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FAQs

General

What should I do if I am in an accident with another automobile, motorcycle or truck?

We recommend that, if possible, you collect certain information at the scene. Obtain all you can from the at-fault driver, such as name address and home and cellular phone numbers.  Get the license plate number and the driver’s automobile or commercial truck insurance policy information and number. Get the contact information of all witnesses. Take cell phone pictures of the vehicles and the scene.

If you have been hurt at all, seek medical care at the ER or your primary doctor immediately or shortly following the accident, no more than a few days.  Taking each of these steps will help ensure that if you do need or choose to hire a car accident attorney, your case is off to the best possible start.  If you have any questions, call the Atlanta car and truck accident lawyers of The Millar Law Firm, our telephone consultations are free.  770-400-0000 (770-“4 Million”).

In a Georgia Wrongful death case, what happens if a deceased person’s spouse cannot be located?

In a Georgia wrongful death case where the person who died has an estranged husband or wife who cannot be found, it may be possible for the case to be brought by a personal representative appointed by the Court, and any money recovered would be held in trust for the beneficiaries.  If there are minor children, the minor children may need a conservator to bring the action.

What should I do if my car was damaged or totaled, but I was not hurt?

When your car is damaged by an at-fault negligent driver, in a hit-and-run, or in another type of incident, even if you are not hurt you must report the accident (damage) to your insurance company, or you risk losing your insurance coverage.  The driver who caused the collision’s insurance policy should cover your damage, but if that driver is not insured, under your policy, if you have collision coverage, you may be entitled to repairs, diminished value or total loss.  Review your insurance policy to see if you have collision coverage.

For even more legal information, read our handy Georgia property damage guide.

Georgia Legal FAQ: The at-fault driver crashed into me while applying makeup, she crossed into my traffic lane. Is she responsible for my damages?

Yes.  Because the at-fault driver caused the accident while failing to pay attention was negligent, if not reckless driving. Putting on makeup is a form of distracted driving — as using a mobile phone, driving while texting, and drowsy or drunk driving.  Our car wreck attorneys work closely with investigators and experts such as accident reconstruction specialists, medical doctors and mechanical professionals to prove each form of distracted driving in your injury case.

Car Accident Legal Question: My wife and I were hit by a truck. I was not injured, but my wife suffered severe life-threatening injuries. Is she entitled to relief?

It does not matter if everyone in your car was hurt.  If the other driver caused the wreck, each passenger is still legally entitled to their own full claim. Sadly, sometimes a person in a serious wreck is killed, while others survive.  The survivors may have a wrongful death case, and may also have a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress if they were physically impacted in the crash.  A surviving spouse may also have a loss of consortium claim.

Georgia Comparative Negligence Question: A taxi ran a red light and hit my daughter, but she was also speeding and talking on her cell phone. Does she still have a case?

Georgia Comparative Negligence Question and Answer:  In our State, when an accident victim’s negligence partly contributed to accident and or to their own injuries, this may affect the amount of money that is awarded or can be recovered from a personal injury or wrongful death claim, case or lawsuit. Georgia is known as a modified comparative fault, or negligence, state.  Under this legal doctrine, when the victim of any type of accident is partly to blame for their injury, a court  or jury may determine how much (by percentage) that the person is at-fault, and may reduce amount of the award proportionally. If  the victim is 50% or more at fault, recovery may be completely barred.

Ga. Car Accident Legal Question: We were rear-ended at a stoplight. I haven’t been able to work for months and will need surgery. What can I recover from the other driver?

Ga. Car Accident Answer:  If another driver is proven to be at-fault, your damages are likely to include the following: mental and physical damages, economic (special) and punitive damages. Special damages  usually means your financial harms, such as medical bills, final expenses (funeral ), and pay – future and past. General damages are mental and physical in nature and may include pain and trauma, scars, distress, or even the loss of the comfort and companionship of your spouse. Punitive or exemplary damages are possible in certain cases such as reckless driving, racing, or intoxicated (drunk or drugged) driving incidents.   Such damages are, under Georgia’s public policy, meant as a punishment or to deter others, including the defendant, from doing the same thing again.

Georgia Uninsured Motorists: The vehicle that hit me did not have insurance. I have medical expenses and pain and suffering. What can I do?

Georgia Uninsured Motorist Coverage, legal advice: This is a complicated situation, but one that unfortunately is common in Georgia. First, you do have the option to file a lawsuit against the owner and driver of the uninsured car or truck for your medical bills, pay you have lost (past and future), for you mental and physical pain, and possibly for exemplary damages. However, because the at-fault driver had no insurance, the chance of collecting your damages may be small.  Therefore, it is advisable to also make a claim with your own automobile insurance policy for your UIM or uninsured motorist benefits.  A UM policy protects you and allows you to recover your damages when the at-fault driver has no liability or bodily-injury or collision insurance or has insurance limits that are not large enough to cover your losses, and you have the appropriate UIM coverage.  It is advisable to have your UM policy reviewed by a Georgia car accident attorney, because many insurance policies are difficult to understand or even misleading.  And, just because your insurance sales person was friendly when he or she sold you the policy, the company might not be so friendly as you try to collect UM benefits.

Georgia Law – Respondeat Superior: I was hit by a commercial van making a delivery. Can we sue the company the driver worked for?

Georgia allows you to bring a claim through the doctrine of respondeat superior, also known as vicarious liability.  These rules mean that a driver’s employer may be responsible for the injuries if the driver was operating the company (or even a personal) truck or car or other motor vehicle within their duties of employment – known as the scope of employment.  Potentially a company might also have responsibility or liability for what is called negligent hiring or negligent retention if it were proven that company hired an unqualified driver, or knew he or she had a tendency to drive recklessly or negligently. In some instance, a company might have also contributed to the wreck by unsafe practices like unrealistic delivery schedules (encouraging speeding and reckless driving) or failure to properly maintain a company vehicle.

I was hurt in a car accident. Now, my medical or health insurance wants to take part of my settlement. Can they do that?

If you have been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident and your medical treatment was paid for by your health insurance, or workers’ compensation insurance, these insurance carriers, or possibly even your hospital or doctor’s office, may place a lien on your recovery.  These medical providers may have a full or a limited claim to reimbursement from your award or settlement.  The only way to know how strong a health insurance plan reimbursement (subrogation) right is, often is to obtain and review the policy language.  This is one of the services The Millar Law Firm’s Georgia attorneys provide at no additional charge to our representation.  Other liens, such as hospital, physician and ERISA liens are often highly negotiable, and should never be paid in full without first having an attorney assess the strength of the lien and negotiate it to a lower amount.

Georgia Statute of Limitation Question: A drunk driver just pled guilty to DUI-DWI after 18 months. Is it too late to file a claim or lawsuit?

As in many personal injury cases, a victim hit by a drunk, drugged or otherwise intoxicated driver in Georgia usually has just 2 years (24 months) from the time of the injury to file his or her lawsuit. However, based on a new Georgia appellate case,  it has been ruled that the two-year statutory limit time period may not start to run while the charges — including a DUI (DWI) or even a traffic ticket — are still pending and have not become finalized. This means that you may actually have more than two years to file your lawsuit. But, you must be careful. But if  you do not correctly calculate the time remaining, you could lose your rights. Always contact a Georgia personal injury lawyer well before two years after any crash or accident where you have gotten hurt.

In a case involving an at-fault and DUI driver, you should include a punitive damages claim along with your claims for special and general damages. Here in Georgia, the purpose behind an award of punitive damages is to punish and deter “willful misconduct, wantonness and entire want of care.” Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol clearly fits into this category.  And a guilty plea in this type of case is also very helpful, because it establishes a legal admission to driving under the influence. Punitive damages are usually limited (capped) at $250,000 in Georgia. However, because impaired or drunk driving is an intentional and dangerous act, there is an exception to the limit on punitive damages, and there is no cap on punitive damages for these cases.

Because there is a two-year statute of limitations in Georgia, meaning you have to take legal action within two years from the date of the accident, you should contact a skilled, experienced and aggressive car accident attorney at The Millar Law Firm right away. Our Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyers have obtained punitive damages in numerous cases involving DUI and drugged drivers.

Georgia Legal Question: Hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel, and don’t have a lot of money? How much should it cost to hire an attorney?

At The Millar Law Firm, all cases are reviewed by an attorney at no charge to you.  If we are able to accept your case and worth together, there are no charges for our legal work unless we recover money for you through an award or settlement – fees of this type are “contingent” also known as “contingency fees.”  One reason our firm can make such arrangements is because we are confident that if we are able to accept your case (there are no guarantees, however) we are doing so on a belief that our firm will be able to make a financial recovery.  We are proud to say that we have established a strong record of successful results for our clients, including over $100 million in favorable verdicts and settlements since our firm was established.

Georgia Drunk Driving Accident Answers: My daughter’s car was hit by a driver whose blood-alcohol level was above .08 percent at the time of the crash. Doesn’t that automatically mean he is guilty and liable for damage to the car and my daughter’s injuries?

A blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent is the legal BAC level when a driver is legally considered drunk and impaired in Georgia. But being charged with DUI is not the same as being convicted and holding an allegedly drunken driver liable for injuries and property damage is a separate case altogether.

Recording a BAC of .08 or more is evidence of intoxication and driving while intoxicated is against the law. Regardless of whether prosecutors obtain a guilty verdict in a criminal trial or a plea for driving under the influence (DUI), in a civil case, your daughter would have to show that the driver’s negligence caused her injuries and losses.

A personal injury case against an allegedly drunk driver would use the police report showing results of the driver’s Breathalyzer or blood test, a DUI charge, and potentially a DUI conviction as evidence. However, the evidence would also have to show that the other drivers’ negligence (driving while impaired) caused the crash and the crash was the direct cause of your daughter’s injuries.

It is also important to understand that, while a DUI conviction is certainly helpful, a personal injury claim in a drunk driving case can succeed without a criminal charge or conviction.

You will need the assistance of an experienced drunk driving accident personal injury lawyer to proceed with a claim and obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and property damage losses caused by the wreck. The Millar Law Firm can investigate your daughter’s case, gather the evidence required and negotiate with insurance companies or take the claim to court on your behalf, if necessary.

I went to a party with some friends. Our driver drank a lot of wine at the party and on the way back, he ran into a tree, causing me to break several bones. Can I sue the driver?

