Assisting Clients in Duluth with Personal Injury Claims
The experienced Duluth personal injury lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with filing your personal injury claim or lawsuit against the responsible persons or entities, to pursue the economic recovery you deserve for your injuries. Give us a call today to find out more about how we can assist you throughout your personal injury case.
Duluth is a relatively safe place to live, though too many people still find themselves at the emergency room at Northside Hospital for accidental injuries. Whether a car hit you at the dangerous intersection of Duluth Highway and Satellite Boulevard, or you believe your parent suffered harm at a nursing home, injuries can be costly.
When people are involved in motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, mass transit accidents, pedestrian accidents, and boating accidents that are due to someone else’s negligence, severe injuries will likely result. When an accident is serious, it is more likely that any injuries will be equally serious and require significant medical treatment and therapy. In some instances, symptoms can last for many years, sometimes for the rest of an accident victim’s life.
If you or someone you love sustained injuries and someone else was to blame, you may be eligible to recover monetary compensation as part of a personal injury case. In a personal injury lawsuit, the accident victim sues the at-fault individual or entity directly, in an attempt to recover compensation for all injuries and damages sustained.
Handling All Types of Duluth Injury Claims
Because injuries happen in so many different ways, our legal team is prepared to handle claims involving:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Dog bites
- Construction accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Mass transit accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Truck accidents
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Rideshare accidents
- Bus accidents
- Slip and falls
- Train accidents
You do not have an infinite amount of time to start your case, so you should not delay in consulting with our office.
Statutes of Limitation in Duluth Personal Injury Cases
As with other states in the country, Georgia personal injury cases have a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations exists in the state of Georgia to prevent evidence from going stale and to ensure that witnesses remain available with their memories fresh if the case ultimately goes to trial.
There is a two-year statute of limitations in Georgia personal injury cases that applies in almost every instance. The statute takes effect on the date of the accident and continues for two years after that. To ensure that the statute remains protected, you or your attorney must file a lawsuit within this two-year time period. If no one files a lawsuit within that time, the accident victim cannot pursue or recover monetary compensation for their personal injuries resulting from the accident at any point in the future.
The experienced Duluth personal injury lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm understand the importance of filing a personal injury lawsuit expertly and promptly. Our experienced legal team will make sure to file the lawsuit in your case promptly and that the lawsuit names all parties responsible for your accident.
Satisfying the Burden of Proof in Duluth Personal Injury Cases
An accident victim who files a claim or lawsuit arising from a personal injury has the burden of proving fault (liability) and damages. In some cases, the at-fault person or entity may admit fault for the accident. Such an admission is especially common in negligent driving and drunk driving accident cases when the driver who caused the accident is issued a citation or is otherwise deemed criminally responsible for the occurrence.
In other cases, however, there may be a dispute over liability.
When a dispute takes place, the accident victim must demonstrate that:
- The at-fault person owed a duty of care to act reasonably under the given circumstances.
- The at-fault person acted in an unreasonable manner (such as by failing to reasonably inspect a property for defects or driving through a red light)
- As a result, the accident took place, and the victim sustained injuries as a result.
Acting “unreasonably” means doing something that a reasonable person would not have done or failing to do something that a reasonable person would have done under a specific set of circumstances.
When it comes to proving liability, expert testimony is sometimes necessary. For example, an accident reconstructionist may piece together how a particular accident took place. In addition, lay witness testimony may help determine how an accident occurred. In motor vehicle accidents, for instance, lay witnesses can testify about the relative speeds of the motor vehicles involved in the accident, as well as how the vehicles maneuvered just before the accident (such as swerving, braking suddenly, or running a red light or stop sign).
In addition to proving that another person or entity caused your accident, you must demonstrate that you sustained injuries and that the accident was the cause of these injuries. When it comes to proving a causal connection between an accident and specific injuries, medical testimony may be necessary. For example, a doctor may testify that certain injuries directly resulted from an accident, as opposed to a pre-existing condition or naturally occurring degenerative change. A treating doctor may also write a report that establishes a nexus between a particular injury and the accident in question.
The skilled Duluth personal injury attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can help you prove all of the legal elements of your claim and establish that you are entitled to monetary compensation and damages.
Filing a Duluth Personal Injury Claim
If you sustained one or more personal injuries in an accident that was not your fault, you may file a personal injury claim with the at-fault person or entity’s insurance company. If you do not know the identity of the at-fault individual (or their insurance company), you may file the claim against your own insurance company (known as an uninsured motorist claim), such as in a phantom vehicle accident case.
