Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
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What Is the Statute of Limitations for Product Liability Cases in Georgia?
You only have two years after the right of action accrues to file a lawsuit for injuries from a defective or dangerous product in Georgia. Bear in mind that it can take months to investigate a products liability claim, discover all the potential defendants, prepare the initial pleadings, and file a lawsuit, so you should not wait until the last minute to talk to a lawyer.
Legal Jargon Explained
The term “right of action accrues” means the time at which you first had a legal right to sue someone for your injury. This time is usually the date of the injury. The term “statute of limitations” refers to the law that governs how long you have to sue someone before you lose the right ever to file a lawsuit against them.
Protection for Older Products
If an older product causes injury, the injured person might not be able to sue the manufacturer, dealer, or retailer of the product. Under Georgia law, those parties have no liability if it has been more than ten years since someone first sold the item that caused the damage.
The reasoning is that no product lasts or works forever, so the manufacturer or seller of a product should only have liability exposure for a maximum of ten years. Even if a person was injured just a month ago, he could not file a lawsuit if someone first sold the product more than ten years ago.
As with many things in the law, however, there are a couple of exceptions to this ten-year rule. They include:
- Suing the manufacturer for negligence in making a product that caused a birth defect or a disease; or
- Suing for conduct that shows the defendant acted intentionally, recklessly, or with disregard for how the actions would affect the lives or property of others.
Exceptions to the Right to Sue
There are two main exceptions to the right to sue a manufacturer or seller if a person suffers injury from a product. They are:
- Put to a use not intended. If a person sustains an injury while using a product in a way the manufacturer did not intend, the person cannot sue for products liability.
- Modified product. The item must be in substantially the same condition as when the first buyer purchased it for the maker or seller to have liability. Once a purchaser or user modifies the product, the maker and seller are off the hook.
Parties You Can Sue for an Injury from a Defective or Dangerous Product
Under Georgia law, you do not have to have privity of contract to sue someone for a defective product. That means that you can be the second or third (or later) owner of an item and still sue the manufacturer or seller if the product turns out to have problems.
Originally, the law of products liability required that the person bringing the lawsuit to have a direct contractual relationship (privity of contract) with the party he wanted to sue. Under this rule, subsequent purchasers had no legal protections. Georgia changed the law on this subject to protect subsequent users of products.
Loss of Consortium Claims Have a Longer Statute of Limitations
When a lawsuit involves a loss of consortium claim, the deadline to sue can be four years. Loss of consortium claims seek compensation for the damage the injury does to one’s close relationships.
Children and People Lacking the Capacity to Sue Might Have a Longer Deadline
Under some situations, minor children and people who lack the legal capacity to sue (for example, due to mental illness) can get a little more time to file lawsuits in Georgia. The law on this issue is complex and fact-driven.
Getting Legal Help for a Product Liability Case in Georgia
Call us for a free consultation about your case. We will help calculate the statute of limitations for your product liability case.
Do not delay, because you could lose your legal right to compensation if you wait too long to take action. Call us today at 404-474-0804.
What if the Driver Was on Their Cell Phone?
A driver who causes a car wreck because of cell phone use can be liable for an accident caused by distracted driving. The difficulty comes, however, in proving that a driver was using a cell phone before an accident happened, especially if the driver does not voluntarily admit to using the phone before the crash.
If this happened, to you, contact the Law Offices of Jason R Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804 to schedule a no-obligation consultation with a car accident lawyer.
Does It Matter If the Driver Was Talking or Texting on the Phone Before the Crash?
Yes, it may be important to prove the other driver was talking or texting on their phone before the crash. If your lawyer can prove the other driver was distracted, it could indicate the other driver is at fault for the wreck.
To prove the other driver was talking or texting on a cell phone, your lawyer may present eyewitness testimony from other drivers. Talk to a car accident lawyer about securing the other driver’s cell phone records. A phone carrier generally will not release cell phone information without a subpoena.