Yes. We often think of the “other” driver as being the one at fault in a drunk driving case, but passengers of impaired drivers who are injured because of the driver’s negligence may also seek compensation for their losses.

You may be able to file a claim against the driver and other parties as well, including the host of the party you attended.

Georgia’s dram shop act, which holds bar, restaurant, and store owners responsible for harm done by intoxicated or underage patrons they knowingly sell or serve alcohol to, also includes a similar social host liability. If the driver of the car you were in was younger than the legal drinking age, which is 21, or was already intoxicated when the host of the party served him or her alcohol, you may be able to pursue a third-party claim against the host.

However, Georgia law is governed by a modified comparative fault statute. Under this law, if a drunk driving accident victim is responsible to some degree for their injury, a court will determine the percentage of the person’s fault and reduce the amount of any compensation proportionally. If it’s somehow determined that a person’s fault exceeds that of the driver, or the person could have avoided the consequences caused by the drunk driver’s negligence, no compensation will be awarded.

Your consumption of alcohol followed by getting into a car with someone who you knew was at the same party may have a detrimental effect on your claim. You should discuss your case with an experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer who pursues drunk driving accident claims. At The Millar Law Firm we will provide you an initial legal consultation about your case at no charge.

Georgia Car Insurance Legal Q & A: A drunk driver fled after the collision and neither the driver nor the car owner had any insurance. Can we recover compensation?

In this situation, you should file claims against the at-fault driver, the car’s owner and with your own insurance company for your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, if you have it. An UM/UIM policy entitles you to compensation for injuries when the at-fault party either has no liability insurance (UM) or has insurance that does not cover the full extent of your damages (UIM). It’s estimated that 11.7 percent of Georgia motorists were uninsured as of 2012.

Though your insurance company may have been friendly when it accepted your premiums, it may not be so friendly when you file an accident claim. Dealing with insurers who act in bad faith is among the services a personal injury lawyer can provide you.

Second, an investigation into the activities of the driver who hit you may be able to demonstrate that he or she was drinking before the accident and that his/her impairment was the reason for crash and caused you to be hurt.  Evidence may be found in restaurant or bar receipts showing alcohol purchases, interviews with witnesses, cell phone data pinpointing the driver’s whereabouts at certain times, and even social media posts in which the drunk driver implicates him/herself.

Investigation may also discover another insurance policy in the household of the drunk or drugged driver that might provide liability coverage for your Georgia injury claim.

If the evidence indeed shows that the driver was drunk and ran from the crash scene, you could make a case for punitive damages. This is additional compensation that is awarded to punish someone who acted with willful misconduct, wantonness, and lack of care.

Third, the owner of the car may have a responsibility to you if he loaned the vehicle to a driver who was intoxicated at the time or, perhaps, had a history of drunk driving.

An experienced drunk driving claim attorney at The Millar Law Firm can investigate your case, sort out the responsibilities of the parties involved, and help you receive justice for the losses and injuries that were no fault of your own.

My wife and I were injured in an accident with a driver who wasn’t drunk. Instead of alcohol, he had consumed prescription medicine before he drove. Can we still sue him for our losses?

Probably. Georgia’s “drunk driving” law applies to “drugged driving,” as well. It is actually a law against driving under the influence, whether of alcohol or illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs.

Although most impaired driving accident cases involve a driver who was intoxicated by beer, wine, or liquor at the time of the accident, liability can be established in Georgia against a driver who was impaired by any substance. This includes:

  • Illegal drugs (controlled substances), such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine (“meth”), ecstasy (MDMA), or LSD.
  • Prescription drugs, like pain medications or antihistamines, which can cause drowsiness.
  • Over-the-counter drugs, such as cough medicine or allergy medicines, which can also cause drowsiness.
  • Any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor, which when sniffed or “huffed” causes a euphoric high.

Georgia’s law is very strict. It makes it illegal to drive with “any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance” in the driver’s blood or urine. The law also refers to use of the above substances as illegal when they make or cause the driver to be “less safe” to operate (drive) a car or truck or motorcycle.  Even a herbal supplement that adversely impacts a driver’s ability to drive safely could be grounds for a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

If you believe the driver who caused your accident and injuries was impaired by any form of drug, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. It may be necessary to seek a court order to have the driver’s blood or urine tested for the level of drugs in their system without too much of a delay.

Georgia Legal Help and Advice: What should I do if I have been in an auto accident caused by a drunk or drugged driver?

Georgia Legal Help and Advice: If you have not been too badly injured, there are several steps you can take to protect your rights to compensation after a drunk driving accident. If you have been injured you should seek emergency medical care and, if possible, have a companion assist you in protecting your rights.

You or a companion should collect as much information as possible from the crash scene. If you have a camera or camera phone, take photos of the cars and their damage, and other shots of the accident scene, debris, or conditions that help to show what happened.

Get the other driver’s name, address, and phone number, as well as license plate number, the name of his or her automobile insurance provider or company, and the insurance policy number. Be ready to provide this information about yourself, as well. Get the names and contact information for any witnesses.

Report the accident to police and cooperate with the police when they arrive. Answer questions honestly. Do not make charges against the other driver and do not place any blame on yourself. Ask how to obtain the Georgia Uniform police report from your City or County, or from the Georgia State Patrol, and get a copy as soon as possible.

Even if you haven’t been seriously injured, see a doctor within a day or so after the accident. You may have internal organ or head injuries that do not cause problems right away, but that need to be examined and treated.

If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, you should decline to discuss the case with them. It is best if you can refer them to an attorney you have already retained. The insurance company may try to get you to settle your claim quickly and cheaply.

Don’t accept a settlement offer from any insurance company without first speaking to a personal injury lawyer experienced with drunk driving accident claims in Georgia.

The Millar Law Firm can assist you in a free initial legal consultation if you have been hit and hurt by a drunk driver in an accident in Atlanta or anywhere else in Georgia. If you have an insurance settlement offer, we can review it for you. Once we agree to take your case, we can handle all calls from insurers and others involved with your claim.

Georgia Legal FAQ: What kind of compensation is awarded can be obtained in a drunk driving accident claim or lawsuit?

Georgia Legal FAQ: What kind of compensation is awarded can be obtained in a drunk driving accident claim or lawsuit? In addition to the compensation normally awarded in a personal injury claim (settlement) or lawsuit, that usually includes: Medical expenses, Property damage, Lost income, Pain and suffering, Emotional distress, and/or Funeral and burial expenses (in a wrongful death); in a drunk driving accident case with injuries in the state of Georgia, punitive damages are frequently awarded to punish and deter “willful misconduct, wantonness, and entire want of care.” Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol clearly fits into this category.

Generally, punitive damages in Georgia are capped at $250,000 by O.C.G.A. 51-12-5.1(f) and(g). However, because driving while impaired or intoxicated is extremely reckless, there is an exception to this Rule.  There is no cap on punitive damages in personal injury cases involving Drunk Driving, DUI or driving under the influence of any drugs (other than lawful prescriptions) or aerosols or other toxic vapors.

How can I afford to hire a lawyer to take my drunk driving accident case?

You can afford to hire The Millar Law Firm because our legal services cost you nothing unless and until we obtain compensation for you.  Our attorneys will work on your case for an injury caused by a drunk or intoxicated driver with no up-front charges or fee, and will be paid at the conclusion of your case based on an agreed-upon percentage of the recovery, generally 33.33% if no lawsuit is necessary.

This is known as a contingency-fee arrangement. Our fee depends on what we obtain for you. If we can take your case, we will agree to a percentage of any final settlement or award as our payment for legal services. A contingency-fee arrangement protects you and motivates us to do the best we can for you.

The Millar Law Firm Atlanta personal injury attorneys help drunk driving accident injury victims and their families from throughout the Atlanta metro area and any place throughout Georgia. For a free evaluation of your case, call us today or reach us online.

Georgia Dog Bite FAQ: What steps should I take if a dog has bitten me or someone in my family?

Georgia Dog Bite FAQ and Legal Questions Answered:  What should you do if a dog bites you or a family member?  Getting immediate medical attention is always a priority after a dog bite incident, even if the injuries do not seem serious. You may need stitches, a tetanus shot or other treatment to prevent infection. In addition to obtaining the medical care you need, seeing a doctor will provide documentation of what happened as well as your injuries, and the records will provide evidence to support your claim or legal action.

If you seek compensation from a dog’s owner after being bitten by a dog, documentation of injuries and medical treatment will be the primary evidence to support your injury claim. You should keep any torn or bloodied clothing and get photos of your dog bite injuries. This evidence can help to demonstrate the extent of the harm you (or a loved one) suffered.

After a dog bites you or a family member, you should also get information about the dog’s owner, including his or her name and address, and information about the dog, such as how recently the animal received a rabies shot. Get the names and contact information for witnesses to the bite incident in case the dog’s owner tries to claim the dog was provoked. If the dog owner is cooperative, get the name of their homeowners’ or renters’ insurance company.

If the dog owner has home-owner’s insurance, or in the case of a business — a business liability policy, dog bites are generally covered by the insurance policy to pay a settlement you receive  or a verdict resulting from a lawsuit.

If you do not know who owns the dog or it is a stray, you should try to contain it, such as in a fenced area, if you can do so safely.

Contacting animal control is a good idea regardless of who owns the dog. Animal control will test the dog for rabies and may issue a citation.

Finally, you should contact an experienced Georgia dog bite lawyer. Georgia law makes dog owners responsible in certain situations when their dogs bite or attack. Certain city ordinances may also be important to review and interpret.  For example, most metropolitan Atlanta cities and counties have dog bite ordinances which may be important to proving whether the dog owner may be liable for the injury as a result of a violation of a local leash law.  A lawyer experienced in Georgia dog bite laws will know how to find and review the local animal control laws and how investigate the case, how to discover whether the dog owner was negligent, and the value of your claim.

Georgia Dog Bite Laws and Legal Resource: How does the law hold a dog owner responsible for a dog bite incident in Georgia?

Georgia Dog Bite Laws and Legal Resource:  How does Georgia law hold a dog owner responsible for a dog bite or attack?  Fortunately, Georgia has some dog bite law that is very favorable to victims.   In Georgia, you may be able to hold a dog owner liable if you can show that the owner was aware that the dog was dangerous; that is, that the owner knew or should have known the animal was aggressive or a bite-risk, and that the owner was careless in handling the dog or allowing it to be around other people.  People often refer to this as the “one free bite” rule, which is a bit misleading, because proving a prior actual bite is not always necessary.  The standard is whether the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog had a tendency to cause the injury in question.

