Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents, Wrongful Death, and Workers’ Compensation Claims Under Georgia Law
Dealing with something as serious and complex as an injury case is bound to bring up many questions and concerns. Get the answers you need in these frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation, auto accidents and wrongful death claims in South Carolina or Georgia.
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What are the differences between workers’ comp and personal injury cases?
Like many workers, you may not know much about workers’ compensation and personal injury claims or have any need to be knowledgeable about them unless you are injured in a workplace accident. If this occurs, you will need to file a claim for compensation. It can be confusing to determine which type of claim to file, especially if you suffered injuries in a car accident—traditionally a personal injury claim—while on the job. Here, we explain some of the major differences between these two legal claims and your options for recovery if you are hurt in a workplace accident.
Difference #1: Fault in Causing Your Accident
One of the major differences in a workers’ compensation and personal injury claim is the issue of who was at fault in causing the accident. Here is how fault works in both types of claims:
- Personal injury. In a personal injury case, you must prove the other party’s fault, or negligence, in causing your accident and injuries. In addition, if you were at all at fault in causing your injuries, you may receive less in settlement based on your comparative negligence.
- Workers’ compensation. In Georgia, like other states, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits no matter who caused your accident—even if it was you.
Difference #2: Types of Compensation You Could Receive
The types of compensation that you could be entitled to in a workers’ compensation and personal injury case is also very different. In a personal injury claim, you are entitled to be compensated for all of your losses. This can include the following:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages and benefits of the job
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death benefits
One of the major differences is that pain and suffering damages are not recoverable in workers’ compensation cases. You can receive these benefits in a workers’ comp case:
- Past and future medical bills
- Wage losses up to a current maximum of $575 per week for up to 400 weeks
- Partial permanent disability benefits
- Total permanent disability benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits
Difference #3: Right to Sue
You also have different rights to sue in a personal injury and workers’ compensation case. In exchange for the right to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault, you are not entitled to sue your employer or co-workers for negligence and pain and suffering damages. Instead, you are limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
In contrast, if you suffered an injury in a car, slip and fall, or other personal injury accident, you could file a lawsuit in civil court against any liable parties and request that you receive all the compensation you deserve.
Can You Ever File a Personal Injury Lawsuit If You Suffered a Workplace Injury?
In some cases, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer’s insurance company and also pursue a claim for negligence. You would be able to do this if you suffered an injury at work, but it was caused by a third party’s negligence. Here are a few situations where you may have both claims:
- You are driving between job sites and are injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver. You can file a workers’ comp claim with your employer and a personal injury claim against the negligent driver.
- You are working on a construction site and a subcontractor’s employee causes your accident and injuries. You may have a negligence claim against the subcontractor as well as a right to workers’ compensation benefits from your employer.
- You are injured due to a defective tool you were using at work. You may have a separate products liability claim against the manufacturer.
Do you need to file a workers’ compensation claim? Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys are here to file your claim for you and fight for the benefits you may deserve. In addition, we will pursue claims against any other liable parties to ensure that you receive all the compensation that you are owed. To learn more, contact us online or call us directly at 888.795.6261 at our Augusta office to schedule a free consultation.
How can I help my attorney in my auto accident case?
After obtaining the medical care you need following a car accident, one of your first steps should be to retain an experienced car accident attorney to help you file your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Once you do this, you can hopefully rest easy knowing that your lawyer will thoroughly investigate your crash, build your case against the at-fault driver, and fight hard to settle your claim for what you are entitled to. However, you will make your attorney’s job harder and possibly reduce the amount you receive in settlement if you do not help him in your case.