In addition to notifying the insurance company about the claim, your attorney can submit a demand package to the insurance company’s claims adjuster. The submitted demand package will likely contain a cover letter that makes an initial monetary settlement demand. If you sustained severe personal injuries in the accident (and depending on the amount of insurance coverage that is in play), this initial settlement demand might end up being a demand for policy limits.
In addition to the demand letter, a settlement demand package will include all of your related medical records and bills, along with other important pieces of documentation, such as photographs of the injuries you sustained in your accident, copies of a police report or incident report prepared directly after the accident, and any lost wage documentation from your employer.
Once the settlement adjuster receives and reviews all of this documentation, they will typically reach out to your attorney after a few weeks. The adjuster may then make an initial settlement offer on your personal injury case. In many instances, these initial offers are far less than what you believe your case is ultimately worth.
The insurance company starts off with a low offer to see if the accident victim will accept it. Insurance companies, after all, want to settle personal injury cases for as little money as possible to save the insurance company as much money as possible. After all, these companies do not make money by paying out personal injury claims. They make their money by collecting premiums from their insureds and keeping as much of that premium money as possible.
In any case, it may take several rounds of negotiations with an insurance company adjuster to finally get to a point where the settlement offer is worth accepting. Even still, it may come to a point where the parties decide they have reached an impasse. When that happens, the accident victim has the option of either accepting the insurance company’s best settlement offer at that time or deciding to litigate the personal injury case.
An experienced Duluth personal injury attorney at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can help you decide whether or not a particular settlement offer is worth accepting or whether you should instead litigate your personal injury case in the state court system.
Litigating a Duluth Personal Injury Case in Court
The litigation process begins when an accident victim or the accident victim’s attorney decides to file a complaint in the state court system against the at-fault person or entity. Just by filing the complaint in some instances, the insurance company will increase its prior offer on the case. At other times, the parties will have to begin the litigation and complete the discovery process.
Once the court system involved in a personal injury case receives a complaint, the following will occur:
- The office of the Clerk of Court will issue a summons and send it back to the plaintiff’s attorney. That attorney will then be responsible for serving all of the named defendants with a summons and a copy of the lawsuit.
- Once all of the defendants named in the case have been rendered service, the insurance company will appoint a defense attorney.
- The defense attorney will file an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint and may also serve written discovery, including interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and possibly requests for admissions of fact or the genuineness of documents, on the plaintiff’s attorney.
- The defense attorney will likely note the plaintiff’s deposition (as known as oral discovery). At the deposition, the plaintiff will explain how they believe the accident occurred, the injuries they sustained in the accident, and whether or not the plaintiff is currently suffering from any permanent injuries.
After discovery has taken place, the parties may attend a settlement conference. At the settlement conference, a retired judge or neutral settlement officer will meet with the parties in an attempt to bring them together and resolve the case. If the case does not settle at the settlement conference, the parties have the option of pursuing some form of alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration or mediation, or taking the case to a jury trial.
If the parties decide to take the personal injury case to a jury trial, the jury will decide the issue of liability (if the defendant has not already conceded fault) and damages. It will then be up to the jury to determine what, if any, damages the personal injury plaintiff is entitled to recover. The Duluth personal injury lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with every aspect of litigating your personal injury case.
Compensation in Duluth Personal Injury Cases
Assuming the accident victim can satisfy the legal burden of proof, the victim is most likely entitled to recover various damages as a result of the personal injuries they sustained in the accident. The amount of damages recoverable often depends upon certain factors, including the seriousness of the personal injuries, the severity of the accident, and whether or not the accident victim has sustained a permanent injury.
Compensable damages in a Duluth personal injury accident case can include compensation for:
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Lost wages
- Medical treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The Duluth personal injury attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm will do everything possible to help you maximize the value of your personal injury case.
Duluth Personal Injury FAQ
Accidents that are caused by someone else’s negligence can result in severe and debilitating personal injuries, including spinal cord injuries, traumatic head injuries, soft tissue injuries, and bone fractures. Such injuries may have a lasting effect for months or even years after the accident. In some serious accidents, these injuries may even be permanent and cause you to experience pain, suffering, and inconvenience for the rest of your life. Fortunately, all of these damages are compensable in Georgia personal injury cases.
