Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

Every accident is unique, but many clients have similar questions about personal injury law. Read some of the most commonly asked personal injury questions—and answers to those questions—here.
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  • 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.”

    Construction Debris

    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.

  • What to Do After a Hit and Run Pedestrian Accident?

    After a car or truck hits you and leaves the scene illegally, you have to act fast as a pedestrian to protect your health and potential legal claim. Here is what to do after a hit and run pedestrian accident. Avoid pitfalls by using these ten tips:

    1. Get To A Safe Place

    If you can do so without risking additional injury or danger, get to a safe place nearby. If you cannot move from your location, ask someone to wave off traffic so that no one will run over you.

    2. Call 911

    The sooner the police know about the hit and run, the more likely they will be to catch the fleeing driver. It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident. Also, you need to know the identity of the driver to file a claim against his insurance company for your damages.

    3. Gather As Much Information About the Car That Hit You As You Can

    Make a note of the color and type of car or truck, as well as the approximate age and as much of the license plate as you were able to see. Even partial license plate information can help the police track down the vehicle’s owner.

    4. Seek Eyewitnesses

    Look around for potential eyewitnesses. They may have seen something you did not. That something might be the detail that the police need. Eyewitnesses might be able to fill in the blanks of what you did not see, such as other letters or numbers from the license plate, or the appearance and number of people in the car.

    5. Talk To The Police

    When the police arrive, tell them everything you can remember from the incident, including the street the car was on and the direction it went when it left the scene. Cooperate with the police, but do not say anything that could damage your claim. Some people have the habit of beating themselves up verbally when things go wrong, such as saying that it was their own fault they got hit because they were doing something stupid. Do not say anything critical of or negative about yourself to the police or anyone else.

    6. Get Immediate Medical Attention

    In the adrenaline rush that can happen with an accident, you might not feel pain the way you typically would. The blunt force trauma of a crash can cause broken bones and internal injuries that might not show visible symptoms right away. You can bleed to death internally before you know that you sustained damage to your internal organs.

    7. See A Doctor

    Make sure you tell the doctor and other medical personnel who treat your injuries that a car hit you. We will use your medical records to link your injuries to the hit and run accident, so that fact must be in your examination and treatment notes. If it is not, the defense may say your injuries are from something else, not from the hit and run. This defense tactic is another reason you must get medical attention immediately, so the insurance company cannot claim there was another cause.

    8. Notify Your Insurance Company

    While you need to report the incident to your insurance company, be careful about talking with an insurance adjuster and giving them or any other insurance company a written or recorded statement. Know the seven things not to say to an insurance adjuster; they can twist your words to mean something you did not intend, which could damage the value of your claim. Remember that insurance companies do not make a profit by paying money on claims – they make money by denying and marginalizing claims.

    9. Recover From Your Injuries

    Do your very best to get well and achieve the best recuperation possible. Physical therapy is often a component of treatment after an accident. Physical therapy can be painful, and it can throw a wrench into your schedule to have to attend therapy appointments two or three times a week for weeks or even months on end. Despite these facts, you need to complete all scheduled therapy and other treatments, so you will recover as much function as possible, and so the insurance company does not try to reduce the amount of your compensation.

    10. Talk To A Lawyer

    After doing these nine things after a hit and run pedestrian accident, consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer. Let the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC handle the legal matters so that you can focus on getting your life back. Once you get a lawyer, the insurance company cannot harass you. They have to go through us for information and to negotiate a fair settlement. Never sign anything or agree to settle your case without first talking to a lawyer.

    Call us today at 404-474-0804, and we will set up your free consultation and claim evaluation.

     

  • What happens when a pedestrian is at-fault for a car accident?

    When a pedestrian is at-fault for a car accident, s/he will be liable for all losses sustained in the accident. S/he will need to depend on his/her own insurance to cover the damages. Of course, this only applies if s/he was wholly at fault. With many pedestrian accidents, both parties share some of the fault, which adds another dimension to the insurance claims process.

