Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
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How Much Is a Whiplash Settlement Worth?
How much your whiplash settlement is worth depends on what happened in your case. The total cost is different for each case because of the unique nature of the injury and the effect on the person injured.
What Can I Recover for My Whiplash Injury?
In any whiplash case, you will be entitled to:
- Medical expenses: These might include your initial medical exam, any medications you required, physical therapy, or even surgery if your case required it.
- Lost wages: If your whiplash kept you from returning to work for any amount of time, you can recover compensation for that time you spent out of work. You can also recover compensation for any time you needed to take off to attend doctor’s appointments or physical therapy sessions.
- Lost earning capacity: Severe or long-lasting whiplash can require sufferers to work less hours, take a lesser-paying job, or even retire. We can help you recover compensation for the wages you would have earned had your accident not occurred.
- Pain and suffering: Whiplash comes with many inconveniences and difficulties. Many people have trouble finding a comfortable position or sleeping at all, which can strain the injured person’s relationship with family and friends and lessen his quality of life. We will ensure your settlement accounts for any pain and suffering you endured.
What Might Affect My Whiplash Settlement?
Various factors might affect what you can recover for your whiplash injury. Some of these factors include:
The Severity of Your Injuries
If your injuries are more severe, long-lasting, require surgical intervention, or keep you out of work for an extended period of time, you will likely recover more than you would for a whiplash injury that lasted a month.
Whether You Had a Preexisting Injury
If you had an existing neck, shoulder, or back injury at the time of the accident, you will likely receive less compensation. The insurer will likely argue that the accident in question only exacerbated your existing injury rather than causing a new one.
Whether You Contributed to Your Injuries
If you contributed to your own whiplash injury or the accident that caused it, you might be unable to recover the total amount of compensation for your injury.
For example, say you suffered whiplash in a rear-end car accident. The driver who rear-ended you was texting and did not see you stop, but your brake lights were burnt out. The investigation found you 40 percent at-fault and the other driver 60 percent at-fault. You demanded $10,000 for your injuries. You would only be able to recover 60 percent of your demand (i.e., $6,000).
If You Do Not File in Time, You Get Nothing. Call Us Today
In Georgia, you have two years to file a claim for a whiplash injury. If you try to file after that, the court will not hear your case. You should file as soon as possible to make sure you meet the deadlines.Get a free evaluation of your case. Call the Law Offices of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804.
Is a Pedestrian at Fault for an Accident Outside a Crosswalk?
Whether a pedestrian is at-fault for an accident outside a crosswalk depends on a few factors. As a first step, you need to determine when you are inside and outside a crosswalk in Georgia.
When Are You “Outside” a Crosswalk?
Under Georgia pedestrian law, not all crosswalks have painted lines or other markers. Marked crosswalks have some kind of visible marker, most commonly painted lines. But there are also unmarked crosswalks. Both marked and unmarked crosswalks are legal and exist at most places where roads intersect.
This can make it difficult to determine when you are outside a crosswalk. Pedestrians are crossing outside a crosswalk if:
- They are crossing the road diagonally without a traffic signal that allows it.
- There is a marked crosswalk with a traffic signal and they ignore it and cross the road outside it.
- They are walking in the middle of the road (i.e., not at an intersection). There are no legal unmarked crosswalks in the middle of the road.
- There is a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing but they choose to cross the road instead.
Example: A pedestrian is crossing between two intersections with no traffic or crosswalk signals. The pedestrian walks into the street without looking both ways. A driver does not have time to slow down to avoid the pedestrian and hits him. The pedestrian is likely at-fault for this accident.
You can legally cross the street in Georgia without using a crosswalk, but pedestrians must still yield to traffic and give the right of way to vehicles.
While pedestrians must yield to drivers when they are outside a crosswalk, simply being outside one does not mean they are automatically at-fault for an accident.
Was the Driver at Fault?
Drivers must take precautions to avoid hitting pedestrians, regardless of whether the pedestrian was inside or outside a crosswalk.
