At Brian Cathey Law, we get a lot of questions about Athens personal injury lawsuits. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions here, but if you need further information, don't hesitate to call us at 706-363-0821 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney.
What Types of Personal Injury Claims Does Brian Cathey Law Handle?
The team at Brian Cathey Law in Athens handle a wide range of personal injury and accident cases. This list is representative but not exhaustive of the types of cases we handle.
- Bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Bus accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Nursing home accidents or abuse
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premise liability
- Sexual harassment
- Truck accidents
- Public transit accidents
- Rideshare accidents
- Train accidents
What's the Difference between a Claim and a Lawsuit?
Many people interchange the words personal injury claim and lawsuit, which can be confusing to a certain extent. All personal injury lawsuits were once claims, but not all personal injury claims become lawsuits.
Claims are legal demands for compensation. This means a demand letter is sent, typically, to an insurance company for payment following an accident. There can be negotiations, an investigation, and more, before a settlement is offered.
Lawsuits, on the other hand, are legal actions. This means the claim is decided in court and involves one party, the plaintiff, suing another party, the defendant, for compensation. Though a settlement can still be negotiated prior to trial, the claim becomes a lawsuit once it enters the court system.
Do I Have to go to Court for a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?
No, filing a case in court and going through the court process are not required in every personal injury claim. In fact, a large majority of personal injury claims settle prior to filing a case in court or before a trial if a case must be filed.
A trial in a personal injury case is often the last resort for all parties involved because of the increased costs associated with a trial. Unfortunately, insurance companies and negligent parties do not always present fair offers for settlement, so a trial is always a possibility following an accident.
What Types of Damages Could I Receive in Georgia for a Personal Injury Claim?
The common types of damages available for recovery in a personal injury claim include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are intended to compensate you for your losses from the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages.
Non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for the pain and suffering experienced during and after the accident and any loss of your ability to enjoy your life. In some cases, you might also be entitled to punitive damages for especially careless or reckless actions of the responsible parties. The amount and specific types of damages available in a personal injury claim vary significantly based on the case's circumstances.
Can I Still Recover Compensation in Georgia if I Contributed to the Injury?
Your role in causing an accident could potentially limit or bar your recovery of damages in a personal injury claim depending on where the accident occurred. Generally, in settlement negotiations or if the case goes to trial, the parties will argue the percentage of fault of all parties. If you are determined to be partly at fault for the accident, any damage award could be limited by your percentage of fault.
In some states, if yoPersonu are found more than 50 percent at fault or responsible in any percentage, you could be barred from recovering any damages, no matter how significant your damages were following the accident. This is why hiring a Georgia personal injury attorney is imperative.
What Happens to My Personal Injury Claim if I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?
Pre-existing conditions can play a substantial part in a personal injury case. In general, you are not entitled to compensation for pre-existing injuries that were not affected in the accident. However, you could be entitled to damages if your pre-existing condition was exacerbated or aggravated by the accident.
Proving an exacerbation or aggravation commonly requires determining the severity of the pre-existing condition prior to and following the accident. As such, pre-existing conditions often lead to significant contention from the insurance companies.
I Was in an Accident in Athens, Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You are not required to have a personal injury lawyer following an accident; however, a lawyer could explain your legal options and help secure a more favorable result. Often, insurance companies will try to take advantage of unrepresented individuals in the claim process with low settlement offers.
A Georgia personal injury lawyer understands the value of a case and when an offer is appropriate for the damage and harm caused in an accident. Additionally, a lawyer could handle the complex court process through its conclusion if a claim does not settle prior to the state deadline for filing a claim.
How Much Will a Personal Injury or Accident Attorney Cost in Athens?
How much a personal injury or accident attorney will cost depends on many factors. If the case settles before entering into litigation, then you can save a lot expenses. If it goes to trial, it can get expensive, especially considering the experts that might need to be involved. The number and types of experts depends on the case itself, the injury, and the defendant(s).
Another important factor determining the costs of a personal injury lawyer is whether the attorney offers legal services on:
- A contingency basis, where you only pay if you win and even then, the fees are usually taken directly out of the settlement or award as opposed to your own pocket
- A fixed rate basis, where you pay one fee that may or may not be inclusive of certain other fees and expenses
- An hourly basis, where -- as described -- you pay on an hourly basis, and this type, too, may or may not include certain other fees and expenses
Regardless of the fee structure, each type has pros and cons. You need to weigh those pros and cons alongside your unique situation. Ultimately, you want to make sure you know exactly what you are getting for what you are paying.
What Happens if I File a Lawsuit after the Statute of Limitations?
When the insurer does not settle, and you want to file a lawsuit, you must do so within your state's timeframe as outlined in the relevant statute of limitations. Insurance adjusters know this, and many will take advantage of it. They may try to stall or lead you on with promises they never intend to fulfill. By the time you catch on and try to file, time is up.
Meeting with a personal injury lawyer in Georgia soon after you suffer the injury, even if only for a consultation, can help you understand your rights and give you an opportunity to ask about deadlines. If you do not file timely, you may miss your chance to receive just and fair compensation.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Athens Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and are considering whether to pursue a claim, you should contact Brian Cathey Law to schedule a free initial consultation. Call 706-363-0821 or fill out our contact form to get started on your road to recovery.