    Below, we review liability for pedestrian accidents in Georgia and what kinds of options injured pedestrians have for recovery. For assistance with an accident claim or for a free case evaluation, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804.

    When is a pedestrian at fault for an accident?

    Any time a pedestrian behaves in a way that puts others’ safety at risk, s/he is breaching his/her legal duty of care, i.e., acting negligently. And when his/her negligence causes an accident, s/he will be at-fault and financially liable for the victims’ damages.

    Some of the most common things pedestrians do to cause accidents include:

    • Texting while walking
    • Talking on the phone
    • Walking while intoxicated
    • Not paying attention to or outright disobeying road signs and crosswalk signals
    • Crossing the street outside of an intersection
    • Running into the road

    Which party’s insurance company pays for pedestrian accident damages?

    Georgia is a tort or “fault” state when it comes to auto accident claims. This means that at-fault parties are financially responsible for the harms they cause. So, the insurance company you turn to for recovery hinges on fault or negligence. Here is how it works:

    Pedestrian At-Fault

    When the pedestrian is 100 percent at fault, the pedestrian will need to turn to his own insurance company for recovery. If the pedestrian carries auto insurance, he can use his personal injury protection (PIP) to pay for his medical bills. PIP is an optional coverage though, and he may not carry it.

    In fact, many pedestrians who do not own a car do not carry auto insurance at all. If this is the case, the pedestrian will need to use his own health insurance and disability insurance to offset his expenses.

    By the same token, if the driver or other road users involved in the pedestrian accident sustained harm or personal property damage, they have the right to pursue compensation from an at-fault pedestrian, as well. They can either file an insurance claim or sue the pedestrian to recover their losses.

    This could leave an at-fault pedestrian paying thousands out-of-pocket.

    Shared Fault

    Georgia adheres to a modified comparative negligence rule, which states that injured parties can recover compensation if they were at-fault — as long as they were less than 50 percent at fault.

    If the insurer or courts deem the pedestrian, say 40 percent at fault for the accident, s/he can still file a claim against the driver and recoup his/her losses. The caveat is that his/her degree of fault will reduce the potential settlement value. In this example, the injured pedestrian will only be able to recover 60 percent of his/her damages, e.g., $6,000 out of $10,000.

    How can I limit my liability in a pedestrian accident case?

    Because your eligibility to collect damages relies on who was at fault for the accident, it is important for the insurers or courts to carefully and fairly assign liability after a pedestrian accident. This is often easier said than done. In every case, insurers will do what they can to limit the liability of their policyholder. This means claimants will need to fight to prove the other party’s liability and minimize their own. Having a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer represent you is the best way to accomplish this.

    When you work with the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C., we will gather evidence surrounding your case to reduce your liability and try to uncover any ways in which the driver or other parties were negligent.

    Perhaps the driver was texting or talking on the phone when the accident occurred. We can subpoena his/her phone records. Maybe s/he did not come to a stop at a stop sign. We can see if there is any traffic camera footage of the accident or witnesses that can testify. Or maybe the city or township is at fault for defective or poorly designed roadways that were a hazard for the pedestrian.

    We can also review the police report, speak to witnesses, and even hire an accident reconstructionist to determine exactly how the accident occurred and who was at fault. And if the other party tries to pin a disproportionate amount of blame on you, we will reject it with evidence. Our goal will be to obtain the fullest recovery possible for you. And we will do all this with no up-front costs from you.

    Call attorney Jason R. Schultz to explore all your compensation options.

    Pedestrian accidents are one of the most complicated types of traffic accident cases. Liability and recovery are challenging issues, but given Jason’s 25+ years’ experience helping pedestrian accident victims, there are no injury cases that he cannot handle.

    Contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. to discuss your case and determine how best to proceed. We will review the specifics of the accident as well as the insurance policies involved, and counsel you on your rights and responsibilities. We will explore all available avenues of recovery and help you maximize your compensation.

    Let our caring, qualified team assist with all the legal and insurance hassles so that you can focus on getting better. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our pedestrian accident attorney: 404-474-0804.