A driver might be at-fault for hitting a pedestrian outside a crosswalk if he:
- Could have avoided the pedestrian but was not paying attention or was under the influence
- Ran a red light or stop sign
- Was speeding
Example: A driver is texting and does not see a pedestrian crossing the road. If the driver hits the pedestrian, he will likely be liable for any injuries.
The driver might also be at-fault if the pedestrian was already crossing the road. For example, if the driver turned right on green and hit a pedestrian who was already crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, the driver might be liable even though the pedestrian was not inside a crosswalk.
What if the Pedestrian and Driver Are Both at Fault?
Fault for an accident outside a crosswalk might land on both parties. When more than one person is to blame for an accident, Georgia uses a law called “comparative fault.” This law holds that parties in an accident can still recover compensation even if they were at-fault, as long as they are less than 50 percent at-fault. However, the percentage of fault decreases the settlement they are eligible to recover.
Example: The pedestrian is 20 percent to blame for the accident while the driver is 80 percent to blame. The pedestrian requested $80,000 for damages. The insurer or court will subtract 20 percent ($16,000) of the total. The pedestrian will only receive $64,000.
Get Help from Jason R. Schultz Today
Proving fault in an accident that occurs outside a crosswalk can be tough. You need to collect evidence as well as defend against any accusations of fault. This can be difficult to do especially when recovering from serious injuries that often come with pedestrian accidents.
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can handle your entire case from start to finish. We know what tricks insurers might pull to place the blame on you. More importantly, we know how to defend against them. Call 404-474-0804 today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.
What Is an Unmarked Crosswalk?
Georgia defines a crosswalk as a part of a roadway designated for pedestrian crossing. Marked crosswalks have painted lines or other visible markings to make the crosswalk obvious. An “unmarked crosswalk” has no visible markings.
Georgia recognizes both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Thus, crosswalks exist on all four corners of most intersections in Georgia, even if there are no painted lines.
Who Has the Right of Way in an Unmarked Crosswalk?
Georgia pedestrian laws state that pedestrians have the right of way in an unmarked crosswalk if:
- There is no traffic signal at the crosswalk intersection.
- They are on the half of the road a driver is on.
- They are within one lane of the road the driver is on or is turning on.
- They are already crossing.
- The driver is turning on a green light.
What if the “Don’t Walk” sign is flashing? Pedestrians still have the right of way. However, pedestrians should not start walking when the sign is flashing.
Is a vehicle moving and too close to yield to a pedestrian? Then it is illegal for pedestrians to move into the vehicle’s path.
Vehicles have the right of way if:
- A A pedestrian is crossing outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk unless the pedestrian is already on the road.
- There is a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing but the pedestrian decides to cross on the road.
Drivers must stop before reaching a crosswalk to allow pedestrians to cross safely.
If another driver stopped at a crosswalk, marked or unmarked, to allow a pedestrian to cross, all drivers must also stop until the pedestrian has left the road.
Who Is Liable for a Pedestrian Accident in an Unmarked Crosswalk?
To determine liability for a pedestrian accident in an unmarked crosswalk, we must identify who had the right of way. Let us consider two examples:
Example A: A pedestrian steps into an unmarked crosswalk. There are no pedestrian crossing signals. A driver with a green light turns right and hits the pedestrian. Who was at-fault?
It is likely the driver will be at-fault because he failed to yield right of way to the pedestrian.
Example B: A driver is turning right on green when a pedestrian steps into an unmarked crosswalk. The driver hits the pedestrian. Because the driver was already making his turn and likely did not have time to stop, the pedestrian will likely be at-fault. If the driver had time to stop but did not because he was not paying attention, both the driver and the pedestrian might share fault.
Injured in an Accident in a Crosswalk? Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Have you been in an accident involving a marked or unmarked crosswalk? You can get a free consultation on your legal options. Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804.
How Long Do Slip and Fall Settlements Take in Georgia?