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. will gladly work with you and handle your car accident case. If you want to file a car injury accident claim or a lawsuit, we can ask the court for a subpoena to request that the phone carrier produce cell phone records.
If you were injured in a car accident, contact us at 404-474-0804 for your no-obligation case review.
How Will a Lawyer Use Phone Records as Evidence?
We may use phone records to help prove fault in car accidents. By using these records, we can compare the timing of the other driver’s cell phone use to the timing of the accident.
If the other driver disputes fault for the accident, we may use a cell phone forensics expert who can determine how the other driver was using the phone, how long the driver was on the phone, and other activity based on the driver’s cell phone records.
Besides cell phone records, we may gather other evidence to support your claim. The evidence may include:
- Your medical records that show the nature and extent of your injuries
- Photographs of your injuries
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Video footage of the accident
- A police report of the accident
Will the Police Report Say Whether a Driver Was Using a Cell Phone?
Not necessarily. The officer investigating your accident may not have the driver’s cell phone information in the accident report unless:
- The driver admitted to using a cell phone prior to the crash.
- The driver’s passengers witnessed the driver using the phone.
- Eyewitnesses to the accident saw the driver using the phone.
Let Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. Help You Recover Compensation for Your Car Injury Accident
We work on a contingency basis, which means that you do not pay us unless we win compensation in your case. Contact us now at 404-474-0804 for a free case evaluation.
What Is Whiplash from a Car Accident?
The term, whiplash, comes from the motion that a whip makes when you snap it. Your body experiences a similar motion when your car collides with another vehicle or object, snapping your head and neck back and forth sharply.
Whiplash is an injury to the neck muscles, tendons, and ligaments caused by this snapping movement. Rear-end crashes are a top cause of whiplash injuries.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, some people who suffer whiplash entirely recover after a few weeks of treatment and therapy. But others experience long-term or permanent pain, suffering, and disability from their whiplash injuries.
If you are experiencing symptoms of whiplash, call Jason Schultz at 404-474-0804 for legal help getting compensation for your injuries and damage.s
What Happens to Your Body During a Car Accident to Cause Whiplash
The force from a car accident can quickly throw your head backward and then forward, snapping your head and neck like a flicking whip.
The scientific terminology for the jerking motions that a rear-end crash subjects your neck to is “rapid acceleration and deceleration.” Your head and neck are not supposed to move in this manner. The force pushes the head and neck beyond their normal range of motion.
A car accident that forces the head and neck to move in this manner can injure your:
- Neck muscles
- Vertebrae (bones) in your neck
- Spinal discs
Soft tissue injuries like muscle, ligament, and tendon sprains and strains are common injuries associated with whiplash.
In addition to these injuries, the rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head and neck may cause a concussion, brain trauma, fractures, and other injuries.
How You Might Feel if You Have a Whiplash Injury
Many people do not feel any signs of a whiplash injury at the scene of the accident. But over the next few hours or days, they may start to experience symptoms, such as:
- Neck pain and stiffness. You might feel pain and stiffness in your neck, which hurts when you turn your head from side-to-side or nod your head up or down. You might not be able to turn your head as far as usual.
- Arm, upper back, and shoulder symptoms. You might have numbness, tingling, pain, or tenderness in these areas.
- Headaches often accompany whiplash injuries.
- You might also be tired or dizzy.
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately. Even if you don’t feel injured or if you think your injuries are minor, see a doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor may identify serious injuries. The sooner you start treatment, the better it may be for your health and potential legal case.
What to Do if You Sustain a Whiplash Injury in a Car Accident
Do these things if you were in a car accident and experience symptoms of whiplash:
- Get medical attention. As noted, starting treatment right away not only helps you recover from your injury but also enables you to connect the injury to your accident.
- Contact a lawyer. Call Jason Schultz for help: 404-474-0804. Our law firm can help you pursue compensation for your whiplash injury and its effects on your life.