Ways You Can Help Your Attorney Strengthen Your Claim for Compensation Following a Car Wreck
When you retain a lawyer to file your claim for you, you become a team with the goal of holding the negligent driver accountable for paying you the full amount you deserve. Your actions in your case can help your attorney—or hurt your claim. Here are ways that you can be a good team member and strengthen your right to compensation:
- Be truthful. Whatever you tell your attorney is protected by attorney-client privilege, which means that the negligent driver’s insurance company or anyone else will not find out about your conversations. Your attorney needs to hear the whole story about your accident and your injuries even if there are facts that could make you appear partially at fault in causing the crash or otherwise hurt your claim. He cannot effectively represent you if he does not know everything from you. When your attorney finds out potentially harmful information in the course of negotiations or litigation, this can make it difficult or impossible for him to negotiate a fair settlement for you.
- Follow up on medical care. One of the best ways you can help your attorney is to follow your doctor’s advice as to your treatment, go to all doctor’s appointments, attend all physical therapy sessions, and otherwise do everything you can to get better. When you miss doctor and other health care provider appointments or have large periods of time with no treatments, you give the insurance adjuster ammunition to argue about how serious your injuries really are. In addition, this can irritate your doctor and make him a weaker expert witness on your behalf.
- Only discuss your case with your lawyer. You only want to discuss your case with your attorney. If you discuss it with family and friends, the insurance adjuster may find out what you said and try to use your words against you to deny or reduce your claim.
- Be careful of social media posts. While you may not be able to stay off your social media sites, you want to be careful not to post anything about the accident, your injuries, and treatments. Pictures and posts showing you at locations where you are too injured to be or doing activities you should not be able to do can hurt your claim too. You must realize that the adjuster for the negligent driver could search your social media sites at various times for posts that could weaken your claim and act accordingly.
- Provide information on time. Whenever your attorney requests documents, contact information for witnesses, or other information from you, you want to provide it on a timely basis. The sooner you provide the requested information to him the quicker he can move your claim forward.
- Ask questions. You need to understand what is going on in your case and what your legal options are. If you do not understand something, you should ask your attorney to explain it. This can foster good communication between you and your attorney, help you understand his strategy, and enable you to better assist him.
Let Christopher J. Hudson, LLC, Help You File Your Claim After an Auto Accident
Do you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Let our experienced car accident attorneys take over the burden of investigating your accident, filing your claim, and negotiating your settlement for you. Contact us online or call us directly at 888.795.6261 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about how we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
What evidence can I use to prove the truck driver’s fault in my truck accident?
A truck accident is much different from a passenger car crash because of the sheer weight and size of the truck, the more serious injuries and deaths, and the federal rules governing truck drivers and trucking companies. If you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent trucker, you will need proof to hold the driver and his employer liable for compensating you. A crucial step in ensuring that you obtain the evidence you need is to retain an attorney immediately after your wreck to send the trucking company a spoliation letter. This is a letter advising the trucking company that an accident occurred, that you have a potential claim, and that certain information should not be destroyed by the trucking company that could help you prove your case.
What Types Of Evidence Could You Need To Prove The Truck Driver’s Negligence In Causing Your Injuries?
Some of the evidence that can help your claim is the same as you would need in a passenger vehicle accident. For example, pictures of the crash scene and the damaged vehicles can help establish the trucker’s negligence. The police report can be persuasive if the officer concluded that the trucker violated traffic laws and issued a citation. Evidence unique to truck crashes includes the following:
- Black box recorders. Many trucks are equipped with black box recorders that record the truck’s speed, braking patterns, driver identification, and fuel consumption. They also record the number of hours the trucker was driving—critical to proving he was violating FMCSA regulations for hours of service. In addition, the recorder will provide data on the time between impacts and whether the truck’s airbag was deployed.
- Truck camera. The truck’s camera can be helpful in showing that the trucker was engaged in distracted driving, such as eating and drinking, talking on a cellphone, or texting. It can also show if he was engaging in other reckless behaviors. However, this footage could get taped over or destroyed unless you hire an attorney right away to send a spoliation letter.