Personal injuries can occur in motor vehicle collisions, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, premises accidents, mass transit accidents, and pedestrian accidents.
If you or a person you love has suffered an injury in any of these accidents that you believe resulted from another person’s negligence, the Duluth personal injury attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can help. Our legal team can investigate the circumstances of the accident and assist you with pursuing the damages you need and the compensation you deserve for your personal injuries.
How long do I have to file a personal injury legal action?
If you sustained injuries in an accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, absent some very limited exceptions (such as a disability), you have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit for monetary compensation and damages. Failing to file your lawsuit within this two-year period promptly can have detrimental consequences on your personal injury case. After the two years have passed, you can no longer seek monetary damages for the injuries that you suffered in the accident.
Therefore, if you have suffered one or more personal injuries in an accident that was not your fault, seek out the services of our experienced Duluth personal injury lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm to represent you in your case as soon as possible.
Our legal team will be sure to identify all potential defendants in your personal injury case and will file your claim or lawsuit promptly and well within the two-year statute of limitations period applicable to Georgia personal injury cases. After filing, we can then pursue monetary compensation on your behalf.
What is the applicable legal standard for a personal injury case in Duluth?
To recover monetary compensation for personal injuries that you suffered in an accident caused by someone else, the reasonableness standard of care applies.
Specifically, you must demonstrate that it is “more likely than not” that the at-fault person or entity acted unreasonably under the circumstances. In the case of an auto accident, for example, you would need to prove that the driver did something that a reasonable driver would not have done, such as grossly exceeding the speed limit or rear-ending your vehicle at a traffic stop.
Alternatively, you must show that the at-fault driver failed to do something that a reasonable driver would have done under similar circumstances, such as failing to use a turn signal when switching lanes, resulting in a serious accident.
In addition to proving that the at-fault individual in a personal injury case was negligent, you must demonstrate that you suffered one or more injuries as a direct result of the accident. Moreover, you must show (often through medical testimony) that the injuries you suffered directly resulted from the accident (known as medical causation).
In Duluth personal injury cases, the injured person (the plaintiff) has the burden of proving all of the legal elements of the claim, including damages. To establish the various elements of the claim, the accident victim may rely upon medical and lost wage documentation (including medical records, medical bills, and work schedules), photographs, police reports, and live testimony from lay witnesses and various experts, if the matter goes to trial.
If you can prove all of the legal elements of your Duluth personal injury claim, you may recover monetary compensation. The experienced Duluth personal injury attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with satisfying the legal burden of proof in your case and help you pursue the compensation you need for your injuries.
What do personal injury cases involve?
The first step to pursuing and recovering monetary compensation in a personal injury case is to file a claim. Depending upon your accident’s circumstances and how it occurred, an attorney will file the personal injury claim with the at-fault person or entity’s insurance company. However, in some personal injury cases (such as phantom vehicle cases where the at-fault driver does not stop at the accident scene but instead drives off before being identified), you may file a claim against your own insurance company under an uninsured motorist theory of monetary recovery.
In either case, the claims process usually begins when you file a demand package with the insurance company, along with a letter that makes an initial demand to settle the personal injury case. In some instances, depending upon the circumstances of your accident, the opening demand may make a policy limit demand for a settlement (asking for the full value of the applicable insurance policy).
Along with a monetary demand for settlement, the demand package will also typically include copies of all related medical records and bills, photographs of the injuries that the accident victim suffered in the accident, photographs depicting property damages sustained in the accident (especially helpful in motor vehicle collision cases), and lost wage documentation from the accident victim’s employer that supports a lost wage claim.
Once the insurance company adjuster reviews all of the documentation in the demand package, they make an opening offer to settle the personal injury case. In many cases, these opening offers are lacking, and they do not fully and fairly compensate accident victims for their injuries, or all of the pain, suffering, and inconvenience that they had to suffer as a result of the accident.
Some insurance companies will even “cut out” certain medical treatment or lost wages, claiming that they are unrelated to the accident and are not compensable as part of the personal injury claim. Insurance companies will do everything that they can to undervalue a claim and avoid paying out money on it.
It helps to remember that personal injury settlements are a loss to insurance companies and prevent them from keeping their money in-house to distribute to their shareholders. Therefore, it may take several rounds of negotiations (and sometimes even a lawsuit) to get the insurance company to take the case seriously and offer a settlement payout that is worth accepting.
