When you suffer a personal injury – which can be physical, mental, or emotional – make sure to get as much documentation of the injury as you can, and contact witnesses if there are any. If you think you may have a personal injury claim, but aren’t sure how great your case is, a personal injury lawyer can help. Make sure to choose one who works on a “no win, no fee” policy. They’ll have the incentive to fight for you, and they won’t be tempted to take on an unwinnable case.
The first thing to know when considering filing a personal injury claim in Georgia is the statue of limitations. You’ve got two years from the date of your injury to file your claim. If you’re filing against a city or county government, you’ve only got six months.
Personal injury is not quite as simple as it looks. In Georgia, if you file a personal injury claim, you can expect that the defendant will respond with his or her own claim to try to mitigate their liability. That’s because Georgia has a modified comparative fault rule, meaning the court can determine that both parties bear some responsibility for the injury, and whatever percentage of fault is assigned to the injured party take a proportional bite out of the settlement. And if the injured party is determined to be at least 50-percent at fault, he or she won’t collect anything.
Also know punitive damages for a personal injury are capped at $250,000 in Georgia. Up to that limit you can claim for medical expenses like ambulance rides, emergency room care, hospitalization, surgeries, and prescription drugs as well as resultant income loss. You can also claim for damage to your physical and emotional well-being.
When it comes down to it, you’re likely going to want to consult with a personal injury lawyer who can see all the angles of your claim and advise as to the best course of action. Litigation costs money – even if it’s the lawyer’s – and a risk-benefit analyis needs to be undertaken. How much time and money is the case going to take? How much money can you claim? How likely are you to win? Will the other party be able to argue you were at least partially at fauly? Only a professional can weigh these factors and decide when it’s best to pursue a personal injury claim and when it’s not.
A professional will also be able to help you potentially settle without every having to sue in the first place, which can be a lot quicker and a lot less painful. A typical out-of-court settlement can be reached in eight months to a year. A lawsuit can take appreciably longer. But it’s become proverbial to observe that the wheels of justice turn slowly. Sometimes you’re lucky if they’re turning at all – let alone toward some place you’re actually looking to go.