- Drug and alcohol screening results. Under FMSCA regulations, a trucker must undergo drug and alcohol screening after a truck accident that caused anyone’s injuries or death. This information could establish that the truck driver was drunk or drowsy at the time of your crash.
- Driver logs. Truckers must keep detailed logs of their driving and resting hours and their pre-trip and post-trip inspections of the truck for maintenance issues. This can be another way to show that the trucker was driving too long without a break or that the truck was being driven with maintenance problems that could have caused your wreck.
- Internal records. The trucking company is required to keep many records regarding the condition of the truck and the truck driver. Some of these include truck inspection records, maintenance records, trucker’s driving and accident history, his medical certification, training procedures, and much more. This information can also be helpful to show that the trucking company was also at fault, such as in negligently hiring or retaining the trucker.
- NTSB investigation. If the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an investigation of your crash, it could provide a wealth of information regarding who caused it. However, you would need the assistance of an attorney to obtain this information.
- Accident reconstruction expert. If the trucker and trucking company’s liability is disputed, your attorney may decide to hire an accident reconstruction expert. This expert can use information, such as pictures, police recorder, black box recorder, and other information your attorney obtains to recreate the accident and show that the truck driver caused it.
- Eye witnesses. Third party witnesses who saw your accident can testify as to how it occurred. Especially if they are neutral parties with no relationship to you or the truck driver, their corroboration of what happened can be powerful evidence in your case.
An experienced truck accident attorney will know what documents he wants preserved depending on the specific facts of your case and what he determines you need to prove to establish the truck driver’s negligence. If you were injured in a truck wreck, contact us, start an online chat or call our office directly at 706.863.6600 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to have your questions answered and learn about your legal options.
Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuit FAQs
Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products have been found in many people’s homes for decades and have been considered safe enough to keep babies’ bottoms dry and to be used as a feminine hygiene product by women. Unfortunately, Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower are not as safe as we thought. They have been linked to deadly ovarian cancer and other serious illnesses and diseases.
Here, we have compiled a list of the most common questions we get regarding the talcum powder lawsuits being filed against Johnson & Johnson. Hopefully, the answers will help you understand the dangers you face if you have used talcum powder regularly for feminine hygiene, and the compensation you may be entitled to if you developed ovarian cancer as a result of its use. If you have questions about a possible talcum powder lawsuit, contact our office to schedule a free consultation with Christopher Hudson to discuss your situation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Talcum Powder Lawsuits
What is talcum powder?
Talcum powder is made from talc, which is a finely ground mineral that is comprised of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. In its powder form, it absorbs moisture and reduces friction.
What products contain talc?
Talcum powder is found in thousands of products, such as cosmetics, foods, contraceptives, antacids, and medications. Unfortunately, use of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower to dust a woman’s genitals, sanitary napkins, and tampons over a period of time has been found to cause ovarian cancer.
How can use of talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?
When used as a feminine hygiene product, particles of talc can travel through a woman’s reproductive system into her ovaries. The talc particle can become imbedded in the ovarian tissues and cause irritation and inflammation. This can result in damage to the DNA in ovarian tissue cells, allowing cancer cells to grow.
Who is most at risk of developing ovarian cancer from talcum powder use?
Women who have used talcum powder to dust their genital areas, sanitary napkins, or tampons on a daily basis over a period of years have a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. Studies have found that these women have an approximate 30 percent increased risk of developing this deadly cancer.
How long has the link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer been known?
The first study establishing a link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder was published in 1971. Since then, numerous other studies have also found a correlation between regular use of these products and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. While Johnson & Johnson continues to insist its products are safe, Luzenac, the manufacturer who provides the talc to Johnson & Johnson, began including a warning in 2006 about the health risks of talc on its data fact sheet that is provided with its product.
How do I know if talcum powder use caused my ovarian cancer?
