Georgia Personal injury Frequently Asked Questions
Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC is a Georgia-based personal injury firm devoted to advocating for the rights of victims and families. We handle the full range of injury and accident claims in Georgia—from car accidents and truck accidents to medical malpractice claims and workers’ compensation claims. It is our mission to empower people with the information that they need to get justice and the maximum financial compensation. In this resource guide, you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about accident and injury claims in Georgia. If you have any specific questions or concerns about your case, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free, no obligation initial consultation.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?
You do not have an unlimited time to take action after an accident. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is typically two years from the date of the injury. What implications does this have for your legal claim? You must file your lawsuit within two years from the date the injury occurred. Otherwise, you may not be eligible to bring a legal claim at all. There are only very limited exceptions to the Georgia statute of limitations. Be proactive: Consult with a top Georgia personal injury attorney right away after a serious accident.
What is the Standard of Liability in a Georgia Personal Injury Claim?
In a Georgia personal injury claim, fault (liability) in a personal injury claim generally arises based on negligence. For a defendant to be held legally responsible for an accident, the plaintiff (injured victim) must prove that the defendant’s careless or reckless conduct contributed to the accident.
What constitutes negligence always varies based on the underlying case. For example, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care. A motorist who runs a red light and strikes a pedestrian can be held legally responsible for the accident. Running a red light is negligence.
Note: There are a few types of claims in which a different standard of liability applies. Most notably, Georgia is a strict state for defective product claims. A manufacturer may be legally responsible for harm caused by a dangerous and defective product even without a finding of negligence.
How is Negligence Defined in Georgia?
Broadly speaking, negligence is the failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation. In other words, it refers to the failure to act with the caution and foresight that an average, sensible person would show under similar circumstances. To successfully bring a personal injury claim based on negligence, the victim must demonstrate that:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the injured victim;
- The defendant breached that duty of care;
- The breach directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries; and
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the breach.
What is Comparative Negligence and How Does it Work in Georgia?
Comparative negligence is a legal concept used to determine liability and damages based on the degree to which each party is at fault. Georgia follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule. If you are partially at fault for your own injuries, your compensation can be reduced by a percentage that is directly proportional to your percentage fault. For example, if you are 30 percent at fault for an accident and have $50,000 in damages, you would only be eligible to recover $35,000 through an injury claim. You would bear legal responsibility for 30 percent ($15,000) of your own damages.
Note: Under Georgia’s comparative negligence standard, an injured victim who is found to be more than 50 percent at fault for their own accident will be barred from recovering compensation.
What Evidence Can I Use to Prove Negligence in a Personal Injury Case?
As with any other type of legal case, a successful personal injury claim should be built on a strong and sturdy foundation of reliable supporting evidence. What types of evidence can be used to prove fault? It depends on the specific circumstances. Evidence can include:
- Photographs: Pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and any property damage.
- Surveillance Video: Footage from security cameras or dash cams.
- Witness Statements: Statements from individuals who saw the incident occur.
- Expert Testimony: Specialists who can attest to specific aspects of the case, such as accident reconstructionists.
- Police Reports: Official records that detail the incident can be highly compelling.
- Physical Evidence: Damaged property, clothing, or other tangible evidence from the scene.
Of course, evidence can quickly be lost in the aftermath of an accident. Do not delay. Your case should be thoroughly and proactively investigated by an experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will help to ensure that evidence is collected and preserved.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect to Recover in a Personal Injury Claim?
It depends. For the most part, a personal injury settlement or personal injury verdict in Georgia is designed to be compensatory in nature. A number of different factors can impact your potential recovery, including your ability to prove liability and the extent of your damages. Depending on your specific situation, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation for:
- Property damage, such vehicle repairs;
- Emergency room treatment;
- Medical expenses;
- Long-term medical needs;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning power;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental distress;
- Permanent disability; and
- Wrongful death.
What Steps Should I Take After a Motor Vehicle Collision in Georgia?
Were you involved in a motor vehicle crash in Atlanta, Augusta, or anywhere else in Georgia? If so, it is crucial that you take proactive measures to protect your health, safety, well-being, legal rights, and financial interests. Here are key things to do after a traffic crash in Georgia:
- Safety First: Ensure everyone is safe and move vehicles out of traffic if possible.
- Call the Police: All injury collisions must be reported to police in Georgia.
- Seek Medical Attention: You need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Document the Scene: Remember, Georgia is a fault-based insurance state.
- Notify Your Insurance: Be sure to report the accident to your insurance company.
- Consult an Attorney: You do not need to take on the legal claims process alone.
