Following a serious or catastrophic personal injury, the first thing on the minds of the victims and/or family members is: finances. Who’s going to pay for all the medical bills? Who’s going to pay for lost wages? Who’s going to pay for the pain and suffering? Then there is the fear of how to pay for the attorney so that you can file a claim or sue the responsible party(s). Finances are a huge concern for victims of personal injuries caused by other persons or entities, especially for those who are already working hard to make it through the end of the pay period to get their next check. In Crisp County, the economy is tough right now, which gives reason to believe that victims of personal injuries can face a difficult road to recovery if they are out of work due to the injury and bills start piling up.
Located towards the belly of Georgia, Crisp County is home to 23,314 people. The median age is 38.4 while the median household income is $31,615. Currently, the poverty rate is set at 32.8 percent. When compared to the rest of Georgia, this is certainly cause for concern. The overall median age in Georgia is 36.4, the median household income is $51,244, and the poverty rate is 17 percent. Thus, the median household income is 60 percent of what the state’s household income is, and the poverty rate is almost double the state’s rate. Worse yet, economically speaking, the employment rate continues to decline yearly at a rate of -1.86 percent. If you have been seriously injured, you need to act quickly and you need to know your rights and you need to know who to contact.
Victims of Negligence & Their Rights
When you are a victim of a personal injury, the law affords you certain protections and rights. A brief summary of those rights are listed below.
VICTIMS’ RIGHT IN PERSONAL INJURY MATTERS
- You have the right to file a claim against the at-fault party or entity. To file a claim, you will usually file a third-party claim against the at-fault party’s insurance carrier.
- You have the right not to accept a settlement offer by the insurance carrier if you do not agree with it.
- You have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party or entity. A lawsuit can be filed at any time against the actual at-fault party(s), whether it is the individual, the organization, and/or the insurance carriers. Of course, there are time limits that apply, which include Statutes of Limitation, Ante Litem notice time periods, and others. Any party at all responsible for the personal injury can usually be named as a defendant in the complaint.
- You generally have the right to be compensated for your economic damages and non-economic damages if you prove negligence. Economic damages include property damage repairs, medical bills, therapy and treatment bills, any other kind of medical expense, transportation costs, lost past and future wages, loss of earning capacity. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium.
- You have the right to receive punitive damages if the circumstances surrounding your personal injury justify it. The law protects you in cases where the personal injury is particularly egregious and the cause of it was intentional, reckless, fraudulent, wanton, malicious, or other. In the latter case, a judge and/or jury can award you punitive damages for the harm you suffered, but there are legal limits in many situations on the amount that can be provided.
One very important right you have as a victim of a personal injury is your right to seek legal counsel. You have the right to choose an attorney you believe is most qualified to handle your case. Taking the initiative today to contact an attorney will often cost you nothing but can do a lot in the pursuit of upholding your rights listed above.
Personal Injuries, Fault & Negligence in Crisp County, GA
Though it is complicated and each case must be analyzed on its own facts, Georgia follows a modified comparative fault system, which means each party is generally held responsible for damages in proportion to his or her percentage of fault unless the plaintiff’s negligence reaches a certain percentage.
Fault is one thing, and it can be the result of one’s negligent, willful, intentional, malicious, or wanton act, but for it to matter at all, it must be the actual or proximal cause of the plaintiff’s damages. Therefore, to prove fault is one thing, but it is not the entire thing that needs to be present in order to have a successful claim or win a verdict in your favor. Most personal injury cases are the result of negligence, and to prove negligence, you must establish four criteria.
FOUR ELEMENTS OF NEGLIGENCE
- Duty of Care. There is a nut of care if the law recognizes a relationship between two or more parties, and due to this relationship, at least one party has a legal obligation to act (or not act) in a certain manner toward the other party(s).
- Breach of Duty. A breach of the established duty occurs when the obligated party fails to exercise reasonable care to fulfill the duty.
- Causation. The breach of the duty must be the legal cause of the harm suffered by the plaintiff(s).
- Damages. The breach of duty did, in fact, cause physical and/or emotional damages that can be remedied by money damages.
In Georgia, if the personal injury was caused by a defective product, the plaintiff(s) can often allege both negligence and/or strict liability against the defendant(s). Also, if the personal injury was caused by an intentional act, the defendant may also be charged with a crime. For example, if a driver is DUI and causes an auto wreck, she has likely committed both a crime and a civil tort for damages.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you are a victim of a personal injury or if a loved one has been the victim of an injury or wrongful death, you likely have the right to file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party(s). Gautreaux Law can help. We pursue personal injury and wrongful death claims on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing up front or as the case goes on. We get paid only if we recover for you, and our fees will come directly from settlement or damages award. If you are struggling and are worried about contacting an attorney because of money, don’t be scared. The only thing you should be worried about is your recovery. Contact Gautreaux Law at (478) 238-9758 for a free consultation today.