As part of your treatment for your ovarian cancer, ovarian tissue would have been removed from your ovaries. Your treating physician and other medical care providers were most likely focused on treating your cancer, not looking for the cause of it, so they may have overlooked the particles of talc in your ovarian tissue. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can retain a pathologist to examine your tissue to determine if they contain talc fibers.
Why is ovarian cancer so dangerous?
Many women do not experience any symptoms of ovarian cancer until the disease has progressed and the cancer has spread to other organs. This has made treating ovarian cancer successfully much more challenging, and it is the reproductive cancer that causes the most deaths in women.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
There are some symptoms of late-stage ovarian cancer, but they are often mistaken for other conditions. Some common complaints include the following:
- Bloating and swelling of the abdomen
- Feeling full quicker than normal when eating
- Weight loss
- Discomfort in the pelvic region
- Changes in bowel movements, such as becoming constipated
- More frequent need to urinate
Who can file a talcum powder lawsuit?
Women who regularly used talcum powder for personal hygiene and developed ovarian cancer—or their families if the woman died—may be able to file a lawsuit for compensation against Johnson & Johnson.
Does it cost me anything to have you review my case?
Our firm offers a free consultation to discuss your situation with you. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.
How much does it cost to file a talcum powder lawsuit?
Most attorneys handle talcum powder lawsuits on a contingency fee basis like in other personal injury cases. This means the attorney will only be paid if you win your case through a settlement or at trial. The attorney will charge a percentage of what you receive as his fee. It is important that you discuss how much the attorney charges and any costs, such as court filing fees and expert witness fees, you would be expected to pay before hiring an attorney.
How much time do I have to file my lawsuit?
Every state has its own statute of limitations, or time limit, for filing a lawsuit. In Georgia, the statute of limitations in products liability cases is generally two years from the date of your injury. However, Georgia’s laws regarding these time periods are somewhat complicated, so you want to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss your situation.
Have other women who became ill with ovarian cancer sued Johnson & Johnson?
Yes, over 2,000 individual cases were filed against Johnson & Johnson as of October 2016 claiming that the company knew of the dangers its talcum powder products posed but failed to warn women of these dangers. A few of the earlier cases have gone to jury trial, and women are being awarded millions. These awards include:
- In February 2016, the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using talcum powder for 35 years was awarded $72 million, which included $62 million in punitive damages.
- In May 2016, a woman who had used talcum powder for 40 years was awarded $55 million, with $50 million being a punitive damage award.
- In September 2016, another woman who used Johnson’s Baby Powder for 45 years and was diagnosed with Stage-4 ovarian cancer was awarded $70 million. The jury awarded $62 million in punitive damages.
Aren’t most of these cases being handled as class action lawsuits where people receive little money?
No. Class action lawsuits have been filed in California, Missouri, and other states for a refund of the purchase price of talcum powder, not for compensation for a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The individual lawsuits for compensation have been centralized on either a state or federal court level, but each individual suing is awarded compensation based on her own injuries and damages.
What types of compensation could I be entitled to?
You could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While punitive damages are usually not awarded in products liability and personal injury cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages given that juries are awarding these damages against Johnson & Johnson in other talcum powder cases.
I don’t really want to file a lawsuit. Why should I file one?
If you developed ovarian cancer from using talcum powder, your medical bills could be very expensive. You will also likely suffer pain from both the cancer and the cancer treatments, as well as emotional trauma from the worries of having a life-threatening disease. You have a right to be compensated for your injuries and to hold Johnson & Johnson—which has known about the dangers of talcum powder for decades—accountable for its actions.
Do I need an attorney to pursue my claim?
You definitely need an experienced personal injury attorney to pursue your claim against Johnson & Johnson. The company is aggressively fighting these claims. An attorney can investigate your claim, build your case against Johnson & Johnson, and help you obtain the compensation you may deserve through a settlement or at trial.
Did you develop ovarian cancer from long-term talcum powder use? Did a family member die of ovarian cancer? Start an online chat today to schedule your free consultation to learn how our experienced legal team can help you.