- Do not give a written or recorded statement to the insurance company or agree to a settlement of your claim without first speaking with our firm.
- Gather evidence. Save photographs, medical records, eyewitness contact information, accident reports, or other documentation of the accident or your injuries. Share the evidence with your lawyer. We will also gather evidence to help you prove fault and liability.
The personal injury team at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC stands ready to help you. Please call us at 404-474-0804 today, and we will arrange to meet with you for free. There is no obligation, and we do not charge attorney fees until you get compensation.
Will Insurance Cover a Drunk Driving Accident?
Yes, insurance will cover a drunk driving accident, but coverage depends on the available insurance policies. The drunk driver’s bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage should cover your injuries.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
The drunk driver’s bodily injury liability coverage should cover your injury-related losses and damages, including:
- Doctor bills
- Hospital and ambulance bills
- Lost income and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Bodily injury liability provides coverage up to the policy limits. In Georgia, the minimum auto insurance requirements for bodily injury liability are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. But some drivers have limits above these minimums.
Property Damage Liability Coverage
The drunk driver’s property damage liability coverage should cover your property damage costs, including:
- Cost to repair your vehicle
- Value of your vehicle if it is declared a total loss
The minimum property damage liability coverage in Georgia is $25,000, but some policies have higher limits.
Your Options if the Drunk Driver’s Auto Insurance Does Not Fully Cover Your Damages
If the drunk driver does not have auto insurance or your damages exceed the drunk driver’s policy limits, you still have some options to get compensation for your damages.
Talk to your lawyer about all the insurance coverage that may be available to you following a drunk driving accident.
Here are some of the insurance coverage that may cover your injuries:
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can help if you bought this coverage as part of your auto policy. Your uninsured (UM) coverage can pay your damages if the at-fault driver has no auto insurance.
If the drunk driver has inadequate coverage and you bought underinsured (UIM) coverage, UIM coverage can help pay your losses that exceeded the drunk driver’s policy limits.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments (MedPay) coverage is an optional type of auto coverage. It can pay some of your medical expenses regardless of fault.
Your collision coverage can help you pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it was damaged in the wreck. Collision coverage comes with a deductible which varies depending on your policy.
Your Health Insurance
Your health insurance might help you pay medical bills. If you later recover compensation in an insurance claim or lawsuit against the drunk driver, your health insurance may try to recover part of your settlement or judgment.
See our article on paying medical bills while waiting for a personal injury case to resolve to learn more about health insurance and other options that may be available to you after an accident.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
Your lawyer may pursue a lawsuit against the drunk driver. Discuss this possibility with your lawyer. To get a free consultation about your case, call 404-474-0804.
Recoverable Damages for Drunk Driving Car Accidents
Recoverable damages for a drunk driving accident depend on the available insurance coverage, but common recoverable damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Decreased earning potential
- Disability and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Talk to a lawyer at our firm about your case and the damages for which you may recover compensation. Get a free consultation about your case by calling 404-474-0804.
What Happens if You Were Partly at Fault for a Wreck With a Drunk Driver
You can still recover damages if you were no more than 49 percent at fault for the accident.
Georgia follows the rule of modified comparative negligence, which reduces your compensation in proportion to your percentage of the fault, but bars you from getting any compensation if you were 50 percent or more responsible for causing the accident.
So, if the drunk driver was 90 percent at fault, but you were 10 percent at fault, you can get 90 percent of your damages.
Get Help With Your Drunk Driving Accident Claim
At the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, we do not charge for your initial consultation, and we do not charge any attorney fees unless you recover compensation.
Call us today at 404-474-0804 for a free consultation if you were in an accident caused by a drunk driver.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim?
If your loved one died because of another party’s negligence or intentional act, you may be able to take legal action for wrongful death. A claim or lawsuit for wrongful death must meet the criteria to hold a defendant liable for the deceased’s death.
