If you are reading this, you may have suffered from a brain injury. You may be experiencing pain. You may be experiencing memory and neurological challenges. You may find yourself having to relearn basic skills you learned as a child. Working is probably out of the question right now, causing you financial strain. You may also be very stressed, trying to find someone who can help with a brain injury claim. We want to help with free legal advice. Call our Atlanta brain injury lawyers today. You don’t need to worry about having the money to pay for legal answers up-front. Just call us and schedule your free legal consultation today. This page will give you the basics about brain injury claims. First, you’ll find out the common mistakes we see people make with brain injury claims in Atlanta. Next, you’ll read a story that will further illustrate important aspects of your case. Be sure to read this page all the way through to get as many answers as possible. Then give us a call and schedule your free legal consultation to discuss the details of your specific claim.
Common Brain Injury Claim Mistakes There are a number of mistakes you can make that are likely to damage your brain injury claim. Be sure to read them all to prevent yourself from making the same mistakes.
Not Seeking Treatment from a Medical Professional A huge mistake people make when they suffer a brain injury is not going to the doctor. All too often, the rush of stress hormones that accompanies traumatic experiences prevents people from realizing the extent of their injuries. Experiencing more energy and less pain than they normally would, they may tell themselves and others, “I’m fine.” Not only does skipping a medical exam have the potential to put you in physical danger—especially if you are suffering from a brain injury—it will almost certainly damage your claim. When you don’t go to the doctor, you don’t get the medical record such a visit would generate. It’s important to establish this official record of your injuries. It’s also important to do so as quickly as possible after you are injured so that the date and time stamp of your diagnosis will coincide with the timeline of the accident. Don’t rob yourself of this critical piece of evidence for your claim. Seek medical attention immediately after a brain injury, no matter how you feel.
Skipping the Doctor’s Treatment Plan Another big mistake we see people make after a brain injury is letting their physical therapy or other prescribed treatments slide. They may also forget to take medications according to schedule, rendering them ineffective. Neglecting these things can hamper your recovery. They can also lower the value of your claim. The insurance company will be looking for any way to deflect responsibility for your accident. If you don’t make the effort to follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions, the insurance provider can claim any lack of progress in your condition is your own fault. It’s also critical to stop doing activities your doctor says are too strenuous until you have recovered. If you are found to be taking on too much, you risk your physical recovery and— again— risk the value of your claim. Get the rest you need, keep your follow-up appointments, and complete your medications according to instructions.
Providing a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company After your accident, count on a call from the insurance company. They will sound very sympathetic and get you talking about your injury. At some point, they’ll casually ask to record your conversation. Allowing the insurance company to record your statement can devastate your claim. It’s important to remember that insurance employees are trained to make you feel comfortable and get you talking. Never forget that this is not because they care about you— it’s because it’s their job to save the insurance company money. They save money by finding holes in your story they can use to lower the value of your claim. The best thing to do when the insurance company comes calling is hang up. Better yet, don’t answer. This is a perfect item to ask your Atlanta brain injury lawyer to handle for you.
Waiting Too Long to Find an Attorney The statute of limitations in Georgia may seem to provide plenty time to file your brain injury claim. Waiting to file, however, can ruin your case. No matter how long you have on the calendar to file your claim, you must remember that evidence doesn’t hang around. Don’t hinder how much evidence is available — or how much time your legal team has to gather it — by waiting to call. It’s also important to remember that some of your strongest evidence can come from witness testimony. Even though “everyone” has a smartphone these days, remember that people move and phone numbers and emails change. Your Atlanta brain injury attorney will build your strongest case when given the earliest opportunity to get started gathering evidence and contacting witnesses.
Hiring the Wrong Attorney When you set out to choose an attorney to handle your Atlanta brain injury claim, remember that who you choose is as important as how quickly you choose them. Lawyers have practice areas. These are areas of focus they specialize in, much like doctors do within the medical field. Just as you would choose a surgeon to match your ailment, you need to make sure your lawyer has skills and experience in the practice area of personal injury to win your case. This includes experience at trial. While it’s true that most claims don’t go all the way to trial, it’s also possible that yours might. Should that be the case, you need to have a lawyer who’s ready. Ask them about their record. See if you can read testimonials. When you hire a successful trial attorney experienced in personal injury, you also have the benefit of reputation. Excellent trial attorneys are often on the radar of insurance companies. Knowing they are up against one of these lawyers can sway an otherwise resistant insurance company to consider a fair settlement. This “reputation effect” is one of the reasons not to handle your own claim. People who hire the right lawyer to handle their claim almost always receive significantly higher settlements than they would going it alone. Part of this is due to the knowledge and experience of the attorney. Part of it is due to the fact that the insurance company wants to avoid the risk of going up against such an attorney in a trial. Choose your attorney wisely to get the best result possible for your claim.
