Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney
In this breakdown, Atlanta personal injury attorney Walter Gabriel describes several situations where a person suffers injury by someone else’s fault. This occurs in car accidents, big truck accidents, on-the-job injuries, pedestrian accidents, shootings and wrongful death cases, dog bites. And several other situations where the negligence of other people, businesses, or government agencies causes another person’s injury.
Personal injury is a unique practice areas because it empowers clients to hire attorneys on a contingency basis. In many practice areas, the client pays the attorney as the case progresses. This can often be frustrating for clients. Some injured parties have to pay money out-of-pocket for expenses that are not usual to their budgets, nor are they affordable in many cases. The good news about personal injury for clients is that the contingency fee arrangement often levels the playing field for people who cannot afford an unexpected out-of-pocket expense. At the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, personal injury clients do not pay a dollar out of pocket for representation. Our fee comes in only when you approve your case settling.
Personal Injury Explained
We represent clients in every type of personal injury case. Many people think of personal injury as dealing only with car accident claims, but personal injury includes much more. Personal injury deals with any situation where the actions or negligence of another person or company causes a person’s injury.
We’ve handled personal injury claims and cases against every major insurance company, city, county and state government entities, hospitals, airports, and other places of business located in Georgia.
If the fault of another party caused your injury — whether due to negligence or wrongful misconduct — the law may entitle you to significant compensation for your losses. Compensation includes money to pay your medical bills, physical pain and suffering, emotional suffering, lost wages, and compensation for any other loss you may have suffered as a result of the negligence of another person or company.
Studies show that injured people who hire a plaintiff’s personal attorney to represent them recover more money on average than people who represent themselves. Unfortunately, many injured plaintiffs do not realize the importance of consulting an attorney. By speaking to an attorney soon after your accident, you will gain the assistance of a professional. You need an injury attorney who will identify and preserve relevant evidence, evaluate your potential claims, file your lawsuit, and begin the engagement with opposing counsel.
What is my personal injury claim worth?
Is the defendant a well-known company with an established reputation? Does the claim have media publicity? Common factors affecting the value of a case also include the amount of medical bills, type of medical treatment needed, duration of medical treatment, extent of time missed from work, whether permanent bodily impairment exists, whether surgery has occurred or is recommended, the potential venue for the lawsuit, and whether the defendant is a corporate defendant.
While noting these factors, understand that there is no set formula for determining the value of an accident claim. The subjectivity applies when considering what a jury might do when determining the extent of your pain and suffering.
We Handle A Broad Range of Personal Injury Disputes
Here at The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, we represent clients in a range of personal injury disputes, including:
- Car Accidents
- Atlanta Big Truck Accidents
- DUI Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Injury
- Wrongful Death
- Uber/ Lyft Accidents
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage
- Excessive Force/Police Misconduct
- Offshore Maritime Injury
Some of the injuries that we get compensation for include:
Atlanta personal injury attorney Walter Gabriel has recovered millions of dollars for his personal injury clients. Walter Gabriel has built his career litigating personal injury disputes and complex business disputes. This broad experience gives him insight into how to level the playing field against parties who enjoy substantial resource advantages.
We have applied these insights — along with an aggressive approach to personal injury advocacy — to ensure that clients can be more effectively represented, whether in early settlement negotiations or at trial. We enjoy helping injured people change their lives for the better. Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for Atlanta area personal injury victims.
Do I Have A Personal Injury Case?
You have a personal injury if another person’s negligence caused your injury. In other words, if you sustained injury in a car accident, at a business, or have a relative who suffered a wrongful death caused by another person or company, you may have a valid personal injury case.
In car accident cases, you have a case if the other driver caused the car accident and caused you injury. You generally know the other driver is at fault when the responding officer cites the other driver. Sometimes, the officer cites both drivers, and other times, the officer cites neither driver. The key is knowing that you can prove to a jury that the other driver caused the wreck, and caused your injury.
In cases against companies or corporations, most often in the context of slip-and-fall or premise liability cases, liability is much harder to prove. For example, case law places a higher burden on restaurants to inspect floors for slippery substances than it places on places of business that do not serve food and beverages.