How long slip and fall settlements take depends on various factors. These include:
- The severity and prognosis of your injuries
- How long it takes to gather evidence
- Whether the other party disputes fault
- The negotiation process
The Severity and Prognosis of Your Injuries
You never want to settle a claim until you know the severity and prognosis of your injuries. If you need several surgeries or long-term rehabilitation, you may not yet know all the costs. It may take weeks or months of recovery and rehabilitation until you know if you will fully recover.
If you settle too early and later find out you will need lifelong care, you cannot ask for more compensation.
Receiving a prognosis for your injuries could take anywhere from a few months to a few years.
How Long It Takes to Gather Evidence
To win a claim for a slip and fall accident, you have to prove that the property owner or manager was at fault for the problem that caused the fall. You will need evidence to prove this, which may include pictures, eyewitness statements, and investigating how long the danger that caused your fall was there.
Some of this evidence, such as surveillance video of the accident or a store’s maintenance policies, is in the hands of the other party and might prove difficult to obtain. For this reason, there is no way to estimate how long gathering this evidence can take.
Whether the Other Party Disputes Fault
Unless liability is clear-cut, you can be sure the other party will dispute fault or try to blame you. This can delay your settlement considerably.
We will build a strong case to lessen the other party’s ability to dispute fault or to place any blame on you.
The Negotiation Process
The first offer from the insurer is likely much lower than you need to cover your losses. We will negotiate with the other party until it offers a settlement you deserve. However, we might require rounds of negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurer which could take weeks or months.
Do I Have to Settle My Case Within a Certain Period?
Yes. Per Georgia law, you have two years to settle your claim or to file a lawsuit.
If you attempt to file a claim or lawsuit outside of this statute of limitations, the insurer or court will likely deny your claim. If the time limit is fast approaching and the insurer still refuses to offer you a fair settlement, we might consider taking your case to court.
Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. Today
Jason R. Schultz will do everything he can to settle your case quickly and get you the settlement you deserve for your premises liability claim. For a free evaluation, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804 today.
How Much Are My Lost Wages Worth After an Accident?
The value of your lost wages depends on how much time you missed from work because of your injuries, whether you will lose income in the future because your injuries prevent you from working, and whether your injuries force you to take a job that pays less than your current job. Losing out on a promotion or other benefits, such as a retirement pension and health benefits, can affect the value of your lost wages in a personal injury claim.
The attorneys at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. will discuss your case with you and review your wage records to determine a fair value for your lost wages in your injury case. Call us today at 404-474-0804.
What Are Lost Wages After an Accident?
- Lost current wages. When you cannot work after an accident because of your injuries, treatments, and recuperation time, your employer might not compensate you while you are away from work. You may also have to use vacation time, compensation for which we will seek to recover too.
- Lost future wages. There are two types of lost future wages: pay you will not receive during a lengthy recuperation time and money you miss out on because of debilitating injuries that prevent you from working in the future. To determine the value of your lost future wages, we will rely on evidence and testimony pertaining to your wages and medical evidence. If necessary, we may work with a rehabilitation or vocational expert as well.
What Happens If I Miss a Promotion Because I Was Not Able to Work?
Losing a promotion because you were away from work due to an injury may be compensable in your personal injury claim. For example, if you were likely to get promoted to a higher-paying position, we may seek compensation for the difference in pay you miss out on due to your injury.
What If I Have to Take a Lower-Paying Job Because of My Injuries?
If you are unable to perform your job and have to switch to a lower-paying career due to your injuries, you will have a claim for loss of earning potential. The value of your lost earning potential will be the difference between what you were making and how much you will make in the lower-paying career.
The calculations get tricky here because we will have to show how much money you would have made over the course of your working life in your previous career as well as how much you will earn during the rest of your working life with your impairments.
How Can Losing a Job or Missing Work Impact Me in Other Ways?
Missing time at work, having to switch jobs, or being unable to work altogether can mean that you miss out on more than income. Depending on your employer, you could also experience:
- Lost or reduced pension or retirement, including employer matching funds. If you are no longer working or if you are earning less money, you are not paying as much, (if anything) into your retirement account.