Atlanta Brain Injury Client Story The story that follows is meant to give you additional answers about your brain injury claim. Names and specifics have been edited to protect our client’s identity, but the informational value remains. Please be sure to read it to the end to gain the most from it. When you’re finished, please take us up on our offer of free legal advice. Call us as soon as you can to schedule a free consultation to go over the specifics of your case. On a cool Sunday morning in April, not too long ago, Thomas Jackson, known as “T.J.” to his friends, stepped out of his apartment in Atlanta and made his short, daily trek to the cemetery across the street. He took his time walking among the gravestones, oblivious to the buzz of the city waking up around him. Arriving at a white marble stone that read, “Edelle Jackson, beloved wife and mother,” he stooped, replacing a tired-looking bunch of wildflowers with the small bunch of daisies he carried. “I brought your favorite, sweetheart,” he said, and proceeded to tell his wife about the grandkids, the leaky faucet their son Ray had fixed, and the latest antics of their cat, “Sweet Auburn.” Half an hour later, T.J. ambled over to the fountain at the heart of the cemetery to feed the pigeons, as was his usual practice. He loved to watch them strut and bob. It was something he and Edelle liked to do together; how he’d loved to hear her laugh as she watched them. T.J. had continued feeding the pigeons on his own every morning for over a year now, and wasn’t surprised to see a large flock gathered in anticipation of his arrival. Mindful of not harming the birds, he always brought birdseed with him. He’d bought a big bag of the seeds recommended by the nice guy in the garden center of the home improvement store. The guy had even carried it to the car for him. Nice guy… Lulled by the gurgle of the fountain and engrossed in watching the pigeons, T.J. didn’t notice the young man 30 yards away, stopping to let his large black lab mix off-leash. Dumping the last of the seeds, he was startled as a huge black blur swirled the birds into a feathered cyclone. T.J. threw his arms up to protect his face from the onslaught as the dog lunged his way, barking and snapping at a bird. Dog and man toppled over, T.J.’s head striking the concrete edge of the fountain as he went down. T.J. awoke in the hospital that afternoon with a TBI. Blinking his eyes as the people around him came into focus, he heard the wonderful sound of his granddaughter Gemma’s voice. “Mama, Mama! Papa Tee’s awake!” T.J.’s daughter Laurel hushed Gemma and took her father’s hand at his bedside. Her husband, Dave joined her, carrying Gemma. They told T.J. about his injury. “They’re going to keep you here for a few weeks so they can be sure you get the attention you need. With luck, you’ll be able to come home with us after that. I told the doctor I can drive you to your physical therapy appointments. You can bet I won’t let you skip those,” Laurel said firmly, squeezing T.J.’s hand. “Thank you, baby,” T.J. said to his daughter. “But you know your mama’s gonna want me home for dinner. She’ll be fussing and cooking all day long!” As he continued, Laurel was stunned to realize he was, to his mind, about ten years back in time. Dave put a hand on his wife’s shoulder and squeezed as she gaped at her father, momentarily at a loss to explain to T.J. that his wife had passed more than a year ago. Laurel turned to Dave for help just as the doctor came in. After confirming to T.J. that he would indeed be the hospital’s guest for at least the next few weeks, Laurel and Dave walked the doctor into the hallway and told him of T.J.’s. memory loss. “Memory loss is not uncommon with a serious brain injury like the one your father sustained,” the doctor confirmed. “We’ll be monitoring him closely for any additional delayed injuries. “These types of injuries are tricky. Some patients recover fairly quickly and completely, and some need to relearn basic skills they’ve known since elementary school—reading, writing, even walking. But most fall somewhere in-between.” Laurel suddenly felt the power go out of her knees. Dave caught her around the waist and eased her in to a nearby chair. “I know this is frightening, Ms. Williams, but please try not to worry. Right now your father needs care and time. We are going to give him both. With luck, you’ll be able to bring him home in a month or so.” By the end of the week, T.J. was indeed making some progress. As the doctor had warned, it was a mixed bag. His memory was reliable until right before Edelle got sick. He was even asking about Sweet Auburn. “Daddy, I promise you, Gemma and Louis are spoiling that mean, old kitty rotten,” Laurel said, pulling up half a dozen photos of the cat with her kids for T.J. to see. T.J.’s memory of Edelle seemed to well up and subside like the tide. He’d bring her up randomly, but thankfully Laurel was able to divert his attention fairly easily. Laurel and Dave decided to wait a few more days to break the news of Edelle’s death, hopeful his memory would kick in soon and he’d wake up once again knowing she was gone without re-experiencing the loss. No sense upsetting him over and over. If they did have to tell him, they prayed they’d only have to do it once. We met T.J. on Friday afternoon, after Laurel called and said she’d talked with her father about making a claim against the owner of the dog. He’d agreed to hear what we had to say. She said they had three main questions: how much it would cost to hire us, what might T.J.’s claim be worth, and how long would it take?