Another way of proving a dog bite case against the owner is to show that there were leash laws or local ordinances dealing with at-large animals, and that the dog owner violated these laws. If you are bitten by the dog while the dog is unleashed or running free, you may be able to take action against the dog’s owner by showing that the owner wrongfully or carelessly failed to obey requirements to secure the animal.

For more information, view our legal video, GA Dog Laws – Proving Liability.

Georgia Dog Bite Laws: What damages can I recover after being bitten by an aggressive dog?

Georgia Dog Bite Laws – your questions answered:  What damages can be recovered if you are bitten by an aggressive dog?  In Georgia, a dog bite victim may be compensated for both financial losses and for pain and suffering. In some cases, a plaintiff may also be awarded punitive damages as a means of punishing a defendant who acted with total and willful disregard for others’ safety.

The three types of damages that can potentially be recovered in dog bite cases in Georgia are referred to as special, general and punitive damages.

  • Special damages cover actual financial losses due to medical expenses, property damage (such as clothing or jewelry), lost income and, in the case of a death, funeral and burial expenses. It is important to calculate past and future medical expenses, such as for impending reconstructive surgery, as well as future income loss because of diminished earning power for a dog bite victim who has been disfigured or disabled.
  • General damages are compensation for non-financial or non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress and, in a fatal dog attack, loss of companionship. The amount of general damages obtained through a dog bite lawsuit would be decided by a jury, or through negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company. Often they are calculated as a multiple of total special damages awarded.
  • Punitive damages are intended to punish a dog’s owner if the owner was especially reckless or negligent in his or her conduct leading to the bite incident. They also serve as a warning to others who would act as recklessly. Punitive damages are generally capped at $250,000 in Georgia.

As your dog bite claim representative, a Millar Law Firm dog bite lawyer will gather the evidence to show how badly you were harmed by your injuries and seek the full amount of special and general damages that your case supports.  Punitive damages, if available, can be negotiated into the settlement in some cases, or awarded by a Jury to punish or deter the at fault party.

Georgia Dog Bite Laws and Pit Bulls FAQ: Can a dog owner be punished for letting a pit bull wander in the yard unleashed around children?

Georgia Dog Bite Laws and Pit Bulls FAQ:  In some lawsuits, a jury may award punitive damages (compensation) to punish a defendant for acting with willful or wanton recklessness. A dog owner who allows any dog that has been declared vicious to wander unleashed or un-supervised could potentially be considered wantonly reckless.  Although pit bulls are known to be notoriously dangerous breeds, the fact that a dog is a pitbull does not automatically mean the owner is negligent or reckless in allowing it to be around children.  The question is, rather, whether the dog — any dog — has shown a tendency to bite or attack in the past.

Punitive damages are specifically designed to punish the defendant financially and are appropriate in situations where the dog’s owner was not merely negligent but where there was “willful misconduct, wantonness and entire want of care.”

In other words, if someone is really careless or purposefully does something wrong, punitive damages make him pay. Although the punitive damages are a punishment, the money goes to the injured victim who has taken legal action, unlike criminal fines, which go to the government.

An example might be a daycare supervisor who has a pit bull or other dog that has bitten people before and who lets the pit bull wander free in the yard where children are playing.

The state of Georgia has imposed a cap on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded at $250,000 in most cases not involving an intentional tort or alcohol/drug-related driving incident.

A dog owner could also potentially face criminal punishment for gross negligence that led to a dog bite.

The Millar Law Firm’s investigation of your dog bite case would indicate whether the dog owner’s behavior was such that punitive damages are appropriate. If they are, we will pursue them aggressively.

Georgia Dog Bite Legal Questions Answered: My neighbor is claiming my child provoked her dog to bite. Can I still take legal action?

Georgia Dog Bite Legal Questions Answered:   What is the law in Georgia if a person (or a child) provokes a dog to bite? Failure to keep a dog secure can be considered negligence on the part of the owner, but if a victim was partially responsible for provoking the dog this factor could reduce, or even eliminate, the amount of compensation paid for a claim, or whether there is a claim at all.  O.C.G.A. 51-2-7

In any dog bite claim or case, it is often necessary to first determine whether the dog owner was negligent. When a chain or leash breaks, this can be considered careless handling of a dog. If the dog’s owner knew the animal was vicious or if there are ordinances prohibiting the dog from running free, the dog’s owner may be liable for an attack, even if the animal broke a chain or leash to get to the victim or escaped from the owner’s yard.

One defense that dog owners frequently raise is provocation.  Under Georgia’s Dog Bite Statute, O.C.G.A. 51-2-7, if the victim is determined to have provoked the bite or attack, a dog owner may have a complete defense.  Therefore, it is important to determine exactly what happened.  This is where eyewitness testimony and prompt investigation can make the difference between winning and losing a case.  Keep in mind that many dog owners also falsely claim that the bite was provoked.  Therefore, careful and thorough investigation of any dog attack is advised.

 

Your Atlanta, Georgia Legal Questions Answered: Can a workers’ compensation insurance carrier take some of the money I receive for dog bite injuries suffered on the job?

Your Atlanta, Georgia Legal Questions Answered:  Can a workers compensation carrier or other insurance company take part of my settlement?  Maybe – if your rights are not properly protected. If you are bitten by a dog while doing your job, such as many postal workers and other deliverymen are, you may be able to obtain workers’ compensation for your injuries. If you go on to receive a settlement or verdict from the dog owner’s insurer, the workers’ comp insurer would have a right to ask for its money back. But, in our opinion, this should not dissuade you from pursuing a claim.

Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to cover medical bills and pay stipends to make up for a portion of lost wages when a worker is injured while performing the duties of their job. Compensation received in a dog bite personal injury claim are intended to cover not only medical bills and lost income or pay, but also property damage, such as torn clothing, and the victim’s pain and suffering.

Under Georgia law, a workers’ compensation insurance company  is only entitled to recover the medical bills it covered and lost wage benefits it paid you if the insurance carrier is able to prove that the victim was “made whole” for the entirety of all of the losses the victim suffered.  An experienced personal injury should be familiar with the laws and rules governing such reimbursements, and can advise you whether a workers compensation insurance company is entitled to be reimbursed, and in what (if any) amount.

Because a workers compensation insurer is unlikely to voluntarily honor the “made whole” rule (that is, they will ask you to repay them in full, even if you were not fully compensated), we encourage all of our clients and anyone who has been hurt on the job to speak  with our Atlanta Dog Bite Attorneys or another Georgia personal injury law firm before allowing the insurer to claim part of your settlement.  Don’t make a potentially expensive mistake because you were afraid to, or did not want to, talk to an attorney.

How to Hire A Lawyer in Georgia, FAQ: How much does The Millar Law Firm charge up-front for my dog bite case?

How to hire a lawyer in Georgia for a dog bite case?  At The Millar Law Firm, our attorneys handle many Georgia dog bite cases and understand your concern about paying legal fees on top of the medical bills you are dealing with after a serious dog bite injury.  If we are able to accept your case, we do not charge an up-front fee.  Any fee you pay us will be a percentage of the compensation we obtain for you through a negotiated settlement of your injury case or verdict from a Court or Jury.  You won’t pay anything if we don’t recover money for you.

We believe that representation on a contingency-fee basis is a win-win for our clients.  You do not pay legal fees unless we win the case and collect money for you. If we don’t win the case, you have had a full investigation of your claim without cost to you.

When you win, our legal fee will be an agreed-upon portion of the compensation paid to you. In most cases our fees are 33.33% of the amount recovered if no lawsuit is filed, and 40% after a lawsuit has been filed.

Our goal is to help our clients, not simply to “make money” from you.  We screen and evaluate all cases carefully.  If we honestly think that you will be better served without an attorney, we will let you know immediately.  Not all cases need an lawyer.  Those that do usually find that after the legal fees and cases expenses are paid, they come out much further ahead than had they tried to represent themselves.

The Millar Law Firm’s attorneys have obtained more than $100 million in past verdicts and settlements.  This includes successfully representing adults and children in dog bite cases.

To learn more about how we help children who have been hurt in dog attacks, watch our video, A Dog Bite Case We’re Proud Of.

To learn more about the legal services we provide, watch our video, Dog Bite Attorneys in Georgia. You can also contact us today online or via phone to schedule a free consultation.

Georgia Legal Resources and FAQ: What is a wrongful death claim?

Georgia Legal Resources and FAQ:  A “wrongful death” is a fatality that is caused by the wrongful or negligent acts of another, including intentional acts. Georgia wrongful death statutes determine who can bring a wrongful claim.  O.C.G.A. 51-4-1 and related code sections.

 

Georgia Probate and Wrongful Death Answers: Why and when does the probate court and deceased’s estate become involved in a Georgia wrongful death claim?

Georgia Probate and Wrongful Death Answers: In many wrongful death cases there are multiple claims for damages. In most instances, the surviving children or spouse will bring a wrongful death action.  O.C.G.A. 51-4-2.  Simultaneously, the deceased’s estate, through a personal representative, can and will usually bring the estate’s claims for pain and suffering, medical and final expenses, and if necessary – for punitive damages against the at-fault person or company.  In Georgia, an estate can seek separate damages than those sought in the wrongful death action, including hospital and medical expenses, funeral costs, and for the deceased’s pre-death pain and suffering.  If there is no person entitled to bring a wrongful death case, an administrator or executor of the estate, under O.C.G.A. 51-4-5, may sometimes be permitted to bring a case and hold any recovery for the next of kin.

In Georgia, the estate’s claims may be brought and litigated or settled after the probate court appoints a temporary or permanent administrator of estate.  This process is handled through the filing of a petition in the county where the deceased last lived, requesting that the Probate Court appoint a “personal representative.”  This usually means an executor or co-executor when there is a will, and an administrator if there is no will.  Any money that is later recovered for the estate’s claims, may pass through the estate and distributed to the proper heirs by the personal representative.

Our lawyers will help you and your family have the proper administrator or executor appointed at no additional charge in your wrongful death case.

Georgia Wrongful Death Cases: Can parents bring a claim for wrongful death if their child is killed due to someone’s negligence?

