The Georgia Pedestrian Accident Guide was created by The Gunnels Law Firm to help injured residents obtain maximum compensation. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.
Walking is a great way to get around. It costs nothing, its good exercise, and it is good for the environment. Unfortunately, there are always ways things can go wrong. If you have found your way to this page, it is probably because you have been seriously hurt in a pedestrian accident. These accidents, as you probably already know, have the potential to be extremely disastrous. You have no protection from the impact of the vehicle that hit you and you have no protection from the impact of you hitting the earth after getting hit by the vehicle. Because of this, your injuries are probably catastrophic. After you have read about your case, please call our Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer today to set up your free initial consultation.
Most Common Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries
As mentioned, the nature of these accidents has the potential to be highly catastrophic. It is very common to see injuries that are permanent in nature which is unfortunate. The most common types of pedestrian accident injuries include:
- broken bones and fractured bones
- muscle, tendon, and/or nerve damage
- concussion or contusion
- spinal cord injury
- internal organ damage
- head, neck, or back injury
- scarring and disfigurement
- cuts and lacerations
It is very important that you get your injuries tended to as soon as possible. Your medical records serve as a key piece of evidence and we want you to get the treatment you need so that you can start feeling better and also that we have information about the extent of your injuries. You may be tempted with the idea of trying to see if the pain goes away with some time, but that is not a wise thing to do. Your injuries can be an emergency and waiting can make it so much worse. You also risk having the insurance company look at your medical records as evidence in their favor if you did not seek medical attention right away. They could decide that you do not need compensation because you either lied about how you were injured or how severe your injuries are.
Georgia Pedestrian Accident Statute of Limitations
To ensure that your case is on the right track to getting your case done in a timely manner, you need to be aware of Georgia’s statute of limitations. This is the amount of time given to bring your case or to settle it in civil court. You are permitted two years from the date of your pedestrian accident, but no more than that or your will be barred from receiving compensation. The best thing to do is to hire an attorney right away so that you are giving them the most possible time to build you a strong and successful case. You do not want to delay seeking a competent lawyer to take over your case.
Biggest Pedestrian Accident Case Mistake to Avoid
Very shortly after your accident, you will most likely be receiving a call from the liable party’s insurance company. They will very politely ask you for a recorded statement, assuring you that it will help resolve your case in a timely manner. If you want your case to be successful, this recorded statement is something you should avoid at all costs. The insurance company trains their adjusters to ask questions that force you to answer in a way that would hurt your case and favor them. They are only really concerned with their bottom line. They don’t want to lose money on your case, so if they can somehow get you to say something wrong that implicates you, they can reduce the amount of compensation that they owe you or even throw out your case altogether. Georgia follows the rules of modified comparative negligence so if they can get you to be deemed 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, then they will not owe you compensation. If you are deemed less than 50 percent at fault, your award will be reduced by the amount of fault you are pinned with. The best thing to do is let your attorney take over all communication with the insurance company so that your right to full compensation is protected.
Frequently Asked Pedestrian Accident Questions
How Do I Find the Right Attorney?
Some of the worst injury cases that we see involve cars hitting pedestrians. When hiring a personal injury attorney for these cases, you will want to look for experience. Because you’re dealing with a pedestrian rather than a car-on-car collision, there are different rules and different laws that apply. The statutes that protect pedestrians, specifically in walkways and on sidewalks, are very favorable, but if you don’t know where to look and how to apply those laws and statutes, they don’t really serve you any value. At The Gunnels Law Firm, we have handled many car-on-pedestrian cases where we’ve been able to get successful resolutions for our clients because we knew how to work up those cases through our years of experience.
Another thing to keep in mind when you are hiring an attorney is to see if they have any experience in representing insurance companies on the other side. I spent many years of my career working for insurance companies and defending these types of cases, so I know what the insurance companies are thinking, how they make their decisions, and what drives them. Now I represent individuals who are trying to receive fair compensation in these types of claims, and I’m able to put that knowledge to use in bringing your claim against an insurance company and knowing how to get the best possible resolution for you.
Another thing that you always want to keep in mind is that it’s crucial to have an attorney that is willing to go to trial and put a case to a jury. Cases are often settled in various ways before trial, but sometimes an insurance company is just not going to make a fair offer and your only option is to take the case to trial to get fair compensation. We spend a lot of our time in court rooms and we know what motivates juries to provide the best compensation to our clients. You don’t ever want to end up with an attorney that is afraid to go to trial or an attorney that insurance companies know is going to take the top offer that they extend, even if it’s not a reasonable one. We take cases to trial and insurance companies know that we are not just going to take whatever offer they give.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making?
On many occasions, we see people who have been injured in pedestrian accidents already having done damage to their claims before they even get started. It’s essential to take some steps to make sure your claims are preserved. First, we often see people who fail to report their incidents. It’s very important to have a police report made to document what occurred, when it occurred, where it occurred and who was involved. We will later need that information when we’re trying to locate witnesses and when we are trying to locate the at-fault driver who caused the incident. All this information is preserved on the police report, but if you don’t have that done, you open yourself up to having a defendant driver who claims this never occurred. Don’t give that opportunity to the defense.