How much does it cost to hire a brain injury lawyer? When we arrived at the hospital, T.J. was surprised. “Daddy, this is the lawyer we talked about— to help us with a brain injury claim against Mr. Renner.” “That nice man who called the ambulance?” T.J. asked. “Why would we hire a lawyer about him?” Laurel patiently explained once more that T.J. was entitled to compensation for being knocked down by Mr. Renner’s dog. “Daddy, that dog wasn’t even supposed to be in the cemetery,” she added. “You may be able to include the cemetery in your claim, Mr. Jackson,” our lawyer said. “They only have a “No Dogs Allowed” sign posted at the north entrance, and their grounds crew is far too understaffed to enforce the rules.” “Okay, well, before we get too far along here, Laurel cautioned with a smile, we need to start with how much you charge.” “We don’t charge anything upfront. Our contingency fee model means that we only get paid when we successfully resolve your father’s claim,” said our lawyer.
What is my brain injury claim worth? “Well, Edelle will be happy to hear that,” T.J. said. “How much is a case like this worth, anyway? Laurel knows her momma’s gonna ask me if it’s worth all the fuss.” Laurel looked knowingly at us. She’d told us on the phone about T.J.’s inability to recall that his wife had passed away. We explained that it was difficult to estimate the value of a case so early on. “First, we’ll need to conduct an investigation. This involves gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses. That we can begin immediately since Mr. Renner did call 911 and stick around to talk to police. We also have a few witnesses we can get statements from. “The second part of understanding the worth of your claim is having a solid idea of your damages, Mr. Jackson. This will require you reaching what is called, ‘maximum medical improvement.’ This is the point at which your doctors declare you ‘back to normal.’ If that’s not possible after your injury, then we’ll be looking for when you reach your ‘new normal.’ “This also means you’re finished with surgeries and we have a clear understanding of what, if any, medical treatment will be involved regarding treatment of your injuries going forward. When we reach this point, we’ll know what your damages are, both economic and non-economic. This will tell us what your case is really worth. “Your job, Mr. Jackson— “T.J. All my friends call me T.J.” “All right, T. J., your job is to get as much rest as possible and follow all of your doctors’ instructions.” “Oh, he’ll do that, all right,” said Laurel.
How long will my claim take? “So, how long does a claim like this take?” asked Laurel. “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s tough to tell at the outset. Like the value of the case, the timeline of your father’s claim will depend on two factors. “The first factor is how long it will take for T.J. to arrive at maximum medical improvement. Once he’s there and we know his damages, we’ll send a demand letter to the insurance company or companies. “The second factor influencing T.J.’s case timeline is whether the insurance companies involved respond in a fair and reasonable manner. If they do, we’re all set. If not, we take the case before a jury.” “Now, I don’t know about that,” said T. J. “Mr. Renner is a nice man. You know, he called the ambulance and waited with me for them to arrive.” “Well, T.J., don’t worry. In most cases like this, the people involved don’t even see one another,” said our lawyer. “Everything is handled between insurance agencies and attorneys. Besides, if Mr. Renner is as nice as you say he is, he’ll want you to be taken care of. “Besides, there’s a good chance the insurance companies involved know of our reputation. The firm has a long and successful personal injury trial record. That alone is likely to make them agreeable to arriving at a settlement rather than going to court. Either way, we’ll be ready. That’s why no matter who you choose to represent your claim, we always recommend going with an experienced trial attorney.” The family was put at ease by our answers to their questions and retained our firm that day. Today, we are happy to say that we got T.J. six times what he was originally offered by the insurance companies.
Call Our Atlanta Brain Injury Lawyer Today We hope this story has helped shed light on some of the additional questions you have about brain injury cases. Please keep in mind that every claim is unique, and we’d like to talk about yours. Take advantage of our offer of a free legal consultation. Don’t go it alone; let your Atlanta brain injury lawyers help you get full and fair compensation for your brain injury today.