If the negotiations get to a point where you feel comfortable accepting the insurance company’s offer, your lawyer can present you with a breakdown, indicating how much you will take home after attorney’s fees, outstanding medical balances, and other deducted expenses.
The experienced Duluth personal injury attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with negotiating a settlement offer with the insurance company that fully and fairly compensates you for all of your personal injuries and damages. However, even if you choose not to accept a pending settlement offer from the insurance company, there are alternatives.
What does it mean to litigate a personal injury case? How does the litigation take place?
The process of litigating a personal injury case begins when you or your lawyer file a legal complaint in the court system. Since Georgia is a fault-based jurisdiction, you can file the lawsuit directly against the at-fault person or entity. In some personal injury matters, it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit when the insurance company refuses to offer you the fair and full compensation that you need to settle your legal matter.
However, just because you filed a complaint in the court system does not mean that you are required to take your case to a jury trial. Many personal injury cases settle out of court and well before the trial date. Filing a complaint in the court system just gets the ball rolling and lights a fire under the feet of the insurance company’s adjuster to take the case seriously and work to resolve it promptly. The accident victim has the ultimate authority about whether to accept a pending settlement offer or take a personal injury case to a jury trial.
Once there is a submitted lawsuit, the parties will typically engage in some form of discovery. In most personal injury cases, there is a period of written discovery where the parties answer questions, called interrogatories, about their respective versions of the accident in question, as well as oral discovery, called depositions.
When a defense attorney takes an injured plaintiff’s deposition, the attorney will usually ask them for a description of how the accident took place, the plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff’s medical treatment, and any permanency resulting from the injuries they suffered in the accident. During the discovery stage of litigation, the parties will most likely exchange documents relating to the case with one another.
In addition, during the litigation stage of a personal injury case, the parties will likely attend one or more settlement conferences. At a settlement conference, the parties meet with a judge or settlement officer who will try to help the parties resolve the case. At other times, the parties may pursue alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, in an attempt to resolve the personal injury case.
Once all other legal options for the personal injury case have been exhausted, the case will go to a jury trial. During a jury trial, the jury will decide any issues that remain unresolved. If the question of fault remains unresolved, for example, the jury will resolve it. Moreover, if the issue of damages remains unresolved, the jury will determine what, if any, damages the personal injury accident victim is entitled to receive, as well as the amount of those damages.
The Duluth personal injury attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with every step of the litigation process. We can also help you decide whether you should take your personal injury case to trial. If you do decide to take your case to trial, we will vigorously advocate for your legal rights in the courtroom and help you pursue a favorable jury award that truly compensates you for your personal injuries and damages.
What damages am I eligible to pursue and recover in a Duluth personal injury case?
If you can satisfy all of the legal elements of your personal injury case, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. This monetary compensation comes in the form of damages. For example, you may receive compensation for the cost of all of your medical treatment, medical procedures, and physical therapy. If your injuries are so severe that you had to miss time from work, you may recover compensation for all of your lost wages. Finally, you can pursue compensation for all out of pocket expenses related to the accident and your personal injuries.
In addition to these economic damages, you may also pursue non-economic damages resulting from your accident and personal injuries. For instance, you may seek compensation for your inconvenience, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish. You may also be eligible to recover money damages for loss of family support or spousal companionship.
What if my loved one passed away in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence?
If your loved one passed away in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you might pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. The elements of proof in a wrongful death claim are very similar to those in a personal injury claim. In terms of compensation, the claimant, who may be the personal representative of the loved one’s estate, may pursue monetary compensation for your loved one’s future lost earnings, pain and suffering up until the time of their death, and loss of the loved one’s companionship and support.
Speak to a Duluth Personal Injury Attorney About Your Legal Matter Today
Personal injuries that result from someone else’s negligence can become a source of frustration and great unhappiness. Treatment costs can mount up quickly while, at the same time, you may not work because of the injuries that you sustained. The legal team at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm understands how serious personal injuries can affect your life. Our legal team will work hard to help you bring the at-fault party to justice.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Duluth personal injury lawyer, please call us at (404) 418-8244, or contact us online for more information about how we can assist you with handling your personal injury case.
Brauns Law, P.C.
3175 Satellite Boulevard, Bldg 600
Duluth, GA 30096
Phone: (404) 205-8614
“I was treated with great care and compassion by David Brauns and his team. Both David and Nick Connelly were in constant communication with me throughout the process. Highly recommend.”
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