- Loss of benefits, such as medical, dental, and vision insurance; life insurance; free on-site daycare; paid vacation; paid parental leave; paid sick days; paid holidays; gym membership; and education subsidies.
Your personal injury claim should account for these additional work-related losses when seeking compensation for injury-related damages.
If you sustained injuries in an accident that was not your fault, call the personal injury team at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. We are standing by at 404-474-0804 to take your call and set up your free consultation.
How Does Collision Coverage Work?
Collision coverage is an optional insurance coverage in Georgia that pays to repair or replace your vehicle, less a deductible. You pick the amount of your deductible when you purchase this coverage. Collision coverage works regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
What Does Collision Insurance Cover?
Collision coverage will pay for damage to your vehicle if you are at fault, even in a one-car accident. For example, if the roads are slick and you slide into a stop sign, your property damage liability insurance will not pay for your car repairs (your liability coverage covers property damage you cause to other parties), but if you have collision coverage, it will pay to repair or replace your car if it is a total loss.
If you are at fault for a wreck with another vehicle, your property damage liability coverage will pay for the other party’s car repairs or replacement, and your collision insurance will repair or replace your vehicle.
Should You Buy Collision Insurance?
You might already have collision insurance if you make car payments or are leasing your car because the finance companies may require you to carry it.
Compare the expense of the collision coverage to how much you would have to spend to replace your vehicle with a similar one. If for example, you are insuring an old car worth only $1,500, you might not find the extra coverage worth it. On the other hand, if you have a $30,000 car, it may be worth it to add collision coverage to protect you in the event of a wreck.
Is There a Rule of Thumb for When to Buy Collision Insurance?
CarInsurance.com recommends that you buy collision insurance if:
- Your car is under 10 years old, or
- Your car is worth more than $3,000, regardless of age, or
- Repairing or replacing your car is not financially feasible for you.
Is There a Rule of Thumb for When to Drop Collision Insurance?
The same experts recommend that you think about dropping your collision insurance if your maximum possible payoff (the full value of your car minus your deductible) is not more than 10 times the cost of your annual collision premiums. In other words, it may not be worth it to pay $300 in annual premiums for an older car that has a maximum possible payoff of $2,500 (full value of the vehicle is $3,000, and the deductible is $1,000). You should not, however, drop collision coverage until you have paid off your auto loan.
Another rule of thumb for dropping coverage is to add up the cost of your comprehensive and collision coverage and your deductible. If the total is higher than what your car is worth, it may be time to drop the extra coverage. For example, if your combined collision and comprehensive coverage cost $500 a year, and you have a $1,000 deductible on an old, high-mileage car that has been in car accidents, the Blue Book value of the vehicle might be below $1,500. If so, it may not make financial sense to carry collision.
If you suffer injuries in an accident that somebody else causes, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804. We will evaluate all available coverage and help you file the appropriate claims to recover compensation.
What Is the Difference Between a Personal Injury Lawsuit and a Claim?
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
You file a personal injury claim with an insurance company. For example, after a car accident, you can file a claim with your insurance company (if you have first-party coverage) or with the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident.
Once you contact the insurance company, it will assign an adjuster to your claim. The adjuster will investigate the accident, including your damages such as medical bills and lost wages. If you file a liability claim (alleging another party caused you harm), the adjuster will evaluate fault.
The adjuster will either deny your claim or decide that your claim has merit. If they do not deny your claim, the adjuster will then calculate how much the insurance company will pay you for your injuries. If the insurer denies the claim, many people decide to file a lawsuit to recover compensation.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is an action filed with the court. Once you file the lawsuit, the case makes its way through the court system. The end of the process is trial, but most lawsuits settle prior to getting to trial.
It is sometimes necessary to file a lawsuit so you do not run out of time to take legal action. In Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years for personal injury cases. If you do not file a lawsuit within this period, you can no longer file a lawsuit.
Should You Hire a Lawyer for Your Personal Injury Claim?
