Personal Injury & Wrongful Death in Monroe, GA
Highly Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys and Wrongful Death Attorneys in Monroe, GA and Walton County, GA.
At Hanks, Ballard & Barth we have spent years working, and often collaborating with others, to find justice and compensation for families who have lost loved ones because of the actions of others. Whether from accidents caused by the neglect of someone else, or from the intentional or criminal acts of another, our Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Lawyers assist families as they seek justice on behalf of their loved one, and look to move forward without the love, companionship, and support of a family member.
Accidents and injuries can happen without warning. It doesn’t matter whether you are at work, in a store, walking on the sidewalk or on the road. You can get hurt anywhere regardless of the activity. In many instances, the injuries could have been avoided if those responsible had not acted carelessly or had fulfilled legal obligations. In these situations, you could receive compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.
We have been involved in a variety of personal injury and wrongful death matters, recovering the necessary compensation our clients needed.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When someone dies due to the negligent or unlawful behavior of another person, families of the deceased, or the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, may file a wrongful death claim against the responsible individual. In the State of Georgia, wrongful death suits are filed by the surviving family members such as a surviving spouse, children, or parents.
Wrongful Death suits may pertain to any situation where the defendant’s unsafe practices or actions directly contributed to the person’s death. Wrongful death suits are usually resolved by way of settlement negotiations or a trial before a jury. Either way, effective representation is necessary.
What is the typical process for a Wrongful Death claim?
Once the suit has been filed and the defendant has responded, the plaintiff and defendant’s legal teams begin conducting their investigation, which involves collecting information about the other party through written questions, taking depositions, and requests for documents or items that pertain to the case. This should be an investigation of what the opposing side claims and what evidence they possess, as a good attorney will have thoroughly investigated the case prior to filing a lawsuit, or an answer to a lawsuit.
At this point, if either legal team has any matters they would like to be addressed by the court before the case moves to trial, they will file a pretrial motion. Many times, this step is to resolve issues with evidence, witnesses or, in some cases, the case in its entirety.
If the case does go to trial the case is presented to a jury unless both parties agree to have a judge decide the matter (this is known as a bench trial). During the wrongful death lawsuit, both parties will have the opportunity to present their own witnesses, cross-examine opposing witnesses, present the evidence that was collected during discovery, and finally, make both legal and evidentiary arguments. The judge or jury will rule on the case, and if they find in favor of the plaintiff, then they will also decide the amount of damages to be collected from the defendant.
What kind of damages can families of the deceased collect?
Typically, families are seeking financial recovery of medical costs incurred in the process of trying to save their loved one’s life, and the lost financial assistance of their deceased loved one. The damages awarded during a wrongful death suit may also include financial responsibility for the victim’s funeral costs as well as medical care.
What is involved in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Personal Injury lawsuits involve a plaintiff that has experienced injury caused by another as a result of their negligence, reckless conduct, or intentional misconduct. Damages typically involve the injured person’s medical bills, loss of income from employment, diminished quality of life, and pain and suffering.
Personal Injury cases may be based upon injuries resulting from auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, or premises liability accidents (dangerous conditions that a property owner fails to address despite knowing of such). A personal injury lawsuit is a civil action filed by a private individual against a corporation, government agency, business, or another private individual. Often there are separate criminal cases related to the incident, especially those involving automobile accidents where citations have been written. Those are separate cases that are handled by the local prosecutor, but their outcome may have an impact on the personal injury lawsuit. In some cases though, personal injury disputes are settled informally among those involved in the suit, their lawyers, and insurance companies.
When do I need a Personal Injury Attorney?
While there is no requirement that you hire legal representation, a seasoned personal injury attorney understands the ins and outs of settlement negotiations, is often better prepared to interact with insurance companies, knows the pre-trial process, and the best way to proceed to trial to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Experienced attorneys are essential, not just if you must file a personal injury lawsuit, but from the outset, in collecting and assessing the potential damages available and interacting with insurance adjusters.
Common Mistakes to Avoid?
Not Immediately Seeing a Doctor:
After a serious accident, no matter how mild or severe you think the injury may be, it is important to seek medical attention even if you don’t immediately feel the accident’s effects (many injuries, especially trauma that results from a car accident, can sometimes take several days for symptoms to appear and the negative effects of these bodily injuries can last a lifetime if left untreated). Not only is it important to address and identify all the injuries you may have sustained, but legally, it will be important to have those medical records on file when trying to prove that your injuries were indeed sustained during the accident.
Not Researching Attorneys:
When you’re looking to hire a personal injury lawyer, it is important to take the time to check an attorney’s qualifications, their current standing with the Georgia Bar, and experience. It is important to focus your search on lawyers who have handled cases that involve your type of injury; legal principles surrounding different types of accidents and their corresponding injuries may vary along with the types of medical professionals involved who will need to be interviewed and cross-examined.
Accepting the First Offer:
Many times, during a personal injury suit, the insurance company or defendant will more than likely try to settle out of court with a monetary offer. Often, these first-offers are grossly below what you should receive and what you will need to recoup to minimize or alleviate the financial strain of the accident. A highly skilled personal injury attorney will know how to navigate the negotiations in your favor.
Paying Out of Pocket:
When it comes to personal injury cases, it is best to find an attorney who will take your case on a contingency fee basis. This means that there is not a retainer required when you hire them; if they help you win your case, they will take a portion of your settlement as payment and are reimbursed for pre-trial costs that they paid out of pocket. If they don’t help you win your case, you are not required to pay them. This is a win-win situation for you because you will have a legal expert representing your interests and are only required to pay if the Court rules in your favor.
Waiting too long to hire an attorney or file suit:
It is best to have representation at the outset so that the proper records are developed and maintained, the legal issues surrounding the liability of the other party (their legal responsibility for causing the injuries) and the types of damages that may apply can be assessed, and to have strong representation when dealing with insurers. The deadline to file a legal action, if a settlement cannot be reached, is relatively short (usually 2 years), and oftentimes treatment for injuries has not been completed. Insurance companies have been known to appear that they are working in good faith to provide proper compensation for current damages and future medical needs when in fact they are hoping to delay matters until the statute of limitations expires and they pay no compensation.