Criteria That Constitute a Wrongful Death Case
For example, let’s say your loved one died in a car accident when another driver ran a red light and struck her vehicle. There are four steps to evaluating whether the law will hold the other driver responsible for her death.
- Duty of care. The defendant had a duty to drive his vehicle in a safe manner and obey all traffic laws.
- Breach of duty of care. The defendant breached his duty of care by running a red light, which violated traffic laws and put other drivers at risk of harm. Breach of duty is negligence.
- Causation. The defendant’s negligence must have caused the fatal injury. If your loved one died from injuries sustained in the accident caused by the defendant running the red light, it establishes a connection between the defendant’s negligence and your loved one’s death.
- Damages. The beneficiaries of the wrongful death lawsuit must have suffered damages, such as funeral costs, medical bills, and loss of financial support or services of the decedent.
After we establish that the defendant is liable for the death of your loved one, we can evaluate who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and what damages they can seek.
Types of Accidents That Constitute a Wrongful Death Case
Any accident caused by a negligent party that leads to the death of another person may qualify for a wrongful death case. Here are some common types of accidents that may constitute a wrongful death case if the victim passes away:
- Car Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Truck Accidents
- Accidents on Another Party’s Property
- Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
An attorney at the Law Offices of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can evaluate your case and help you take action against the party responsible for your loved one’s death. Call us at 404-474-0804.
Getting Compensation for Damages in a Wrongful Death Action
The personal representative of the deceased person can file a wrongful death claim to seek and recover wrongful death damages.
Full Value of the Life
Georgia law allows the deceased person’s loved ones to seek damages for the full value of the decedent’s life, to recover what they lost with the passing of the decedent.
The “full value of the life” means both the economic losses like the income he would have earned with a typical life expectancy and non-economic losses, like the loss of companionship. Georgia does not reduce potential future income by the living expenses the decedent would have incurred.
Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost lifetime earning potential
- Loss of love and affection
- Loss of parental guidance
The personal representative of the estate can pursue these damages because the personal representative’s job is to manage the decedent’s assets, including restoring to the estate assets that would be part of the estate but for the wrongful actions of the defendant.
Loved ones (e.g., spouse and children of the deceased) are beneficiaries of the estate, and, generally, ultimately will receive the compensation recovered in the wrongful death action.
Talk to a lawyer at our firm about the value of a wrongful death settlement for your case.
How to Get Help with a Wrongful Death Claim
If your loved one died in an accident, the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C., can help you take legal action against the liable party or parties. Our team can help you prove liability and establish the value of your wrongful death case.
There is no charge for the consultation, and there is no obligation. We do not charge attorney fees until you recover compensation. Please call us today at 404-474-0804 for your free consultation.
What Happens if a Pedestrian is Injured on an Atlanta Sidewalk?
If you are walking on an Atlanta sidewalk and you suffer injury, you might be able to get compensation for the person or company whose negligence caused you to get hurt or an adjacent landowner.
What Happens When Construction Makes a Public Sidewalk Dangerous
Whoever places any material on public sidewalks in Atlanta violates Section 138-12 of the Atlanta Municipal Code, which provides that:
“Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person to dump, deposit, or store any refuse, waste, garbage or other material of any nature, in or along the public right-of-way.”
If a construction company puts any debris or other substances on the public sidewalks, whether intentionally or inadvertently and someone gets hurt, the company can be liable. A warning sign will not shield the construction company from responsibility. If the construction activity will impact the safety of the sidewalk, the company must put up barriers and warning lights and other measures to protect the safety of the public.
For example, a construction company demolishes a building to replace it. During the demolition, bricks from the old building landed on the abutting sidewalk. When the crew left for the day, instead of removing the debris or putting up physical barriers, they placed a sign on the fence near the sidewalk warning of construction debris.
The sign does not satisfy their duty of care. If someone suffers injury because of the bricks, the construction company will be liable.