We recommend working with a lawyer if you suffered serious injuries that another party caused. During your insurance claim, a lawyer will protect you from lowball offers and other tactics insurance companies use to minimize the value of your claim. Your lawyer will deal with the insurance company so that you do not have to.
Should You Hire a Lawyer for Your Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Insurance companies keep teams of lawyers on retainer to defend their cases in the court system. So, we recommend working with a lawyer especially if the insurance company is not offering a fair settlement, in which case your lawyer can help you pursue a lawsuit.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit?
Depending on the facts of your case, your recovery can include your medical bills, lost wages, disability, disfigurement, loss of earning potential, property damage, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC will obtain relevant records and documents to build and prove your case and its value.
If you suffered a severe injury from an accident that another party caused, the team at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC is ready to help you. Call us today at 404-474-0804, to set up your free consultation.
How Do I Report a Slip and Fall Accident?
To report a slip and fall, take the following steps:
- Determine which party to notify of the slip and fall
- File an incident report
Where Do I File a Slip and Fall Report?
The first step to filing a report after a slip and fall is determining with which party to file the report. You will file your report with the person or company that owns the property where your fall occurred. For example:
If your accident occurred on private property (e.g., at a friend’s house), you would report your accident to the homeowner, tenant and/or landlord.
If your accident occurred on commercial property (e.g., at a store), you would report your accident to the store owner, store manager, or facility manager.
- If your accident occurred on public property (e.g., a government-owned property), you will likely have to report the incident to the city or town where the incident happened.
How Do I File a Slip and Fall Report?
Once you determine the party to which you should report your slip and fall, you will need to notify that party of your accident and file a report to document the incident. If your accident occurred on public or commercial property, the property owner or manager might ask you to fill out an incident reporting form.
As you fill out your report, consider these helpful tips:
- Be accurate – Insurers and property owners will look for inconsistencies in your story. Make sure you do not exaggerate or lie in your report.
- File your report ASAP – Insurers and property owners will use the fact that you did not report the incident immediately as proof that the accident did not occur or proof that you did not have any injuries.
- Get a copy – Make sure to get a copy of any report you file, as it may be evidence later on.
If they do not ask you to fill out an incident report or if the accident occurred at a private residence, document that you informed the property owner or manager of the slip and fall. Ideally, you should bring someone with you to witness your report. Be sure to write down the following:
- Your name
- Date of the accident
- Date you reported the accident
- Name of person who received the report
- Location at which you reported the accident
- What you slipped on (e.g., water, oil, etc.)
- Who witnessed the accident
- Your injuries and symptoms
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz P.C. can help you with your premises liability claim. Call us today at 404-474-0804.
How Do Escalator Injuries Happen?
When an escalator malfunctions, it can severely injure people using it. These injuries can occur in a many ways, but many of them occur as a result of escalator defects and poor maintenance. Anyone who suffers injuries while riding an escalator may make a claim to recover their medical expenses and other accident-related costs.
If you suffered injuries as a result of an incident on an escalator, the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz P.C., can help you file a claim against the responsible parties. Call us today at 404-474-0804.
How Do Escalator Injuries Happen?
Escalator injuries occur because the escalator was defective or malfunctioned due to poor maintenance. Some common escalator defects include:
- Broken or missing steps
- Missing teeth on escalator track
- Excessive space between moving steps and stationary sides and railing
- Mechanical malfunction
- Loose or missing screws
These defects can cause accidents such as slips and falls or entrapment.
Slips and Falls
Some people fall when getting on and off an escalator or moving from one step to the next. Children and the elderly are especially prone to this type of accident. Slip and fall accidents on escalators occur because of broken steps, sudden stoppage, or change in the direction of the steps.
Entrapment occurs when a part of the body becomes caught in the escalator mechanism. Children are especially prone to finger entrapment due to their small hands. It is also important to note that entrapment does not always have to include a body part. Personal effects (e.g., hair, clothing, shoes, shoelaces) may also become lodged in the space between stationary siding and moving steps.
Who Is Responsible for Escalator Injuries?
