Handling your Georgia Personal Injury Claim – A Complete Guide Part 1
- Do I have a Personal Injury Case?
Q: When a potential new injury client calls your law office, what questions do you ask them initially to determine whether their case and your qualifications are a good match?
A: We get basic information as to how the injury occurred. We then assess whether it is a good case from a liability standpoint. In other words, was the injury the result of the negligence of an individual, company, or both? Once we get a feel for whether we can establish liability, we examine the nature and extent of the injuries. If the injuries are relatively significant, we will schedule an in-office appointment. We will also inquire as to the types of insurance coverage that may apply to the case (liability, uninsured motorists, medical payments coverage, health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.), as well as the coverage limits, if the potential client has that information.
- I need an Accident Attorney who offers Free Consultations! – What should I bring to the meeting?
Q: Attorney Stevens, your law firm offers clients personal complimentary case evaluations. When a new client meeting is established, what types of information do you ask them to bring with them to the meeting?
A: Yes, case evaluations are free, and are always done by me, personally. I do not have “runners” or junior attorneys handle my new client meetings. What a potential injury client needs to bring to our first meeting depends on the type of case. In car wreck cases, the information would include: police report, photos of the damage to the vehicles, photos depicting the injuries, auto insurance policy information, health insurance information, any medical documentation the client may have in their possession and anything else the potential client believes may be important.
- How do I know if I need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Q: How does a potential client know whether they need an attorney, and that your services will benefit them? In what instances will you turn a potential client down for representation?
A: The bottom line is this. Clients must be better off financially, having hired us, than they would have been without us. If the injuries are relatively minor, or if there are significant issues regarding the cause of the injuries, we will typically decline representation. If the injuries are very significant, but there is limited insurance coverage available, we will often advise the client that they may be able to handle on their own. Example: Client had broken bones and medical expenses of $50,000, and there is only $25,000 in liability and/or uninsured motorists coverage available. The potential client will likely be able to recover the policy limits on their own. In such cases, we typically provide guidance free of charge. Please see the review from “Mrs. G.” for an example of how we turn down cases if a client will be better served handling a case on their own.
- Can my Georgia Accident Lawyer fire me?
Q: Once you sign up a case, are there any instances in which you may then later return a file to a client, and dissolve the relationship? If so, please list the possible reasons.
A: Yes. When we initially enter into an attorney/client relationship, we are relying, at least in part, on the information provided by the client as to the facts surrounding how the incident occurred, or the cause of the injuries, or both. If we later determine that the client was the “at fault” party, we will withdraw from representation (for instance, if they failed to follow warning signs). Likewise, if we are initially told that the injuries were the result of a certain occurrence (i.e. car wreck), but we later obtain medical documentation that is inconsistent with or contradictory of the client’s claim, we may withdraw from representation. Other times we may determine the amount of insurance coverage is very limited, and the client might do better financially by handling the case on their own.