Who Has to Pay for Repairs to Atlanta Sidewalks
While you might think your tax dollars should pay for safe sidewalks, the City of Atlanta thinks otherwise. If a house abuts a damaged sidewalk, the City can order the homeowner to fix the sidewalk. If the department of public works sends a notice to fix the sidewalk and the homeowner does not repair it within what the department feels is a “reasonable time,” the department of public works can fix it and send the homeowner the repair bill.
Atlanta ordinances also require homeowners to keep the sidewalks around their houses free of ice and snow. Also, if part of the sidewalk space is unpaved, the city ordinances require the adjacent homeowner to keep the unpaved area sodded, watered, trimmed, pruned, weeded, and maintained.
Who Can Be Liable for Injuries on Sidewalks in Atlanta Residential Areas?
If you receive an injury while walking on a sidewalk in a residential area of Atlanta, you might have a claim against the abutting homeowner. If the homeowner did not maintain the sidewalk as the Atlanta ordinances require, this failure could be negligence. When the law imposes a duty on a person or entity and the failure to comply with that responsibility results in injury to someone, that person or entity can be liable to the person who suffered harm.
For example, if a section of a sidewalk is broken into chunks and you suffer injury from either losing your balance on the uneven surface or from a car hitting you when you step into the street to walk around the hazardous section of, the adjacent homeowner can be liable. The injury must be the result of the negligent maintenance of the sidewalk.
What Happens if the Pedestrian Is Also Negligent?
Sometimes more than one person is at fault in an accident that results in an injury. Let us say that a walker was playing a game on their phone while strolling down the sidewalk. Due to inattention, they did not notice uneven areas on the sidewalk. The walker tripped on and fell on the cracked and misaligned concrete, breaking their arm.
The judge finds the pedestrian was 40 percent at fault for not paying attention, and the abutting homeowner was 60 percent responsible for failing to maintain the sidewalk. Georgia’s comparative negligence law will reduce the walker’s damages by 40 percent to account for their fault.
How to Get Help for an Atlanta Sidewalk Injury
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC can talk with you and evaluate whether you might be eligible for compensation for the harm you suffered.
Call us today at 404-474-0804, and we will set up your free consultation.
Are Car Accidents Public Record in Georgia?
Georgia has an Open Records Act (ORA) that addresses which documents are public record. Several government agencies in Georgia created “A Law Enforcement Officer’s Guide to Open Records Act in Georgia,” that explains ORA as it relates to car accidents and many other situations. According to the guide, Georgia’s Open Records Act gives the public access to information and protects privacy.
The Government Can Withhold Information About Car Accidents
There is a general presumption that all public records are subject to inspection and copying, law enforcement has two exemptions, which include:
- Withholding investigative records when there is a pending investigation or prosecution, (other than the initial incident or arrest report). For example, if the police are investigating a hit and run accident or prosecuting someone for driving while intoxicated, they can withhold some investigative records.
- Withholding records that would reveal confidential material, such as the identity of a confidential source, an ongoing confidential surveillance or investigation, or material from an investigation or prosecution that would endanger someone’s life or safety.
Those two exemptions are discretionary, meaning that it is up to the government official to decide whether you can get a copy of those records.
Getting a Copy of an Accident Report in Georgia
You can only get a copy of an accident report in Georgia if:
- You submit a written request that provides a “statement of need.”
- You are a person or entity that is entitled to the report under Georgia law.
These are some examples of people who may have a right to car accident reports in Georgia (although officials can redact some personal information from the reports):
- Persons actually or allegedly injured by the crash
- An insurer of a person involved in the accident or property damaged in it
- Someone who owns or leases property damaged in the wreck
- Someone with a personal, professional, or business connection with a party to the accident
- Prosecutors and public law enforcement officers
- Someone alleged to have liability because of the crash
- A lawyer who needs the records for a criminal case or a possible claim of an unsafe intersection, roadway, or railroad crossing
- A representative of a news media organization who wants to use the report for an allowed purpose
- Someone researching subjects related to motor vehicle accidents and in the public interest (officials will redact all identifying information)
- A member of a government agency acting within the scope of official duties
Getting a Copy of Other Documents Related to Car Accidents in Georgia
Depending on the type of document, who you are relative to the person who is the subject of the report, and the reason you want the document, you may have access to some documents and not others. Here are a few examples:
- You cannot get a copy of the driving history or personal information on individual drivers from the Georgia Department of Driver Services unless a law enforcement agency has incorporated the driving history into a closed investigatory case file.