Is Georgia a No-Fault Auto Insurance State?
No, Georgia is not a no-fault auto insurance state. While there are some no-fault insurance jurisdictions in the United States, Georgia is not among them. Instead, Georgia operates under an “at-fault” or “tort” system. In effect, this means that the party—whether a motorist, a trucking company, a vehicle manufacturer, or any other defendant—who was found legally responsible for causing a crash can be held liable for the resulting injuries. Hurt in a crash in Georgia? You can sue the party who caused that accident through careless, reckless, or other negligent conduct.
What is a Premises Liability Claim?
Businesses and property owners in Georgia have a responsibility to ensure their premises are in reasonably safe and secure condition. A premises liability claim arises when a person is injured on someone else’s property due to the property owner’s negligence. Some examples of premises liability claims in Georgia include:
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Lack of proper maintenance;
- Equipment malfunctions; and
- Negligent security claims.
To succeed in a premises liability claim, the injured party typically needs to prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to rectify it or adequately warn visitors. Consult with an experienced Georgia premises liability attorney as soon as possible after suffering an injury on another person’s property.
How Do Medical Malpractice Claims Work in Georgia?
Medical negligence in Georgia arises when a healthcare provider—such as a doctor, a nurse, a hospital, or another facility—fails to provide care that is consistent with the standard of care that a reasonably competent medical professional would have provided under similar circumstances. A patient may have a medical malpractice claim if they were harmed due to medical negligence. These are extremely complex legal cases. To pursue such a claim in Georgia, the plaintiff must often present a sworn affidavit from a qualified medical expert attesting to at least one negligent act committed by the defendant and the fact that this negligence caused the patient’s harm.
When Can a Nursing Home Be Held Liable for Harm Caused By Abuse or Neglect?
When you help a vulnerable loved one move into a nursing home, you and your family put a tremendous amount of faith in the hands of the facility. When nursing homes in Georgia fail to provide adequate care, they must be held accountable. Some notable examples of circumstances in which a Georgia nursing home may be deemed negligent include:
- Improper Hiring or Inadequate Training: Nursing homes must properly train their staff. If harm results from a staff member not knowing how to properly care for residents or handle medical equipment, the facility can be held liable.
- Understaffing: Many problems in nursing homes arise due to inadequate staffing. If the nursing home doesn’t have enough staff to adequately care for its residents, and this leads to neglect or abuse, the facility can be found liable.
- Medication Errors: Prescription medication is extremely powerful—and quite dangerous if not used properly. If staff administer the wrong medication or the wrong dosage and a resident is harmed, the nursing home may be held accountable.
- Failure to Maintain Safe Conditions: If residents are harmed because of hazards like wet floors, poor lighting, or malfunctioning equipment, the nursing home may be responsible.
Will I Have to Go to Trial in My Personal Injury Case?
Probably not—though it is always a possibility. The most comprehensive civil court data shows that fewer than five percent—maybe as little as two percent—of personal injury claims ever go to trial. Why? The majority of cases are resolved through negotiations between the involved parties, often resulting in a settlement that both sides find acceptable. A Georgia personal injury lawyer can help you work towards a full and fair settlement. However, if a proper settlement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to take the case to trial. You should always be represented by a trial-tested lawyer.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer?
You do not have to worry about upfront costs or out-of-pocket fees. At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, our Georgia law firm handles personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. There are no hourly costs. Instead of charging our clients, we only receive a percentage of the settlement or award we secure for you. Our attorneys only get paid when you get paid.
Who Can File a Claim If a Personal is Killed in an Accident in Georgia?
The loss of a close loved one in an accident is horrific. A fatal accident can give rise to a wrongful death claim. In Georgia, if a person is tragically killed in an accident, the right to file a claim usually falls to the representative of the deceased’s estate. The deceased’s surviving spouse has the primary right to file a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving spouse, the right passes to the deceased’s children. If there are no surviving spouses or children, the deceased’s parents or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file the claim. Determining how to navigate this type of claim can be especially complicated. Our Georgia wrongful death lawyer can help.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation With an Experienced Trial Lawyer
At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, we go above and beyond to protect the rights and interests of the people who need help the most—injured victims and their families. If you or your loved one was hurt in any type of accident, please contact us to arrange your free, no obligation, and fully confidential consultation. With law offices in Atlanta and Augusta, our law firm is well-situated to handle accident and injury claims throughout the State of Georgia.
"My family and I turned to Stephen Chance and Lance Lourie to help us through a very bad situation concerning our mother and a nursing home. They helped us with their knowledge and caring attitude...."