Georgia law allows parents to bring a claim for wrongful death if a deceased child is unmarried and has no children of his or her own.  O.C.G.A. 19-7-1. Under these circumstances, parents, married or divorced, may pursue the claim jointly or separately, but will both share in the recovery.  If you have questions about a wrongful death claim, contact our Atlanta, Georgia Wrongful Death Attorneys.  We answer all questions for free, immediately over the phone.  Call 770-400-0000 to have your questions answered by a friendly lawyer.

Don’t want to call?  Contact us online.

Wrongful Death in Georgia FAQ: If my husband or wife is killed in an accident, what role will my adult children play?

Wrongful Death in Georgia FAQ: As the surviving spouse, you are first in line to seek recovery through a wrongful death claim. Each child has a right to share equally with you in the recovery that results from the wrongful death claim, whether through a judgment or settlement. As the surviving spouse, however, you will never get less than a third of your net recovery.  See, OCGA 51-4-1, et seq. and particularly O.C.G.A. 51-4-2.

Georgia Legal Resource FAQ: How much are Georgia wrongful death cases worth and how are the damages calculated?

Georgia Legal Resources and FAQ: Determining the amount of damages in a wrongful death case is different in every individual case  In Georgia, how much a wrongful death case is worth is generally said to be based on the full value of a person’s life.  O.C.G.A. 51-4-2 and 19-7-1(c)(1).  The full value of a life is based upon both the loss of the value of the life – viewed from the perspective of the deceased – and the economic damages which are typically calculated based upon the expected earnings that the decedent would have made if he or she had lived.  Economic damages are often calculated using income tax-returns and using experts such as economists and doctors to estimate how much a person’s future earnings would be and how long he or she was expected to live, based on their current age and state of health before they were wrongfully killed.  Non-economic damages are awarded based upon a jury’s “enlightened conscience” after hearing evidence about how the deceased lived and what he or she had to look forward to in their future.

In some, but not all cases, a high net-worth person, such as a professional athlete, entertainer, or doctor may be said to have a large future economic value.  But, a skillful lawyer will present evidence to Jurors that each person is different and special, and that the loss of enjoyment and future life has a huge value to all of us.

An estate also has claims for funeral and medical expenses, pre-death pain and suffering, and punitive damages if the deceased was not killed immediately (when this happens, this is known as a “survival claim”) and there is evidence that the at-fault party acted intentionally or willfully.  O.C.G.A. 51-4-5(b) and O.C.G.A. 9-2-41.

Because it is virtually impossible to entirely answer and explain the value of a Georgia wrongful death case in these pages, we invite anyone with questions to call our office for a free telephone call with one of our friendly and caring attorneys.  Even if you are not certain if you have a case, feel free to call us and have your questions answered by a Millar Law Firm lawyer today.  We will answer your questions as fully and honestly as we can, and will not pressure you to ‘sign now.’

Georgia Wrongful Death On The Job FAQ: If my family member was killed while on-the-job, can we pursue a wrongful death action?

Georgia Wrongful Death On The Job FAQ:  We wish there were always an easy answer to this question.  Each case must be carefully investigated.  Sometimes on-the-job death benefits are limited to what is available under the Georgia Workers Compensation Act (WCA).  Financial recovery under the WCA can be disappointingly small.   This is why we recommend that each and every at-work death or serious injury claim be evaluated for a legal determination as to whether there may be a claim or lawsuit against a third-party that may owe additional compensation for what happened.

In Georgia, if a third party causes the wrongful death, a separate claim may exist.  We often see this situation where a truck driver or warehouse worker is hurt or killed by an employee of another company or a stranger on the road or highway.  Often, the only way to know for sure is to investigate.  One common scenario that we see happens when a worker is hit by heavy equipment, such as a bobcat or forklift at a large factory, storage facility or construction site.  An investigation should be performed to determine whether the deceased was hit and killed by a person working for a different employer, or whether the accident happened because an outside company sold a defective product to the employer or failed to properly maintain the equipment.

If a family member is killed while on-the-job, call our Atlanta Georgia wrongful death lawyers to discuss the specific circumstances of the wrongful death.  We will answer your questions and investigate at no charge.  We only charge legal fees on cases when we are able to recover money for you and your family.

My grandmother slipped on a wet or soapy floor at a nursing home. Another nursing home resident told her she had a “slip and fall” case and should file a lawsuit. What does that mean?

Nursing home slip and falls usually are caused by a foreign substance on a floor, in an aisle or on a stairway, walkway, driveway or sidewalk. Slippery substances include water, soap, oil, snow, ice, food or beverage. Other causes include tools being left on the ground, loose tiles or floor planks, open carpet seams and unexpected rises or dips on a paved surface. These incidents commonly occur at houses, apartment complexes, buildings, offices, nursing homes, hospitals, restaurants, bars, taverns, hotels, motels, grocery stores, super markets, shopping malls, outlet malls, retail stores, stadiums, concert venues, convention centers and parking garages. They often involve violations of local housing and building codes and are the result of the property owner or operator’s negligence.

If you or a family member has been injured from a slip, trip or any type of fall, call our Georgia nursing home slip and fall lawyers today at The Millar Law Firm at 770-400-0000 or contact us online and find out what your case is worth and for a free case evaluation.

Atlanta Slip and Fall Law: My son slipped on a wet hallway at a restaurant last week. I’m not sure he handled the situation right. What should he have done?

Atlanta, Georgia Slip and Fall Legal Help: As with any accident, you should follow some basic steps. First, if you are seriously injured, seek emergency medical treatment for treatment of cuts, bruises, sprains, strains, broken bones or fractures. Because organ, head, brain and certain soft tissue injuries, including ligament damages, take time to develop, you should also make a medical visit a few days later. At the scene, you can file a complaint with a manager and collect the names, phone numbers and addresses of any employees or other witnesses. Because the evidence can be removed or altered at the scene of a slip and fall very quickly, taking photos of the scene with a camera or cell phone might prove crucial to your claim. After an injury on the premises of a retail store or restaurant, iyou could be called by an adjuster or claims person from the insurance company.  We advise that you you should not give a statement to any insurance company until you have gotten some legal advice from a Georgia attorney.

To speak with an experienced and friendly lawyer at The Millar Law Firm, Atlanta slip and fall attorneys, call 770-400-0000 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.

Georgia Law of Trip and Fall – Premises Liability: My elderly father tripped over a metal rake that had been left in a golf course fairway and broke his hip. Can he hold the golf course owner responsible for his injury?

Georgia Law of Trip and Fall and Premises Liability: In the state of Georgia, the owner or occupier of property is charged with exercising (has a duty to exercise) “ordinary care” to keep their premises safe from hazards. The party’s superior knowledge of hazards you might encounter serves as the basis for liability. So, to prevail in a trip or slip and fall claim, you need to show that the owner or occupier (1) had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard that caused your slip, trip and fall and (2) that knowledge was greater than any knowledge you might have had (or reasonably could have had) of the hazard. Here, for instance, a golf course owner likely would have greater knowledge that a rake had been left on the course than a player would.  You must also prove that your father (or any other trip and fall victim) was exercising ordinary care for his own safety – if he should ordinarily have seen the rake and not stepped on it, he may well lose this case.  See O.C.G.A. 51-3-1 for more information.

Most Georgia trip and fall and/or slip and fall cases involve unique facts and should be carefully investigated.  Insurance companies rarely settle these claims without first contesting them.  We recommend that you consult with an experienced and aggressive slip and fall attorney (at The Millar Law Firm we have handled several hundred of these cases) or you run the risk of getting a run-around or low-ball settlement offer from the insurance adjuster, who may well try to blame the victim for his own injury.

Call or email us today.  All consultations are free.

My daughter suffered a fall when she walked across an icy patch of walkway leading to her hair salon shop. The Store owner said she should have seen the ice. Is the shop owner right?

Georgia Law of Slip and Fall Explained: It’s been said that slip and fall claims are hard to win under Georgia law. Property owners defend against claims by contending that, despite their negligence, the slip and fall victim could have avoided or prevented their injury by exercising “ordinary care” to avoid the hazard that caused the incident. However, the law is clear that “ordinary care” does not mean “extreme care.” A person should not be barred from recovery simply because they did not constantly keep scanning the ground, looking for any possible hazard. Also, the law imposes a duty on property owners to make sure they continue to make reasonable inspections of their premises to discover possible dangerous existing conditions and take action and precautions to protect their guests, or invitees, from these conditions.  A shop owner may, therefore defend, him or herself if the customer should have seen and avoided the hazard, such as ice.  On the other hand, if the condition was unexpected (like a water leak that froze) and the owner failed to exercise ordinary care to keep the area clear of hidden hazards, like frozen water on a cold clear morning, the customer may win.  O.C.G.A. 51-3-1 (Georgia law containing the duty of merchant or owner or occupier to keep premises safe for business invitees).

A premises liability cases can be tricky to win. Insurance companies sometimes (often) fight hard to dispute these cases. Let our skilled premises liability slip and fall attorneys at The Millar Law Firm in Atlanta, Georgia work hard to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Our slip and fall lawyers represent clients throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area and the state of Georgia, call or contact us online and find out how much your case is worth.

My wife slipped in the grocery store aisle where there was a clear liquid on the floor, and she broke her ankle. She’s going to need surgery and will be out of work for two weeks. If we file a slip-and-fall claim against the grocery store, what can we recover?

Here are your Georgia legal rights in this injury case situation: If you or a family member slipped in a grocery store and liability is established in your case, you may be eligible to recover at least three different kinds of or categories of damages: special, general and punitive damages. Special damages cover mainly economic losses, such as past and future medical expenses, lost past and future wages. General damages are non-financial (or economic) harms, like physical trauma and pain, mental suffering, scars or permanent injuries, or harm to or complete loss of a marital relationship. Punitive damages can also (sometimes, but rarely) be awarded in slip and fall cases, especially where it’s proven that the business or property owner had known of a dangerous condition and allowed it to continue to exist.  Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant for especially reckless conduct and to deter the defendant and others from doing the same thing in the future.

A slip and fall case presents many challenges. Insurance companies are reluctant to settle claims for a fair amount and will vigorously contest them. However, the skilled, experienced and aggressive slip and fall attorneys at The Atlanta Georgia Millar Law Firm will work hard to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Georgia Personal Injury Legal Rights: I work as a carpenter at a construction site. I fell over some equipment and my company’s workers’ comp carrier says they’ll want to be paid back if I file a lawsuit. Can they do that?