Do I have a talcum powder case for my ovarian cancer?
Talcum powder has been used for decades as a feminine hygiene product. Unfortunately, regular use of it for this purpose has been linked to the development of deadly ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is an especially aggressive type of cancer that starts in a woman’s ovaries but quickly spreads to other parts of her body as the cancer grows. It has few initial symptoms, so women often do not discover that they have ovarian cancer until the disease has progressed. As a result, treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, are less effective, and too many women die from this disease. In fact, of all reproductive cancers, ovarian cancer is the most deadly.
How Talcum Powder May Have Caused Your Ovarian Cancer
When women use talcum powder to dust their sanitary napkins, tampons, and genital areas, the talc particles can travel through their reproductive system and into their ovaries. These particles become embedded in ovarian tissues, causing inflammation, irritation, and damage to DNA, which allows the development and growth of ovarian cancer cells. Numerous studies dating back to the 1970’s have found talc particles in ovarian tumors of women who regularly used talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product.
Many women and their families have begun suing Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower—the two most popular products containing talc. These lawsuits claim that Johnson & Johnson knew of the dangerous link between use of its products for feminine hygiene and ovarian cancer and failed to warn consumers of the dangers. Over 1,200 individual lawsuits and at least two class action lawsuits have been filed so far. A few of these cases have gone to trial, and juries have awarded women and the families of deceased women who died of ovarian cancer millions in damages—including punitive damages.
How Do You Know If You Should Pursue a Talcum Powder Claim?
If you regularly used talcum powder for personal hygiene and developed ovarian cancer, you may be wondering if your cancer was caused by use of this product and whether you should pursue a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. Understanding some of the criteria used to determine whether to pursue a claim can help you decide whether to go forward. To evaluate these cases, lawyers are asking whether the woman meets the following criteria:
- Has been diagnosed with an ovarian-type cancer
- Used talcum powder on a regular basis for four years or more as a feminine hygiene product
- Used Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower
- Biopsy results show evidence of talcum powder
- No family history of ovarian cancer or a genetic disorder pre-disposing her to ovarian cancer, such as the BRCA-1 gene
What happens if some of these factors apply to you, but others do not? For example, you may have used baby powder religiously, but for slightly less than four years.
The bottom line is that you do not want to make the decision whether to pursue a claim on your own. Even if you do not meet all of the criteria, you may have a claim for compensation. You need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can investigate your claim, review your medical records, and make a determination as to whether you have sufficient evidence to pursue a lawsuit.
How Will Your Attorney Determine If Your Ovarian Cancer Is Linked to Talcum Powder Use?
Your attorney will order a copy of your medical records and review them carefully. The most important pieces of evidence will be your pathology reports and tissue samples used to diagnose your cancer. He may hire a talcum powder ovarian cancer expert to review the pathology reports. If your ovarian tissues contain talc fibers, this shows a likelihood that your talcum powder use caused your cancer.
You may wonder why your doctor did not look for this link. In many cases, doctors are more concerned about fighting the disease than determining its cause. However, talc fibers have been found in the ovaries of women suing and winning these talcum powder cases.
Contact Christopher J. Hudson, LLC, Today
If you suspect your cancer or a loved one’s cancer was caused by talcum powder use, you need to consult with an attorney quickly. The experienced attorneys at Christopher J. Hudson, LLC, are here to help. Contact us online, start an online chat or call our office directly at 706.863.6600 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. Learn all you can about your legal options.
Could Your Use of Talcum Powder Have Caused Your Ovarian Cancer?
Johnson’s Baby Powder has been a household product for decades. Women have used it to keep their babies’ bottoms dry and fresh and as a feminine hygiene product. Many women have used this product and Johnson’s Shower and Shower product to dust themselves, tampons, and sanitary napkins to keep them clean and odor-free. Little did these women know that the regular use of talcum powder could cause them to become ill with ovarian cancer.