  • Can I recover compensation after a hit and run bicycle accident?

    Riding a bike in Atlanta can be extremely dangerous and accidents are far too common. While many drivers will do the right thing, pull over, and offer assistance, some drivers just keep driving after striking a bicyclist. A hit and run bicycle accident often leaves an injured cyclist with severe injuries and no way to pay for them. Fortunately, you might have some options.

    Is there any type of insurance to help me after a hit and run bicycle accident?

    Perhaps. If officers are unable to identify the hit and run driver, you cannot seek compensation from his/her insurance company. However, the road does not stop there. Any of the following might give you the compensation you need to cover medical bills and lost wages after a hit and run bicycle accident:

    Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage

    If you have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on your automobile insurance policy, it may be able to help you receive compensation for your medical bills and some other expenses, like lost wages.

    PIP coverage is not a requirement in Georgia. You will need to read your policy to see if you purchased PIP coverage. If you do have PIP coverage, read the terms and limitations to see what exactly it covers.

    If you do not have auto insurance, you might be able to use a relative’s PIP coverage.

    Your Medical Payments Coverage

    If you purchased medical payments (MedPay) coverage, your policy will pay up to the limits you purchased (often $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, or $20,000).

    Your Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage

    You can also recover compensation through your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Even though insurers sell UM coverage to help drivers injured in accidents with uninsured drivers. However, because there is no driver, the insurer will simply treat this as a situation with an uninsured driver.

    UM coverage is also optional in Georgia. Check your policy to see if you have it.

    Note: Make sure you get a copy of the police report; your insurer will likely require it for any type of policy.

    Your Health Insurance

    Do not despair if your own automobile insurance policy coverage does not help you with your medical bills and other costs after being involved in a hit and run bicycle accident. Your health insurance might provide some assistance.

    However, in some cases, your health insurance will specifically exclude car accident injuries. Check your policy before you depend on your health insurance to cover your medical bills.

    How can I get help recovering compensation?

    Interpreting insurance policies can be difficult and complex, as insurers intentionally write policies in highly technical jargon. They do this to confuse policyholders and to stop them from realizing what exactly their policy entitles them to.

    To make sure you know what your policy covers, you need to speak with an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer who will evaluate your insurance policies and explain your coverage and possibilities for compensation.

    Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. today at 404-474-0804 to schedule your free consultation.

  • Who is most at risk for pedestrian accidents?

    Gender, age, nationality, and location are all factors in determining who is most at risk for pedestrian accidents.

    Below we review some of the key statistics from the Federal Highway Administration regarding pedestrian accidents on their website PedSafe, the Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System. Taking a look at the figures can clue us into which people are most at risk for pedestrian accidents.

    Who’s most at risk for a pedestrian accidents?

    Over 4,700 pedestrians are killed each year and 76,000 injured in traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The following facts from PedSafe point to the groups most at risk for pedestrian accidents.

    • Males more than females. Over 70 percent of pedestrian fatality victims are male.
    • Young children and older adults. Pedestrians age 75 and older have the highest fatality rate. (This may be partly because of their compromised physical and visual capabilities, and partly because a large number take to walking when no longer able to drive.)
    • African-Americans and Latinos. Perhaps because a larger number have less access to cars and are more likely to walk than Caucasians, increasing pedestrian accident risks.
    • Pedestrian in urban areas. Approximately 67 percent of pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas.
    • Pedestrians who frequently don’t use crosswalks, such as those in congested areas or areas with fewer crosswalks. Approximately 70 percent of accidents occurred at non-intersections.
    • Pedestrian who regularly travel between 6:00 and 12:00 p.m., darkness and alcohol being common factors at those hours.

    Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Atlanta

    If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident, you might be able to pursue a claim for the full extent of your damages. To determine what your options are, call our pedestrian accident attorney in Atlanta at the Law Office of Jason Schultz, P.C. Contact the office today at 404-474-0804 to schedule a free consultation.