Know your Georgia personal injury rights: If you were injured while working, and your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier has provided medical and lost income benefits, then the carrier would have a limited right to seek reimbursement from any verdict or settlement recovered in your case. This is often referred to as a “workers’ compensation lien.” A health insurer can also seek reimbursement from a slip and fall victim, car accident, or other personal injury case recovery. What’s important to know is that these parties may not be able to tap into any non-economic, non-medical portions of your recovery, including those covering pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of services and the loss of care, comfort and companionship of a loved one.

Insurance reimbursement or subrogation are important reasons to consult with the experienced slip and fall attorneys at The Millar Law Firm before you speak with an insurance company representative or try to settle any personal injury claim on your own. You don’t want to reach a settlement that will not provide funds that can protect you in the future.

You may also want to check out Georgia’s Bill of Rights for employees injured on the job:  O.C.G.A. 34-9-81.1 and at this great Atlanta, Georgia legal resource here.

Our slip and fall lawyers represent clients throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area and the state of Georgia. Contact us today for a free telephone consult.

Georgia Legal Help: I slipped and broke my leg because of a raised sidewalk at my apartment complex. I want to sue the landlord, but I’m not sure I’ll have enough money. How much does your law firm charge?

At The Millar Law Firm we handle slip and trip and fall cases and your case evaluation is free.  We charge no fees or for our legal services unless we are able to make a financial recovery for you by either a jury award or verdict or negotiated settlement.  This type of arrangement is  known as a contingency fee.  We are proud to say that, with our unique combination of skill, experience and dedication, we have established a strong record of successful results for our clients, including $100 million in favorable verdicts and settlements since our firm was established.

We represent slip, trip and fall victims throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area and the state of Georgia.  Call us today 770-400-0000 contact us online for a free case evaluation.  Your call will be answered by an Atlanta personal injury lawyer who will answer your questions and evaluate your case immediately, on the phone, and at no charge to you.

Georgia Legal Advice: What if I just try to handle my personal injury case on my own?

If you are injured in a Georgia accident, why not just handle your claim or case with an Insurance Adjuster or Company by yourself or without an attorney?  In most cases, having legal assistance from a Law Firm that specializes in personal injury will be crucial when it comes to protecting your rights and interests and maximizing your case settlement value. This is why it is not advisable to handle a case on your own.

If your accident resulted in serious property damage and severe physical injury or death, a lawyer’s help will be vitally important.

A personal injury lawyer can provide many important services, including:

  • Making sure the Insurance Company does not low-ball your settlement.
  • Conducting a thorough and comprehensive investigation.
  • Consulting with experts to determine the cause of your crash.
  • Reviewing medical records and work records to determine your past losses.
  • Consulting with experts to determine the full amount of your future losses.
  • Helping you to get medical treatment while your case is pending.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf.
  • Making sure all documents are timely filed.
  • Presenting your case for relief to a judge and jury.
  • Resolving all liens that may be attached to your recovery.

The reality is that you should be focused on your health and your recovery after you have been injured. While you do that, your attorney can handle the rest for you in an ethical and professional manner.

To learn more, please see our page on 10 Reasons to Contact The Atlanta Georgia Personal Injury Experts at The Millar Law Firm.

Georgia Personal Injury Legal Guide: How long do I have to take legal action in my case?

What is the Georgia limitation time period for your accident claim?  Generally speaking, you will have two years from the date of an accident or injury to either settle or file a lawsuit in your personal injury case.   O.C.G.A. 9-3-33. However, we recommend that you take action well before you reach the end of that two-year period.

This two-year period is called the Georgia statute of limitations for personal injury. In some situations, such as those involving minors or where the injury could not have been immediately discovered, or if criminal charges or the traffic ticket are still pending, the period may extend beyond two years from the actual date of the injury. In other cases, such as those involving a government entity, you may need to take action much sooner.

You should contact a lawyer as soon as you are ready and allow the lawyer to get to work on your case.  This is because your lawyer will need to investigate your case, conduct discovery, assess your losses and engage with insurance companies on your behalf. If you wait until shortly before the Statute is going to expire, it may be difficult to get an attorney interested in your case.  For an example of what can go into the process, please see our page on Proving Your Car Accident Case.

You don’t want to wait too long and risk losing your right to seek fair settlement or full recovery in your case. Feel free to contact our Atlanta personal injury lawyers at The Millar Law Firm for a free telephone consultation.  We will explain the statute of limitations and any other legal rights you have for your Georgia injury or accident case today, at no charge or obligation.

Georgia Legal Rights after an Accident or Injury: What happens if I sign a release?

Know your Legal Rights after an accident or injury in Georgia.  Once you sign a release, you lose your right to take any further legal action against that party. This is why you should never accept a settlement offer or sign a release until you have first met with an attorney.

The Millar Law Firm’s personal injury and accident attorneys can review any settlement offer and determine whether it fully and fairly compensates you for your losses.

If the settlement offer does not provide just compensation, your attorney can either negotiate with the insurance company or take your case to court.

Please see our page on Insurance Settlements to learn more about this topic.

The bottom line: If you sign a release without an attorney’s advice and representation, you face the very real risk of losing your right to a full and proper recovery.

Atlanta Car Accident Case Guide: If I meet with a lawyer, what should I bring?

We are often asked if you are going to meet with a car accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer, what you should I bring to my free initial consultation with an attorney?  This will depend on your case.

For example, if you have been hurt in a car accident, you should bring:

  • A copy of the police accident report.
  • Photos from the accident scene and of your injuries.
  • The at-fault driver’s insurance company and policy number, and their full name, address and phone information.
  • Names and contact information of witnesses.
  • Your medical records, bills and receipts.
  • Records showing time missed from work.
  • A journal you have kept, describing how your injuries have impacted you.
  • Your auto insurance policy.

If you have been involved in a slip (or trip)-and-fall incident or accident, a dog attack or dog bite or any other injury case, an attorney may request that you bring other items to your consultation. For example, an incident report, or animal control report, or clothes you were wearing on the day of the animal attack could be brought to the meeting.

Of course, if you do not have some or all of these items, don’t let it stop you from seeking legal help. An attorney can help you to track these items down.

Contact The Atlanta Personal Injury and Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers of The Millar Law Firm today. We can discuss what you should bring to your free and confidential consultation and explain more about how we can help you.

Georgia Legal FAQ: How long will my personal injury case take?

How long will my Georgia car, truck, motorcycle or other personal injury case take? Many factors go into determining how long it will take to resolve a personal injury or car accident claim or lawsuit, including the complexity of the case and the other side’s willingness to agree to a full and fair settlement.

The first step in any case will be to conduct a complete investigation. If the case involves multiple parties or out-of-state parties, it can make the investigation more complex and possibly add time to the investigation.

Additionally, the other side may make discovery difficult by refusing to turn over documents or other evidence that has been requested. In fact, this is common in truck accident cases when logbooks, truck maintenance and employment records are sought from trucking companies.

A case will enter settlement negotiations. If liability and the amount of damages that should be recovered are clear, a settlement may be reached in a short amount of time. However, in some cases, the other side’s refusal to reach a reasonable agreement can lead to extended negotiations.

In some cases, no settlement may be reached. A trial may be required. The length of the trial will depend on the number of issues that are contested, the amount of evidence presented by each side and the time it takes a jury to make a decision. (Read our page on Jury Trials to learn more.)

Finally, if a case goes to trial, there is always the possibility that either side may file an appeal, which would add additional time.

At The Millar Law Firm, Atlanta Personal Injury and Car Accident Lawyers, we cannot provide a definitive answer to how long it will take to resolve your specific case. However, we can promise to move as efficiently as possible. We know time is important to you. We will do everything we can to help you move on as quickly as possible. Contact us today to learn more.

Georgia Legal Help: If I File A Personal Injury Claim or Case, Will I need to go to court?

Not all Georgia personal injury cases end up in court. In fact, many are resolved through negotiated settlements.

However, at our Atlanta Georgia personal injury and car accident law firm we prepare each case as if it is going to court. We do this so that the insurance company will know that we have prepared a thorough and compelling case for our client’s relief. This gives us leverage in negotiations and helps us to obtain the settlement that we believe our client is due.

However, if an insurance company refuses to agree to a full and fair settlement, you can expect your case to go into court. Even after a trial begins, however, a settlement can still be reached. In many cases, a settlement is reached after the jury returns a verdict.

At The Millar Law Firm our goal is to make sure you obtain a maximum recovery in your case – whether it occurs through a settlement or a verdict. Along the way, we will always pay close attention to your objectives and answer all of your questions.

To learn more about our approaching to serving our clients, please review Our Testimonials section.

Georgia Legal Guide: How much will I need to pay a lawyer?

How much will I need to pay a lawyer for a Georgia Car Accident or Other personal injury case?  The answer to this question depends on which law firm you hire to represent you. At The Millar Law Firm for instance, you will pay nothing unless we secure compensation for you.

It starts with our free initial consultation about your case. Then, if we decide to work together, we will do so through a contingency fee agreement. You will pay no upfront costs, and you will pay nothing for our legal services unless we secure compensation for you.

If you recover nothing, you pay nothing. If you recover compensation, you will pay our agreed-upon attorney fees and the costs of pursuing your case.

To learn more about our services and fees, please contact The Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers at the Millar Law Firm today.

I am a member of the Class of 2015 at my high school. Am I eligible?

Yes, seniors in the Class of 2015 at high schools in Georgia are eligible to compete for the scholarships as well as rising college freshmen in four-year colleges and universities in Georgia.

I plan to go to a two-year community college – am I eligible?

The scholarships are only available for four-year colleges and universities.

Are international students eligible?

Entrants must be residents of Georgia. Unfortunately international students are not eligible.

Is there an entry fee for the scholarship contest?

No, there is no fee to enter the contest.

Will all the public service announcement videos be uploaded?

Yes, we will upload each video to YouTube. Visitors can login on the atlantaadvocate.com/scholarship page and vote for their favorite videos. The creator of the video that receives the most likes will receive the $500 Honorable Mention Scholarship.

Why do I need to include a digital photo of myself?

We would like to include photos of the students who create the winning public service announcement videos in publicity about the scholarship contest.

How do I submit my scholarship contest entry?

Applicants should email a completed application, photo and 30-second video to scholarship@atlantaadvocate.com.

