. Call us today at 678-248-6572 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.