If in doubt, you can only help the situation for yourself and your family by contacting our office for a free consultation.
Can I Represent Myself on My Personal Injury Case?
Call us to help you figure that out! We’ve helped people through the process before that chose to settle their personal injury cases on their own. If you eventually decide that you need representation, let us know and we’ll schedule an intake appointment with you. Of course, having an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney to advocate for every possible dollar on your behalf will likely earn more money for your case and save you a lot of time and stress, but we respect people who decide to be their own advocate. Call us talk about your situation. We’ll provide you with a free consultation, and you will decide what works best for you.
Statute of limitations in Personal Injury Cases
City/ Municipality – six months
Claims against municipalities require you to deliver an “ante litem” notice within 5 months from the date of the incident. O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5 governs the notice required for personal injury claims against Georgia municipalities. This is a very strict and exacting requirement, and what must be included in the notice is very exacting. In one case, the Court deemed notice ineffective when the notice did not identify the specific manhole cover by its serial number. Because the Court deemed the notice ineffective, the Court dismissed the lawsuit, and the injured party no longer had the right to pursue its claim against the Georgia municipality.
County – 12 months
County claims provide more leeway than claims against municipalities. O.C.G.A. § 36-11-1 governs the notice required for personal injury claims against Georgia counties. Claims against counties also require ante litem notice, but the law requires that claimants deliver such notice within 12 months of the date of the personal injury. The specificity required in claims against Georgia counties are less exacting, but it’s still important that the notice is sufficient. However, if a claimant files a lawsuit within a year, the law does not require an ante litem notice to a county. Minors have 12 months from the date of their 18th birthday to present notice in compliance with Georgia’s notice requirement for county personal injury claims.
State – 12 months
Similar to counties, claims against Georgia state entities require an ante litem notice within 12 months. An important distinction from county claims, however, is that an ante litem notice and a lawsuit must both be delivered and filed within 12 months. O.C.G.A. § 50-21-26 governs the notice required for personal injury claims against Georgia state agencies.
Minor child – tolled from age 18
In Georgia, claims for injuries to minor children do not require that suit be brought within two years. What most parents don’t know is the statute of limitations tolls for minor children until their 18th birthday.
Victim of crime – tolled from date of final resolution of criminal prosecution
If someone is the victim of a crime that is subject to criminal prosecution, that person has additional time to file a file a civil lawsuit. The law tolls the deadline to file starting from the date of the final resolution of criminal prosecution. But even if criminal prosecution remains pending, suit must be filed within 6 years. This statute – O.C.G.A. § 9-3-99 – also applies to citations in traffic court. So if the claimant sustained injury from a party who received a traffic citation in a car accident, then the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the final disposition for the traffic ticket in traffic court.
Death – estate – tolled from creation of estate
When a loved one dies, it naturally takes families time to grieve and make proper arrangements to pay final respects. Therefore, Georgia law allows for tolling to begin when an estate for the deceased victim of a personal injury is created, where one family member accepts appointment as the executor of the deceased member’s estate. This tolling lasts for a maximum of five years as provided under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-92. Georgia’s wrongful death laws dictate who sues on behalf of the deceased, and in some situations the administrator of the estate is the same person who files suit on behalf of the deceased family member.
What to know about Minors’ Personal Injury Claim Rights
If your child sustained injury at a place of business or in any context involving the negligence of another person or business, then your child has a right to make a claim or sue for his or her injury. The law requires that minor children’s claims and suits be brought forth by an adult in Georgia. In most cases suit can be brought by the natural parent or parents, but suit can also be brought by the legal guardian, or even another adult deemed suitable by a probate court.
If a minor settlement is $15,000 or lower, probate approval is not required. If the settlement is above $15,000, then probate approval and a conservatorship are required. When funds due to the child are significant, the legal guardian may want to consider an annuity that will be payable to the child in multiple years over a period of time after the injured minor child reaches the age of majority.
Should I Call An Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney For My Case?
The National Law Review features an excellent article that discusses when it may make sense to hire an Atlanta personal injury attorney. In a nutshell, if you have a claim that is relatively minor, you have received what you believe to be a fair offer to settle, and you are comfortable with the law and settlement process, then it may make sense to settle your claim on your own. However, if your answer is a “no” to any of these questions, you should consult with an attorney.