Who selects the winners?

A scholarship committee will select the First Place and Second Place scholarship winners based on the creativity and clarity of the video public service announcement.

Georgia Accident Legal Guide: What can I do at the crash scene if I am in an auto accident?

If possible, you or a passenger can collect information right at the accident scene that will be helpful to your Atlanta, Georgia car and truck accident lawyers at a later time.

For instance, you should collect the other driver’s name, address and phone number as well as the driver’s license plate number, insurance company name and policy number.

We recommend that you also obtain the contact information and addresses and full names of any witnesses who saw the crash or stopped to help.

Take pictures.  Preserve the scene by using your cell phone’s camera or video features and, photograph the damage to all cars and  take photos of the entire roadway or intersection, the accident scene, debris on the road, skids, and injuries to you and others.  Take photographs or video of all sides of the involved cars and trucks, and take pictures of the interior.  You would be surprised how often we find evidence of alcohol or drugs or electronic distracted driving in the cabin of a car or truck.

To learn more, please see our page on Key Evidence from the Car Accident Scene.

Georgia Car, Truck and Motorcycle Accident Guide: When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, is it OK for me to talk to them?

Yes. You should fully cooperate with any law enforcement officers called to the scene. The information you provide will help the officer to prepare an accident report.

This report will play a major role in your case. In particular, it will contain the officer’s assessment of “contributing factors” in the crash and the officer’s determination of who is to blame for the accident. While certain aspects of the report can be corrected and challenged, the report will nonetheless serve as a building block as a foundation in your case.

You can request a copy of the report from the police station or by going to BuyCrash.com, the online service used by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Georgia Car Accident Injury Guide: If I don’t feel hurt after a crash, should I still go to the hospital?

Yes. If you are in any pain, even if you have not been seriously injured, you should still go to the emergency room. You should also receive follow-up medical treatment within a few days after the accident.

Even though you may have no cuts, scrapes, bruises or broken bones, you may have internal organ, head, brain or soft tissue injuries that are not immediately apparent. These injuries must be examined and treated.

Medical records will play an important role in your case as well. In particular, they will help to establish the injuries you have suffered and the extent of your losses.

To prevent your medical records from being lost or destroyed, The Millar Law Firm will help you to obtain your medical records as soon as we take on your case. We will also pay upfront for all costs of obtaining these records.

Please see our page on Using Medical Records in Your Car Accident Case to learn more about this subject.

Ga. Car Accident Legal Resource: My car was totaled, but no one was injured. What must I do now?

After a wreck, we recommend that you immediately contact the insurance carrier of the driver who was at-fault.  However, you want to be protected in case that insurer does not pay your property damage claim for some reason. So, contact your own insurance company as well.

If you go through the other driver’s insurance company for a rental car, it may take a while for a decision to be made on repairing or replacing your car. The insurer will examine police reports and may interview witnesses before it accepts liability.

Also, the insurer will need to decide whether it will pay you the fair market value of your car or pay for it to be repaired. The insurer for the driver who was at-fault  in the car accident should provide you with a rental car or reimburse you for a rental car while a decision is being made to repair or replace your own vehicle.  If you have rental-car insurance coverage on your own policy for an accident, you may have the option of going through your own insurance company for your rental car.

If you go through your own insurance company, you would be turning to your own collision insurance coverage. You may need to pay a deductible for the repair or replacement of your car. Also, you could end up paying for rental expenses if you do not have car rental coverage or have only a limited number of rental days available.

To learn more about property damage issues, please see The Millar Law Firm’s free, downloadable guide.

Georgia Diminished Value Claims: Can I file a claim if I can drive my car after a crash, but its value has dropped?

Yes. Under Georgia diminished value law, you can pursue what is called a “diminished value claim.” While you may not always need an attorney for this type of claim, it is advisable to consult with a lawyer, especially one offering free consultations, to see if you need to  hire an attorney to help you with the matter.

Calculating the diminished value of your car should be a simple, straightforward matter. For instance, if your car was worth $10,000 before a crash, and now it is worth only $7,500, you should be entitled to the difference, or $2,500.

However, insurance companies may try to complicate the matter by arguing that mileage, condition of the car and other factors are driving the value of your car or truck down.

This is why an attorney can help you in both negotiations for a fair and reasonable settlement of your diminished value claim or, if needed, to represent you in court.

In some cases, an insurance company may be acting unreasonably in refusing to pay your property damage claim. It may be necessary for your attorney to file a bad faith insurance claim on your behalf.

Please see our Insurance Settlements page to learn more about how the experienced car accident attorneys at The Millar Law Firm can protect your rights while negotiating with the insurance company.  Find out more here with our free legal guide, How to Handle Your Own Claim.

Can I sue a driver who hit me if the driver was texting at the time of the crash?

If you were hit by a texting driver in Georgia, you certainly have a case and you or your family may need to consider taking legal action.

Our Atlanta, Georgia lawyers for texting and driving car accidents are very experienced in distracted driving and cell phone use cases.  We can obtain – typically through a subpoena – a copy of the at-fault (distracted) driver’s cell/mobile phone bill and records. These records can show whether the driver was texting just before or at the moment of impact, and thus, whether he or she was distracted.

A legal claim for compensation from the driver (or the driver’s insurance company) would demonstrate how the driver’s distraction caused the crash. For instance, if the driver had not been reading a text message, the driver would not have rear-ended your vehicle at an intersection.

Please see our pages on Georgia Distracted Driving cases and Texting while Driving cases, claims and lawsuits to learn more about your legal rights and how to hire a Georgia lawyer for these types of accidents.

Do I have a case if the driver caused the accident and I am a passenger?

Yes. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of someone else – the driver of another car or even the driver of the car you were in – you may still have the ability to recover compensation for your harms, injuries and  losses.

If the driver of the car you were in caused the crash, you should not hesitate to seek compensation – even if that driver is a friend. You won’t be seeking to recover from that driver’s personal assets but rather through his or her insurance policy. The driver has been paying insurance premiums for this exact reason.

To learn more, please see our section on Car Accidents.

Is there any chance that I might be unable to recover anything if I contributed to the crash?

Yes. If a motor vehicle accident victim’s own negligence contributed to his or her injuries, it may impact the amount of money recovered in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

The State of Georgia uses a modified form of comparative fault.  O.C.G.A. 51-12-33. Under this law, if an automobile accident victim was responsible to some degree for his or her injury, a court will determine the percentage of the person’s fault and reduce their recovery proportionally.

If it is somehow determined that a person’s fault exceeds that of the other driver, or the person could have avoided the consequences caused by the other driver’s negligence, recovery may be barred.

Unfortunately, an insurance company may try to shift blame for an accident to you.

Your need to be protected in this situation is one of the many reasons why you should contact The Millar Law Firm for assistance in your case.

Will my car insurance increase if I wasn’t the person at fault for my car accident?

Georgia law, O.C.G.A. 33-9-40, states that a motor vehicle insurance company may not increase your rates or cancel your policy if you are not at-fault for an accident or collision.

What can I recover from the other driver in a car accident?

When another driver is at fault, and this is proven, Georgia law allows you to recover or be awarded damages.  These fall into three broad categories known as (1) Special, (2) general and (3) punitive damages.

Special damages are intended to cover your financial (also known as “economic” harms and losses), which may cover past, present and — in some cases — future medical costs and bills, final expenses (as in a wrongful death case) and lost pay from the past or into the future.

General damages are usually what most people think of as being for your suffering, emotional distress, pain, disfigurement, the loss of your quality of life, and can also include and loss of consortium, which means the harm to your relationship with your spouse.   O.C.G.A. 51-12-4.

Punitive damages are a particular type of damage award that is made only when there is evidence of willful, callous, wanton or reckless conduct.  These damages are given to punish or deter a defendant and others from doing the same thing again in the future.  O.C.G.A. 51-12-5.1.

To learn more about what can be recovered, please see our page on Car Accidents.

If the other driver didn’t have insurance, what do I do now?

This is a complicated situation – and one that, unfortunately, is common in Georgia. You may need to recover through your own uninsured motorist policy.  Under-insured or un-insured motorist insurance (UM or UIM) is coverage that allows you to recover up to your UM limit in the event the driver that hit and injured you has no coverage or has coverage in an amount less than your UIM limit, and the value of your injury claim justifies such a recovery.  O.C.G.A. 33-7-11.

Typically, when another driver causes a crash, you will file a claim against both the owner of the car and the driver if that person is not owner. You can seek damages for any medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and punitive damages through the driver’s liability coverage.

However, if the driver lacks liability coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance company for uninsured driver coverage, known as UM and/or UIM insurance coverage. This kind of coverage allows you to recover damages under your own policy when the at-fault driver has no liability (bodily injury) insurance or his or her insurance fails to cover all of your harms and damages.

Although your insurance company may have been friendly with you when it accepted your premiums, it may not be so friendly when you seek to collect your claim. This is why you will want to work with a lawyer experienced in handling insurance claims.

Please see our page on Insurance Settlements to learn more about how The Millar Law Firm can assist you by dealing directly with insurance companies on your behalf.

A delivery driver hit our car. Can we sue the driver’s company?

If you are hit by an employee of a business or company, for example — a delivery driver, the at-fault driver’s employer can liable under Georgia’s law of respondeat superior, also known as vicarious liability, if the driver was the job, that is, operating in the scope of his employment.

A business or company might also be responsible for something called negligent hiring or negligent retention.  This can be the case if the business hired a driver who was not qualified or had a poor driving record before he or she was hired or previously while driving for the company.

Any time you are hit by a commercial driver or vehicle, it is important to investigate to determine if the company may have contributed to the negligence by making the driver have short or an unreasonable schedule or delivery deadlines, making the driver speed or engage in other reckless driving behavior in order to be “on time.”

Can I sue the other driver if I was hurt in an auto accident while working?

Yes. You may be able to pursue what is commonly called a “third-party liability claim.”

If you were working when the accident occurred, you should be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits that will cover your medical bills and a percentage of your lost wages. However, if a non-employee caused your crash such as another driver, you may pursue a personal injury claim against that other driver.  This is known as a third-party claim and could pay additional compensation, including general damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement and the loss of society and companionship.

You can learn more at our page on Third-Party Liability Claims.

If the driver who injured us pled guilty to DUI, do we still have time to bring a lawsuit?