- Subject to disclosure requirements, you may get access to police in-car camera or body camera recordings in closed cases. The law is unclear regarding open cases.
- You can get access to crime lab reports (GBI Division of Forensic Services) in closed cases.
You do not need to investigate your car accident on your own. If you suffered injuries in a wreck that was someone else’s fault, the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC can gather the evidence to evaluate and prove your case. Call us today at 404-474-0804, for a free, no-obligation consultation.
How Do I File a Dental Malpractice Claim?
When things go wrong at the dentist’s office, you can suffer pain, the unnecessary loss of teeth, untreated cancer, and disfigurement, among other things. Georgia law allows you to sue dentists for malpractice, just like other doctors. In fact, the malpractice laws that apply to doctors include dentists and many other healthcare professionals.
The Elements We Have to Prove in Dental Malpractice Cases
As with any health care provider malpractice case, the elements of a dental malpractice claim are:
A Health Care Provider-Patient Relationship
If the person who made the mistake was your dentist or someone in the dentist’s office, such as the dental hygienist who cleans your teeth, the facts satisfy this element. A dental professional has a duty of care toward patients, which is to provide dental services at the level that a reasonable similar dental professional would practice under similar circumstances. For example, your dentist has a duty to evaluate unusual sores in your mouth.
Standard of Care
The dentist or employee of the dentist failed to meet the standard of care. Failing to meet the standard of care is a breach of the duty between the dental professional and the patient, also called negligence. Let’s say that you had unusual sores in your mouth that a reasonable similar dentist would evaluate for the possibility of oral cancer, but your dentist ignored them. Failing to evaluate the sores would be negligence.
Harm Was Suffered
The patient suffered harm as a result of the dental professional’s negligence. For example, if you had oral cancer that progressed to a more severe level because of the dentist’s failure to evaluate and diagnose the condition, you suffered harm.
The harm involves measurable damages. If you had to undergo the surgical removal of part of your tongue, for example, as a result of the delayed diagnosis, you have measurable damages resulting from the negligence. Some of your measurable damages can include the increased medical and dental expenses you had because of the delayed diagnosis and lost income from the additional treatments you needed because of the negligence.
The Requirement of an Expert Affidavit
When you file a lawsuit alleging dental malpractice, Georgia law requires you also to file a written affidavit of an expert who would qualify as an expert witness at trial. The affidavit must identify at least one alleged negligent act or omission and the facts that support each such allegation.
If the deadline for filing suit (statute of limitations) is about to expire, you can file the initial papers with the court without an expert affidavit and request an extension of time (up to 45 days) to file the document. The court can dismiss the petition in a dental malpractice claim when the plaintiff does not file an expert affidavit.
You Have a Short Deadline for Dental Malpractice Lawsuits
All states limit the amount of time you have to file lawsuits. You only have two years to file a dental malpractice action in Georgia under the statute of limitations. If you miss this deadline and do not qualify for a longer statute of limitations, the law will never allow you to file your dental malpractice lawsuit, no matter how compelling your evidence is.
Under certain circumstances, the court will extend the deadline up to a total of five years from the date of injury or death from the negligence, wrongful act, or omission. Minor children have from two years to five years or until their tenth birthday to file suit, depending on the circumstances of the alleged malpractice.
A person who has an intellectual disability or mental illness that renders the person legally incompetent has up to five years from the date of injury to file a dental malpractice lawsuit.