Insurance companies aim to minimize payment for personal injury claims. Adjusters will often deny claims or offer significantly less if an attorney is not representing a claimant.
If you have any doubt, call us for a free consultation. We’ve settled a number of cases where the insurance company decided not to offer any money at all, due to a variety of excuses that we have proven to be meritless. There is no charge to calling our office to see if you have a case.
Do I Have A Personal Injury Case If I Didn’t Miss Work?
Absolutely. Many injured people maintain their work schedules while dealing with the pain that their injuries have caused. The person or company who caused your injuries should not rewarded because you were fortunate enough to manage medical treatment while maintaining a normal work schedule. The truth is, personal injury lawsuits play a role in deterring wrongful conduct on the part of negligent individuals and companies who hire unsafe drivers and employees. We have had a number of successful settlements on behalf of injured people who did not miss work as a result of their personal injury cases.
Do I Have A Personal Injury Case If My Health Insurance Covered My Medical Bills?
Yes, you still have a case. This is an important question because many people believe that if they don’t currently “owe” large medical bills, they don’t have a case. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The tortfeasor – referred to as the person who is legally responsible, should not be rewarded because you had health insurance. And Georgia law does not reward at-fault drivers because you had health insurance in place. In fact, if a jury decided your case, the fact that your insurance covered your medical bills is inadmissible.
How is this to your advantage? We advise clients who have health insurance to seek doctors who are in their health insurance network. This turns into a big savings for you when your case settles. Now if you have the same $60,000 settlement and $20,000 in attorney’s fees, but your medical treatment was in your network, your recovery is much closer to $40,000 (subject in some cases to partial health insurance reimbursement). In these two scenarios, your recovery basically doubles with the same $60,000 settlement, thus illustrating the importance of treating within your network if you have access to health insurance.
If I Can’t Afford An Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney, How Do I Get Representation?
Don’t worry. We understand that you’ve already gone through enough. We will work for you and with you. It’s simple – you pay nothing, unless you win!
A contingency fee contract is an agreement between the you and your attorney. In such arrangement, the attorney agrees to advance the all of your costs of the case until the case is over. This is either by a settlement from the insurance company for the person or company that caused your injury or from an amount awarded by a jury. When we represent you, we use contingency fee agreements so that you and your family don’t have to pay for the costs out-of-pocket. So that means you have nothing to lose and have everything to gain.
How Do I Pick A Law Firm for My Personal Injury Case?
You need to know and feel that the law firm you hire cares about you and your case. At the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, every case is personally handled by Atlanta personal injury Attorney Walter Gabriel. In fact, Walter Gabriel personally keeps in touch with each of his clients on a regular basis.
This is important to know because it is easy to like a personality that you see on television and radio advertisements on behalf of the attorney’s firm. But know that the “face” of the firm cannot possibly provide personal attention to every case that comes into the firm. This means that an attorney who you know nothing about will be representing you. In many cases large personal injury firms do a great job for their clients. But when hiring a large firm it is nearly impossible to know which attorney will represent you.
It’s Been Months Since my Personal Injury – Is It Too Late to Hire an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney?
Not at all. In Georgia, you have two years to file a lawsuit for your personal injury claim. That is, unless your claim is against a governmental entity. You have six months to send notice to a city in Georgia. The deadline is12 months to send notice to a county in Georgia. It is also 12 months to send notice to a state agency in Georgia. With these deadlines in mind, it is still important to choose an attorney as soon as possible. Many personal injury attorneys will not accept a client who contacts an attorney with only a few months remaining.
If I Already Hired Another Lawyer, Will I Pay Extra to Switch to an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney?
You won’t pay anything additional if you switch to another attorney. Attorneys who take personal injury cases very often represent clients on a contingency basis. This means that of the amount of money recovered on your behalf, a percentage goes toward attorney’s fees. When attorneys are switched, the attorneys divide only the attorney fee portion. In other words, if you want to switch attorneys while the insurance has a standing offer of $10,000, and your case settles with a different attorney who obtains a settlement for $50,000, one-fifth of the attorney fee would go to the first attorney. And four-fifths of the attorney fee would go to the attorney who settles your case. Here, your recovery remains the same as if you only had one attorney.