In most personal injury cases, a victim has just two years from the date of an injury to file a lawsuit. However, under a recent Georgia precedent, the two-year limitation period may not begin to run until the criminal charges, including a DUI or ticket, have been finalized, up to 6 years.  O.C.G.A. 9-3-99.

This means that you may actually have more than two years to file your lawsuit., even if the at-fault driver simply received a traffic ticket.  However, you must be careful. If you do not calculate the time period correctly, you could lose your rights. You should always contact a personal injury attorney well within two years of any accident in which you have been injured.

In a DUI case, you may be able to file a lawsuit and assert punitive damages in addition to your compensatory damages. In the state of Georgia, punitive damages are awarded to punish and deter “willful misconduct, wantonness and entire want of care.”

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol clearly fits into this category. Few acts, in fact, can be more reckless. The guilty plea in this case would be especially helpful.

Generally, punitive damages in Georgia are capped at $250,000. However, because impaired driving is so especially egregious, it falls under one of the exceptions to this rule. There is no cap on punitive damages for these cases.

Please see our page on Drunk Driving Accidents to learn more about these cases.

Can I file a claim against the store that sold beer or other alcohol to the driver who caused my auto accident?

Yes. Under Georgia’s “Dram Shop Act,” you may have a claim against a person or business that served alcohol to a driver who caused an accident. O.C.G.A. 51-1-40.

In Georgia, the owners of bars, restaurants, convenience stores and other businesses can be held liable under the Dram Shop Act if you can establish:

  • The seller knowingly furnished alcoholic beverages to a person who was noticeably intoxicated or to a minor (person under age 21);
  • The seller did so while knowing the person would soon be driving; and
  • The seller’s act of furnishing the alcohol proximately caused your injuries.

Many cases involving Dram Shop Act liability are large and complex. Conducting a thorough and fast investigation is a key to success. In one case, The Millar Law Firm recovered more than $1.75 million after we discovered that a bar owner erased a video recording that would have shown the drunk driver consumed more than eight drinks in less than 90 minutes.

Please read our page on Dram Shop Act Liability to learn more.

Who pays for my medical bills if I’ve been injured in an accident?

Medical insurance or a hospital or physician will provide treatment to you after a car accident but will place a lien on any settlement or verdict you obtain. A Georgia personal injury attorney can (and should) help negotiate and resolve hospital or physician’s liens at no extra charge as part of their legal services.

Usually, a hospital’s or physician’s lien will attach to your recovery when you do not have medical insurance to pay for the thousands of dollars of medical bills you are facing.

An attorney can make sure that the hospital does not receive more than its fair share from your settlement or verdict. In fact, at The Millar Law Firm we can seek to negotiate a reduction in the amount of the lien.

Please see our Medical Bill Management page for information about other services we can provide in this area.

Why is my health insurance company asking questions about my car accident?

It is very likely that your health insurer could be investigating your claim or case because of an interest in subrogation, also known as reimbursement, from funds in your case.

Whether the insurance company has an enforceable right to reimbursement or to subrogate against money you recover may depend on several legal and contract factors, which may include but not be limited to, if the health insurance plan is written and/or controlled by Georgia law of if it is governed by federal (ERISA) laws and also the contract language in the medical health insurance plan. It may also depend on how a settlement is structured.

It is important to work with an attorney who full understands health insurance liens and subrogation. At The Millar Law Firm our goal will be to make sure that your health insurer does not claim more than its fair share of your verdict or settlement and that you are left with the amount you need and deserve to move on in your life.

What happens if a doctor says I will never fully recover from my car accident?

Unfortunately, many auto accident victims are left with permanent injuries that will require ongoing medical treatment and prevent them from working. This must be taken into account when seeking a fair and reasonable recovery in your case.

At The Millar Law Firm we review medical and work records and consult with medical experts, vocational experts, economists and others to determine the full amount of past and future medical expenses and lost wages you should seek in a personal injury claim after an auto accident.

Often, we work with life-care planers and other experts. In Georgia, Doctors, functional capacity, vocational and life-care planning experts can prepare a report that estimates the full amount of your future medical needs and costs.

To learn more, please see our page that discuses the role of Experts in Your Car Accident Case.

How soon should I get a lawyer after an auto accident?

Under Georgia law, you will have two years to either reach a settlement of your car accident injury claim or file a lawsuit. So, you don’t want to delay taking action.

This is called the statute of limitations. In some cases, the statute of limitations may be either shorter or longer than two years depending on who has been involved in the crash.  O.C.G.A. 9-3-31.

It is important to keep in mind that a lawyer will have to conduct a thorough investigation of your case, review applicable insurance policies and consult with experts to determine the full extent of your losses. The attorney in your case will need sufficient time to get this work done.  Don’t delay in hiring a personal injury lawyer.  Many reputable law firms will not accept a case if they are contacted shortly before the statute of limitation is set to expire, due to the inability to fully investigate your case before time runs out.

So, make sure to contact The Millar Law Firm as soon as you are ready to take action after an auto accident. We will work as efficiently as possible to secure a recovery for you.

How much will it cost us to hire an attorney to handle our auto accident case?

At The Millar Law Firm we do not charge for your initial case evaluation, and we do not charge for our legal services unless our firm actually recovers money for you or your family through settlement of your case or claim or by a jury’s verdict or Judgment.  This is what is commonly known as a “contingent fee” or contingency agreement.

With our unique combination of skill, experience and dedication, we are proud that we have a strong track-record of great settlement and trial results.

Our lawyers help automobile (car, truck and motorcycle) accident injury victims and families all across the Atlanta metropolitan area and everyplace in the entire state of Georgia. For a free case review or evaluation with our car accident lawyers, including how much your claim may be worth, call and speak to us today or reach us online.

The Civil Injury Case Burden of Proof – “More Likely Than Not”

The burden of proof in a civil injury trial is “preponderance of the evidence”, which is a much lower standard that the standard in a criminal trial, which is “proof beyond reasonable doubt.” In a civil injury trial the injured person need only prove that it is “more likely than not” that the Defendant (the at-fault person) was negligent or that he or she caused an injury. This means that even if Jurors are uncertain, but leaning – even slightly — in favor of the injured Plaintiff – the Plaintiff wins.

In my car, truck or motorcycle accident case – who is paying for the Defense Lawyer?

Most likely, although not in every case, the defense lawyer is being paid by a large insurance company. Automobile, truck, and motorcycle insurance policies pay for the insurance defense lawyer and the cost of defense. The Insurance Company will pay the Verdict awarded by the jury, except in very unusual circumstances.

If I have a dog bite, slip and fall, or other type of case – who is paying the Defense Lawyer?

The vast majority of these cases are defended by insurance company lawyers. Most large and small businesses and homes are covered by insurance policies that pay for dog bite claims, slip and fall claims, and negligent injury claims. In such cases, the Verdict awarded by the Jury will be paid by the insurance company.

Why didn’t my lawyer sue the Insurance Company instead of Ms. Smith?

In most Georgia cases, the injury victim is required to file suit against the person (or company) who injured them instead of the insurance company. However, because insurance is required on all cars in Georgia, an insurance company defends the person sued and pays the Jury’s verdict up to the amount of insurance coverage.

But, my sister’s ex-cousin sued the Insurance Company, so I know you can do that!

Sorry. Most likely that did not happen. Many of our clients have a story of a “friend of a friend” or a relative who sued an insurance company directly, but this is highly unlikely in a Civil Injury case. Although there are exceptions, Georgia law requires almost all of these cases to be brought against the at-fault person individually – but this still means that the case will usually be defended and paid by the insurance company.

Doesn’t this mean that I have to sue that nice old lady (teenager, nurse, fireman, etc.)?

Unfortunately, yes. If you were injured by a nice (and sympathetic) person who was negligent, and a lawsuit is needed, Georgia law requires you to file suit against the person individually, instead of against their insurance company. However, person who is being sued is probably not going to pay any of the Jury Verdict. In most motor-vehicle or premises liability cases, the insurance company will pay 100% of the Jury’s Verdict up to the amount of insurance coverage.

Is the person being sued going to lose their house, business, or their retirement?

This is possible, but not very likely. Automobile, homeowners, or business insurance will most likely pay any Verdict the Jury awards to you. Additionally, retirement funds are usually entitled to special protection, meaning that they cannot be seized to collect a verdict.

If insurance is going to pay – why can’t I talk about Car/Truck, Business or Health Insurance?

The Georgia Rules of Evidence do not allow the participants in most Civil Injury cases to discuss any insurance coverage, such as car, truck, motorcycle, health, business, workers compensation, or other types of insurance. Many people find this very frustrating, but it is the law of Georgia.

Is my case going to be harmed by all of the frivolous lawsuits filed lately?

Probably not. Although News Talk Shows, Insurance Company commercials and Politicians have done a great job of convincing some people that all or most lawsuits are frivolous, this is a myth. In reality, lawsuits are screened by the Judge. Almost all frivolous cases are thrown out of court long before they go in front of a Jury. Most Jurors will quickly figure out that your case is legitimate and will treat your case fairly.

Should I be worried that some Jurors may think I am trying to trick them?

Lawsuits are very expensive. Our firm, like most lawyers, cannot afford to accept weak or frivolous cases, let alone take these cases to trial. Today’s Jurors are very smart and not easily fooled. Any lawyer who tries to present false evidence, tries to invent a case with un-necessary medical care, or urges a client to lie risks losing a lot of money when the Jury rejects the case. A lawyer can also lose his license or be severely punished by the Court for lying, asking his or her client to lie, or making up evidence.

How much does a lawsuit cost?

It takes the average lawyer and law firm between 100-500 hours of time and thousands of dollars in court costs to prepare for a trial. The entire process often takes between 1 and 2 years – even a simple fender-bender case. With legal and administrative time costing hundreds of dollars an hour, the lawyer’s expense for even a simple Jury trial begins around $15,000.00 and runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Wow! That is expensive! How can I afford to have a lawyer take my case to trial?

The answer is the contingency fee. A law firm for the injured person agrees to provide all of the attorney and legal staff time and resources without up-front payment, often for years at a time. This is big risk for the lawyers and means fronting thousands of dollars of court costs until the case ends. A lawyer hopes to win a Verdict and be paid a fee and recover the court costs. A lawyer has to eat, support a family, and pay the legal staff. Trying to make a living by making-up evidence or filing weak claims and trying to “trick” Jurors would spell financial disaster. The reality is that injury lawyers screen injury cases very carefully and do not handle frivolous claims.