Next, we often see people who wait way too long to go seek medical treatment. As soon as you begin feeling pain and discomfort, go seek medical attention. If your pain doesn’t start until the next day, go to the ER and get checked out. Oftentimes what starts as minor pain will increase to major pain over the coming days, and it’s important to have that documented as soon as possible to correlate it back to the incident. If you wait multiple weeks to go seek treatment, insurance companies will try to imply that if you had really been hurt, you would’ve gone and got medical treatment a lot sooner. Don’t give them that argument.
Another thing we see people often do is fail to follow through on the treatment that they’re prescribed by their doctors. Once the doctors tell you what you need to do, always abide by it. Don’t let gaps occur in your treatment or have time pass where you’re not getting any treatment at all. It’s important to make sure there are no gaps because, again, insurance companies will use that to try to diminish the value of your claim.
Finally, always make sure you immediately find a personal injury attorney who can help document your claim and preserve all evidence. It is essential to find an attorney who’s experienced in handling these types of claims and knows what to do. If you hire the wrong attorney, evidence will be lost and your claim will fall apart. Make sure you hire an experienced attorney who can walk you through this process.
How Much is Your Case Worth?
When we have clients come into our office who have been injured in a pedestrian accident, one of the first things they want to know is the value of their case. Determining the amount of compensation is a very tricky process. There are a lot of factors that go into it, and one of those factors is how you’re going to recover from your injury. There’s no way to know the value of your claim at the outset because, at that point, you don’t know what your recovery is going to be. If you recover fully from an injury, your case is worth less than if you suffer permanent damage. It’s not until you’ve either gotten all the way better or improved as much as you’re going to improve before you can really start to determine what the value of your injuries may be.
Under Georgia law, there are various things that you’re entitled to recover if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence. The first category of those damages is called special damages, which includes things like your medical expenses and lost wages. It’s pretty easy to determine what those are. The harder category to assign is what’s called non-economic damages. These are things like the pain and suffering that you endure, along with your disruption of life. In looking at those things, there’s a lot of variability in how they can be seen.
Another major factor for how much your case may be worth is the amount of liability insurance that the at-fault driver carries. Under Georgia law, a driver is only required to carry $25,000 worth of at-fault insurance at minimum. If you have a couple hundred thousand dollars in medical expenses and the at-fault driver only has $25,000 in coverage, chances are — unless you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage through your own policy — that $25,000 is going to be all you can get.
The best thing that you can do is as soon as you’re injured, consult an attorney and have an attorney that can walk you through the process and make sure that you’re doing all the right things so that your case can be put in the best position possible to try to maximize your recovery.
Do I Need to Have a Minimum Amount of Medical Bills?
When we have clients come in with a potential pedestrian accident case, one of the things they often ask is if there’s a minimum amount of medical expenses they need to have incurred in order to pursue a claim going forward. The answer is, in most situations, no. The more appropriate evaluation is the significance of their injuries. You can’t always just go by the amount of medical expenses because there are some injuries that are very severe but involve very low medical expenses, such as a large cut or road rash. Those types of things may involve cleanup or stitching, but are going to leave you with a permanent scar. Permanent scarring is an injury that usually brings very good compensation with it.
On the other hand, if the pedestrian is partially at-fault for the accident, it may not matter how expensive their medical bills are. The claim may not be valuable because of liability issues. The best thing to do, especially in a pedestrian case, is to contact a personal injury attorney immediately, and make sure that you know what’s going on. Let the attorney evaluate your case and help you decide if it’s viable or not.
How Long Will This Case Take?
When a client comes to us with a pedestrian accident claim, one of the first things they often want to know is how long it’s going to take to resolve this case. The timeline is dependent on the facts of the case and the amount of insurance coverage available. Pedestrian cases are usually some of the easiest to resolve without having to file a lawsuit.
When a case has significant injuries and the liability of the at-fault driver is clear, those are often cases that can be resolved in a quicker fashion. It often will depend on the amount of medical expenses involved and the amount of automobile insurance the at-fault driver has. Sometimes injuries may be very significant and there may be a lot of insurance coverage, and those are cases that have to be worked for a much longer amount of time, such as if an individual is hit by a commercial truck. There may be a lot more fighting over what the value of compensation should be. In those cases, if we can’t work them out before filing a lawsuit, we have to put that into litigation.
Personal injury cases have a two-year statute of limitations, which means that to pursue one of those claims in litigation, you must file the lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury. We try to get as much of the medical treatment done as possible prior to filing the lawsuit because if something’s overlooked or doesn’t arise until later, you don’t get to go back and ask for more money if you’ve already resolved your case. We want to make sure that all past, present, and future expenses are included.
If we have to put one of these cases into suit, it’s going to take longer to work through gathering the evidence that is necessary and potentially presenting the case to a jury. A pretty fair estimate of how long it might take after you file a lawsuit would be somewhere between one and two years.
Please Call Our Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, please know that we will do everything in our power to protect your right to full and fair compensation. Our Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer is here to help you through the entire process. We will take over the legal side of your case so that you can focus on your health and trying to get back to full health. Your case is a priority and we want to make sure that you are taken good care of. We will be your champion.