The truth is, it’s very difficult to choose a personal injury firm that is the best fit for you. There are seemingly endless options to choose from. And people often find that, somewhere in the middle of representation, that their current law firm is a bad fit. Many law firms will not accept a client who is represented by another law firm. So if you’re considering a switch to our firm, contact us. We’ll figure out together whether switching to our firm is a good fit for you.
How Do I “Win” My Case?
In nearly all personal injury cases, the person or company being sued has insurance coverage. Such coverage is often available for pay for your medical bills and other losses. In car accidents, even when the other driver doesn’t have insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage is your source of recovery.
In many cases you need a skilled advocate to present a claim on your behalf. You may need an attorney to convince the insurance company to admit fault. Once fault is established, a successful claim convinces the insurance company to a settlement. A successful settlement pays your medical bills, legal fees, costs, and importantly, your physical pain and suffering and emotional harm.
If the insurance company does not settle your claim, you need an attorney who is also skilled in the courtroom. In this case you need an attorney to convince a jury to award you the money you deserve.
What If I Don’t Have Money or Health Insurance for Medical Treatment?
Under basically any circumstance, it is preferable to get medical treatment from their own health insurance network. However, we understand that in many cases, people who suffer a personal injury do not have health insurance. Attorneys are often able to work with a medical professional on what is referred to as a lien arrangement. Under a medical lien, the client does not owe the medical provider directly out of pocket. Here, the client does not pay the medical provider any money until the case settles.
We regularly get our clients the medical treatment needed in cases where there is no health insurance to turn to. We regularly work with doctors and other medical providers on a lien basis. And once your case settles, a portion of your settlement goes toward your medical bills.
Recently, the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel helped a client get access to medical treatment. This included a surgery, despite his not having health insurance. His medical bills totaled more than $100,000. We provided our client with medical providers with a medical lien, which his case settlement covered. The young man was able to get back to work shortly after his surgery. When his case ended, his settlement paid for his surgery, and a six-figure check for himself.
Personal Injury Litigation Does Not Have to be Complicated
Personal injury litigation often appears to be simple or straightforward to those who are not familiar with the process. In truth, many personal injury scenarios involve hidden complexity. If your attorney fails to identify the complexities early on, it can complicate your case down the road.
An attorney may have told you that you don’t have a case. It is common for attorneys to reject injury clients when the individual doesn’t have a clear path to a settlement. This is because some attorneys may not understand the full set of laws that provide recovery.
These individuals have turned to the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC for help. Often, after being told by other attorneys that they have no route to get compensation for their injuries. Walter Gabriel has secured six-figure settlements for the same clients who were turned down by other attorneys.
Your case may be quite a bit more complicated than you expect. Therefore, it is important that you get an attorney who is capable of handling and resolving similarly complex disputes.
My Injury Doesn’t Fit One of Your Practice Areas. Can You Represent Me?
Yes! Situations often don’t fit neatly into one identifiable practice area. The truth is, we represent people who have been injured in a very broad range of circumstances. And there are too many circumstances to fit into practice areas. We’ve had the great privilege of representing women, men, and families of many religions, ethnicities, and backgrounds. We’ve represented children as young as 5 years old, and adults who are in retirement. And the circumstances that have caused their injury are just as broad. Call us, and we’ll figure it out together. All of our client consultations are free.
Contact Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Walter Gabriel for a Free and Confidential Consultation
Atlanta personal injury attorney Walter Gabriel runs a personal injury firm with a focus on providing clients high-end, personalized legal representation. To that end, we engage with clients closely at every step of the dispute process. This ensures that our clients stay up-to-date and fully informed of the legal strategy and case developments. Attorney Walter Gabriel is a dedicated Atlanta personal injury attorney who has recovered millions of dollars for our clients.
Find out if you have a case. Call 404-549-6742 or submit a case evaluation form online to request a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Atlanta personal injury attorney at the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC today.