Damages for Dental Malpractice
The damages you can recover will depend on the facts of your case. Some of the typical damages for dental malpractice include:
- Additional medical or dental costs you incurred as a result of the malpractice, including the cost of repairing damage to your teeth, jaw, gums, or mouth
- Lost wages to replace income you missed out on because of additional procedures and recuperation
- Disfigurement if the dentist’s mistakes affected your appearance
- Pain and suffering for the physical pain and emotional distress you experienced
Limits on Malpractice Damages
Georgia used to limit the non-economic damages (like pain and suffering) you could receive for dental malpractice, but courts declared these restrictions unconstitutional, so they are no longer used. Those limits were $350,000 for non-economic damages and a total of $1,050,000 in damages for all defendants combined.
Georgia’s punitive damages limit of $250,000 is still in place unless you have a rare case in which you can prove intentional harm. If you can convince the judge of malicious behavior by the dentist, in which their goal was to hurt the patient, there is no $250,000 limit on punitive damages.
Examples of Potential Dental Malpractice
While these are not necessarily dental malpractice in every situation, here are some of the more common reasons that people may file a dental malpractice claim:
- Performing procedures without informed consent
- Not diagnosing medical conditions, such as oral cancer
- Complications, like infection
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Not referring the patient to a specialist when appropriate
- Improper supervision of employees, like dental assistants
How to Get Help for Your Dental Malpractice Claim
The dentist’s professional malpractice liability insurance carrier may have a team of lawyers ready to defend lawsuits.
If you suspect that you have been the victim of dental malpractice, The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC can help. We will evaluate your situation and tell you if you might have a claim against your dentist. We do not charge any legal fees until you get compensation.
For a free consultation, please call 404-474-0804.
I Was Bitten by a Dog. What Should I Do?
A dog bite can be a terrifying experience if someone else’s dog attacked you. Even if your own pet bit you, there are things you need to do to protect your health, comply with the law, and preserve a possible claim for damages.
Here are five things you should do if you were bitten by a dog:
Get Prompt Medical Attention
In addition to cleaning the wound and repairing visible damage, there are four reasons why dog bites need professional medical attention right away:
Dog bites transmit more than 95 percent of all rabies cases in humans worldwide. They can pass on rabies or other canine diseases through their saliva or blood. You can also develop tetanus (lockjaw) from a dog bite. The emergency room or urgent care center personnel may ask you how long it has been since your last tetanus shot.
If you cannot remember when you had a tetanus shot, they may administer one. If it has been more than ten years (or five years for a deep or dirty dog bite), they may give you a booster shot.
Because they are puncture wounds, you cannot see all of the tissue damage from a dog bite. Well below the surface, you could have nerve damage or injuries to muscles or other tissues. You could have permanent impairment of the affected body part if these wounds go untreated.
Many dog bite victims get bitten on their hands. Hand bites have a high rate of infection because there are so many small bones, joints, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels near the surface. The dog’s teeth compress tissue and push a multitude of bacteria and other organisms from its saliva deep inside your hand when you suffer one of these puncture wounds.
As a result, the infection can develop where you cannot see it – well under the surface of your hand. Deep-seated infections can spread rapidly throughout your body and cause life-threatening systemic diseases like sepsis or meningitis.
Documentation of Your Claim
Your medical records can be vital evidence in your personal injury claim. These records can show the date of the injury and verify that, according to a medical professional, you suffered a dog bite.
Find Out if the Dog Was Current on Rabies and Other Shots
Time is of the essence after a dog bite to know if you are at risk for rabies. Verify with the dog’s veterinarian that the animal was up-to-date on its rabies and other shots. Do not accept the word of the dog owner, as they might panic and lie out of fear of legal action or that the authorities will take their pet away.
If you cannot unequivocally verify the dog’s immunization history, you might have to undergo rabies injections.
Report the Dog Bite to the Authorities
Report the dog bite immediately to the proper authorities, even if your own pet bit you. Many areas require the reporting of all animal bites. Some will quarantine the animal, regardless of its immunization history. If a stray dog bit you, reporting the incident will notify the authorities that they need to capture the animal before it bites someone else.