What if my Jurors don’t believe people should be awarded money just for being hurt?

Our system is designed to pay money as compensation for injuries. Jurors have a duty to be honest when questioned during jury selection. Before most trials begin, we are allowed to ask potential Jurors if they do not believe that they can or should award money to an injured person. Any Juror who feels this way must be honest, and in Georgia may be excused from the Jury duty if they honestly admit a bias against awarding money. When a Juror is not fair and honest, the trial is not fair.

Is my Doctor, Nurse, Therapist, Chiropractor or EMT going to be here in Court to testify?

Maybe not. Live medical testimony is incredibly expensive! But medical testimony CAN be (and usually is) read to the Jury. Doctors, especially experts like Surgeons have to be paid to appear live in Court. They charge $3,000-$5,000 to testify in Court. Many of our clients cannot afford this charge, and unless the case is worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, we may read a report or transcript to the Jury instead of calling the doctor as a “live” witness because our client ends up repaying this cost from the verdict. Expensive testimony can eat-up an entire verdict.

Why is a letter written by my Doctor to my lawyer being read to the Jury?

Georgia law allows an injured person to read a special report from the doctor called a “Medical Narrative,“ to the Jury instead of paying for the doctor as a witness. A medical narrative can only be read after the Court has pre-approved this Report. The medical narrative is usually written as a letter from a doctor to a lawyer and is considered equal to live testimony.

Why weren’t my Medical Records shown to the Jury? Will it look like I am hiding something?

In most instances, your Medical Records are not allowed by the Georgia Rules of Evidence to be given to the Jury. But, you can be questioned about what is in your records by lawyers for the Insurance Company. The insurance defense lawyers will have carefully gone through your records and will ask about anything he or she feels might call your injury into question.

What if I did not go to the doctor right away – will the Jury think I am lying?

The Insurance company lawyers may certainly try to convince Jurors that you were not badly hurt if you did not go to the emergency room. This is a common defense strategy. We believe that most Jurors understand that many people don’t go straight to the emergency room or to the doctor because they cannot afford the high cost of medical care. Others don’t go because they don’t like doctors or hospitals and are hoping that they will feel better in a day or two. Still others do not hurt badly at the scene of an accident. It is not uncommon for accident victims to say they are “fine” at the scene of the accident (no one likes a complainer), only to feel much worse hours or days later.

Why can’t I tell the Jury that I could not AFFORD to go to the doctor? That’s not fair!

Fair or not, Georgia law does not allow a person to tell Jurors that she could not afford medical care, even though from our experience this is the most common reason that clients do not see a doctor or go to the hospital right away.

What happens if I missed some doctor or therapy visits? Will I lose?

We recommend that all of our clients follow their Doctor’s advice. Unfortunately, some do not. People miss their doctor’s visits for a variety of reasons such as inability to afford medical care, taking care of children, fear of losing a job, lack of transportation because a car was damaged in the accident, and for many other reasons. The Insurance defense lawyer may try to point out missed medical visits. But, a few missed visits does not prove you were not injured any more than delaying a trip to the mechanic means your car is not broken.

Are my Lawyers and the Doctors working together to make my case bigger?

No. It is not ethical for lawyers to direct or influence a client’s medical care. Lawyers and Doctors have a lot riding on their professional reputation. At The Millar Law Firm, all of the medical evidence that our firm uses and relies upon is totally and 100% independent. This is why The Millar Law Firm is NOT affiliated with any medical practice.

Will you send me to a doctor to make my case bigger?

No. The Millar Law Firm does not accept cases from people who are not injured. This is wrong, and we also know that Jurors reject the cases of people who are simply looking for an undeserved pay-day. We will never refer a client to a doctor to inflate a claim or to falsely claim that someone is hurt.

What if I first saw a doctor after I hired my lawyer? Will this hurt my case at Trial?

No. Some of our clients realize they need a lawyer right away. It is vital that the investigation of a case begins as soon as possible. Sometimes this means that our clients have not yet been to the doctor or to the hospital. The Millar Law Firm never tells anyone who is not hurt to seek medical attention.

Will the Jury think that my Lawyers told me or my doctors what kind of medical care to have?

You and your doctors will be questioned by the insurance defense lawyers at or in a deposition before trial. If there were ever any evidence that a lawyer tried to influence the medical care and treatment, the defense lawyers will certainly point this out. The Millar Law Firm does not direct client medical care or encourage our clients to have un-necessary medical treatment.

Do Jurors sometimes rule for one side or another because of something unrelated to the case, such as a past criminal problem or a feeling that I am a bad parent?

Yes, sadly this occasionally happens. Jurors are usually instructed by the Judge not to decide a case based upon sympathy or judgmental feelings. It is improper in Georgia for Jurors to return a verdict on anything other than the evidence in the case. When a Juror feel that an injury victim does not measure up to their own personal standards of clean-living, or feels sorry for the defense, the Juror must set aside those feelings and base the size of the Verdict on the harms and losses caused to the victim. This must be true in both small and very large cases.

What if I don’t still “look” injured by the time of Trial, will the Jury believe I was/am really hurt?

We believe so. The Millar Law Firm does not accept cases from people who are only pretending to be hurt. Our cases are carefully screened, and we will do our best to support your claim with the proper medical evidence at Trial. We decline at least ten cases for every one case we accept. Insurance companies sometimes refuse to settle a case because they know that forcing a victim to wait for Jury Trial can take one or two years (or longer), knowing that the victim may no longer “look” injured. This delay tactic is most common when the injury victim was healthy prior to the accident, but now suffers from chronic pain that cannot be “seen” by the Jury.

Money can’t make my injuries better; will the Jury really “care” about my case?

Nobody wants to hand money to someone who does not “deserve” it, even when the money is coming from an insurance company. But, our civil justice system is a “you break it” — “you bought it” system. The defense cannot make your injuries or pain magically go away, so our Founding Fathers agreed that money must serve as payment for pain and injury. This means that the amount of money must be equivalent to the harm caused. Most Jurors are caring and compassionate people who understand this concept.

My car wasn’t damaged (much) – will the Jury believe me?

Imagine an egg carton filled with eggs being dropped. The carton probably does not get damaged much. Inside the carton some of the eggs are totally fine, some are cracked, and some are seriously broken. The force of impact broke the eggs inside, but left the carton intact. Today’s cars are well-built. People riding in vehicles are similar to the eggs in the carton and are often seriously hurt without extensive damage to the outside of the car.

In my car accident case, why isn’t there an expert in Court to testify about the force of impact?

Probably because it is VERY expensive. Experts who can testify about the force of impact on the human body are known as bio-mechanical engineers. A bio-mechanical engineer may also need to be assisted by an accident reconstruction expert. The investigation and testimony can run tens of thousands of dollars.

I don’t care how much it costs – I still want to see and hear expert testimony!

Insurance companies know that unless the case is very large the injured person may not be able to afford to use experts. But, while the insurance company can afford these experts, most likely the insurance company will NOT produce a defense expert. Why not? Because the insurance defense lawyers know that their experts may admit that people are seriously injured every day in exactly the same way that you were hurt.

Why wasn’t the auto mechanic or the body shop man called as a witness in my case?

Sometimes we do use mechanics and auto-body repairmen as witnesses. But, most often the testimony of the victim and witnesses (and photographs) are all the evidence that is needed to prove that a car was damaged in a crash. The fact that the mechanic or body-man did not testify does not prove that a car was not damaged.

What if the police officer was not called as a witness?

In a Georgia injury case, Police officers may only testify about what they saw and what was said to them. If the police officer did not witness the accident, he or she may not be able to say anything valuable to the Jury and may not testify. Generally speaking, a police officer who did not witness an accident is not allowed to give his or opinion about who caused the crash. The Millar Law Firm believes that police officers time is very valuable and the officer should not be called unless there is a good reason to do so.

The police officer testified — but did not tell my Jury who caused the accident!

Believe it or not, the Georgia Rules of Evidence do not allow the police officer to give an opinion about who was at fault for causing an accident unless the officer actually saw the accident. Just because the injured person did not ask who caused the accident, does not mean they are afraid of the answer.

“Everyone” has a camera phone – but I forgot to take pictures! Do I lose?

Now that camera phones are everywhere, many Jurors expect to see photos from the accident scene. Unfortunately, however, many clients are injured or dazed from having just been in an accident or having been injured. Often the location of a traffic accident is chaotic or along a busy highway or intersection. People forget to take photos. The lack of photos from the scene does not mean your vehicle was already damaged.

Will the Jury believe what my lawyer is saying? Aren’t lawyers paid to lie?

It is actually very difficult for you or your lawyer to lie or exaggerate in Court and get away with it. Before Trial begins, almost everything that will be said or shown to Jurors has been recorded and said at an earlier time in front of a court reporter. If you or your lawyer lie about something, the Insurance Defense lawyer and the Court usually knows about it instantly. The Defense will point out the lie to the Jury. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of injury clients and lawyers do not lie in Court and would be caught if they did.

But still, lawyers – especially Injury Lawyers — are professional liars, aren’t they?

No. This is another myth. Most lawyers handling accident and injury cases are very ethical and do not stand in front of Juries and Judges and tell lies to them. But, we are aware of this reputation which has been spread in movies, press-releases and by politicians, who all see injury lawyers as an easy target. Like any one else with children, wives and husbands, Lawyers want our families and friends — and clients — to be proud and respect what we do. We certainly are. We believe that there is nothing as rewarding as helping a client who was injured because of a negligent act, or has been treated badly by an insurance company, than working hard to receive an honorable and just verdict.

What happens to my essay?

The Millar Law Firm will have the right to use the essay and scholarship recipient’s image for marketing purposes.

Who selects the winners?

A scholarship committee will select the First, Second and Third Place scholarship winners based on the creativity and clarity of the essay.

How do I submit my scholarship contest entry?

Applicants should email a completed application, photo and essay to scholarship@atlantaadvocate.com.

Why do I need to include a digital photo of myself?

We would like to include photos of the students who create the winning essays in publicity about the scholarship contest.

I am from the Class of 2017 at my high school – am I eligible?

Yes, seniors in the Class of 2017 at high schools in Georgia are eligible to compete for the scholarships as well as rising college freshmen in four-year colleges and universities in Georgia.

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