Many escalator accidents occur due to the negligence of one or more parties, such as the escalator manufacturer, maintenance company, or even a mall or shopping center where the escalator is located. This negligence may include:
- Poor design or using defective parts during the manufacturing process
- Property owners and maintenance personnel’s failure to perform routine maintenance on the escalator
- Property owners’ and repairmen’s failure to fix faulty machinery within a reasonable amount of time.
If You Sustained Injuries on an Escalator, Call Us Today
The attorneys at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz P.C. will evaluate your claim for free and advise you of your options for recovering your damages. Call us at 404-474-0804 to arrange your consultation.
How Much Is a Herniated Disc Lawsuit Settlement?
If you suffered a herniated disc in a personal injury accident, the value of your settlement would depend on many factors, including the severity of your injuries and the circumstances surrounding your accident. The attorneys at the Law Office of Jason Schultz, P.C. can evaluate your claim and help you determine the value of your settlement.
How Much Is My Injury Worth?
Generally, your settlement will comprise of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to medical expenses, lost wages, and other tangible expenses. Non-economic damages refer to pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other less-tangible damages.
To determine how much your injuries are worth, we will need to consider some factors that affect the value of your settlement. While we cannot predict the exact value of your claim, we can say that herniated disc injuries may result in a substantial settlement value if they cause severe pain, expensive medical bills, and have long-lasting effects. Our attorneys can evaluate your claim and identify a reasonable settlement value based on statistics and other criteria.
The amount you receive in settlement will depend on the following factors:
The Severity of the Injury
The more serious your injury, the greater your expenses, losses, and other damages. And therefore, the more compensation you may recover in your settlement. The following factors may go into determining injury severity:
- Whether the injury affects other parts of the body – Herniated discs can cause pain in your arms, legs, shoulders, and buttocks in addition to your back.
- How the injury affects the victim’s everyday life – Herniated disc victims may not be able to go to work, drive, or perform household services.
- If the injury causes a loss of body function – Herniated disc victims may suffer from limited mobility, numbness, and weakness.
- The severity of the victim’s pain – Accident victims with herniated disc injuries may suffer severe pain for an extended period.
- If the injury is long-term or permanent – Many accident victims find that the pain from the herniated disc injuries is permanent, even with treatment and surgery.
One common argument insurance adjusters use to lower settlement awards is that the victim’s injuries were pre-existing. The adjuster may say that the victim is prone to back injuries because of their medical history of back injuries. However, the plaintiff can counter that the accident aggravated their previous injuries, and thus that they are still entitled to recover damages. If you previously suffered a herniated disc injury, but your accident aggravated it, you may still be eligible to file a claim and recover compensation for damages.
Circumstances of the Accident
The circumstances surrounding your accident may affect the settlement the insurance company offers. For example, when evaluating a settlement after a car accident, the insurer may look at the severity of vehicle damage. If the accident was a low-speed collision, the adjuster may argue that such a minor crash could not cause such a serious injury. However, even if your vehicle damage is minor, you are still entitled to compensation if the accident resulted in a herniated disc injury. Do not let the adjuster convince you that just because your vehicle damage is minor that you are not entitled to full compensation for your damages.
Our attorneys will contact medical experts, accident reconstructionists and witnesses to help us establish the severity of your injuries and the value of your damages.
We must also establish that the other party was at fault for the accident. Under Georgia law, the party who casued the accident is liable for the injured party's damages. But even if you were partially at fault, you may recover compensation for your injuries. Comparative negligence law in Georgia allows negligent parties to recover damages for their injuries as long as they are less than 50 percent at fault. For example, if you suffered a disc herniation when you fell on a broken step at a department store, but you were 40 percent at fault for your injuries, and your damages total $100,000, you will recover $60,000 ($100,000 minus 40 percent).
We Can Help You Recover Monetary Compensation
We can evaluate your case using all the above factors to determine how much your lawsuit settlement may be worth. Your settlement should include past, present, and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic costs.
For a thorough case evaluation, contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804.