Get a Personal Injury Lawyer Early in the Process
A personal injury lawyer can protect you from the insurance company giving you a low-ball offer to get rid of the case before you know the full extent of your medical condition. If you take a settlement and later have more medical bills or permanent impairment, you cannot go back to get more money. Make sure you have achieved complete healing before you agree to any settlement of your claim.
Do not give a recorded or written statement to the insurance company without having your lawyer involved. Do not sign any papers for the insurance company or the dog owner without having your lawyer review them first. In all of that legal mumbo-jumbo, you might be signing away your right to compensation for your injuries.
Preserve the Evidence
Your lawyer will investigate the case and collect evidence to build your claim for compensation. These items will be useful for your lawyer in proving what happened, who should be liable, and how much you should receive for your damages:
Save receipts for medical treatment, prescription medications, physical therapy, and other relevant items.
Keep a Journal
In a journal, you can write down the pain and other symptoms you experienced from the injury. Details of doctor appointments, medical treatments, and witnesses can provide critical information about your claim. Ask your lawyer what you should and should not write in this journal.
Take photographs of the injury from several angles and on different days throughout the healing process after being bitten by a dog. Keep track of which photos you took on which days.
Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC today at 404-474-0804, to get your free, no-obligation consultation.
Is Swelling Normal After a Dog Bite?
Yes, swelling is normal after a dog bite, but increased swelling after the initial first aid can be a sign of infection. Dog bites may be dirty wounds that are prone to infection.
First Aid for a Minor Dog Bite
An animal bite, or a dog bite that breaks but does not rip or tear the skin, might be a minor wound that you can take care of at home. You can use lots of soap and water to clean the wound thoroughly. Use an antibiotic cream and keep the bite covered with a sterile bandage. Check it frequently for signs of infection, until it heals entirely.
No matter how minor the bite, you should verify that the animal was up-to-date on rabies shots. If you cannot absolutely confirm that, you should see your doctor about the risk of rabies, even for an insignificant looking dog bite.
When to Get Medical Attention for a Dog Bite
In most cases, you should seek professional medical care for a dog bite, for these reasons:
- To determine if you need to take steps for rabies prevention
- To avoid infection
- To minimize scarring and disfigurement
- To document when the injury happened and the circumstances of the dog bite, in the event you decide to pursue legal action
Even if your own dog bit you and you know the animal was current on rabies shots, you should seek medical attention if:
- It is a deep puncture wound.
- You are not sure how severe the injury is.
- You have a lot of bleeding.
- The skin is badly torn or crushed.
- The wound is in a conspicuous location that could cause disfigurement.
Warning Signs of Infection of an Animal Bite
If your dog bite injury is red, swollen, oozing, or painful, get medical attention without delay. These symptoms are signs of infection that could develop quickly into a medical crisis.
Compensation for a Dog Bite
If someone else’s dog bit you, you might have a claim and recover compensation for a dog bite. Talk to a lawyer right away. You might be eligible for damages that can include your:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
When Treatment for a Dog Bite Can Be Medical Malpractice
Although emergency rooms have protocols for the treatment of dog bites, sometimes doctors and nurses make mistakes. You might have a claim for medical malpractice if the medical professional:
- Failed to give rabies shots when appropriate
- Failed to administer a tetanus shot
- Did not clean or dress the wound correctly, and you developed an infection
- Failed to refer you to a plastic surgeon when appropriate, to prevent excessive scarring and disfigurement
How to Get Legal Help for a Dog Bite
At the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, we help people who suffer harm from the negligence of others. If someone else’s dog bit you or you think your medical treatment was flawed, we can help you explore whether you might have a claim for compensation.If you call us at 404-474-0804, we will set up your free consultation and case evaluation. There is no obligation, and we never charge legal fees until you get paid for your damages.