Sadly, many women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer are discovering the dangerous link between their cancer and use of talcum powder products. Many of them are fighting back and suing Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of these products. Their lawsuits claim that Johnson & Johnson knew of the link between use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer and failed to warn women of the risk. Some of these cases have gone to trial—and women are winning their cases and being awarded millions in damages.
What Is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer is an especially deadly form of cancer that starts in a woman’s ovaries and spreads to other parts of her body as the cancer grows. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Although it only accounts for three percent of all cancers in women, it is the most deadly reproductive cancer, resulting in 14,276 women dying in 2013.
Because women experience few symptoms during the early stages of the cancer, it is often not diagnosed until its later stages when it has metastasized and traveled to other parts of her body. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, they are much less effective in later stages of the disease, and ovarian cancer is often fatal—including for women who developed this cancer from talcum powder use.
How Does Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?
Talc is a mineral found throughout the world and in its ground-up form is the key ingredient in talcum powder. When applied to a woman’s genital area, sanitary napkins, or tampons, talcum powder can move through the woman’s reproductive organs into her ovaries. Once in the ovaries, the talcum powder particles can cause inflammation, increased cell growth, and damage to the DNA, which can cause ovarian cancer cells to develop and grow.
A number of studies dating back as early as the 1970’s have found talc particles in ovarian tumor tissues and linked talcum powder use to ovarian cancer. In a study reported in Cancer Prevention Research in 2013, researchers concluded that women who used talcum powder on a regular basis as a feminine hygiene product have a 20 to 30 percent greater chance of developing ovarian cancer.
Number of Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson Is Growing
As more medical studies have reported the dangerous link between use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products and ovarian cancer, women have begun filing lawsuits against the company for failing to warn them of the dangers of using talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product. Over 1,200 individual lawsuits and at least two class action lawsuits have been filed to date. Two important cases went to jury trial in 2016, with the following results:
- A woman’s family was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages after a woman who had used talcum powder since she was a teenager died from ovarian cancer at 62 years old. In awarding punitive damages, the jury relied on an internal Johnson & Johnson memo in 1997 from their medical consultant that warned of the dangers of talcum powder causing ovarian cancer.
- Another jury awarded a woman who had used these products for decades and developed ovarian cancer $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Ovarian Cancer Was Caused by Talcum Powder Use?
If you were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and used talcum powder on a regular basis, you need to act quickly to pursue your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering you have endured from your illness. You need an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you prove the link between your cancer and your talcum powder use to hold Johnson & Johnson responsible. Fill out our online form or call us directly at 706.863.660 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. You can have your questions answered. Learn how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Should I sign a medical authorization for release of information for the negligent driver’s insurance company?
Soon after your car wreck, the other driver’s insurance company could be contacting you to sign an authorization for your medical records. This may seem like a reasonable request to process your claim. However, like many decisions in your case, signing a medical authorization is not as easy as it sounds.
Reasons Not to Sign the Insurance Company’s Medical Release
While it is true that the insurance company will need your medical records for the injuries you suffered in this accident, you do not have to sign a medical release to provide these documents to the adjuster. You can simply have your attorney obtain and send them on your behalf. Reasons you do not want to sign a medical release include:
- It provides total access. Medical releases prepared by insurance companies are blanket authorizations that give them access to your prior medical records as well as the ones for this wreck. They do not need your prior medical history, and it could give them ammunition to deny or reduce your claim.
- It may reveal preexisting injuries. The medical authorization could allow the insurance adjuster to obtain your medical records regarding a former injury to the same part of your body that may have no bearing on your current injury. However, adjusters love to use this information to argue that your injury was caused by this earlier incident and not their driver’s negligent actions.
- It is an invasion of your privacy. Your medical records contain private information about you that you may not want to disclose to the insurance adjuster or anyone else. You should protect your privacy by refusing to sign the insurance adjuster’s medical authorization.
You should never sign a medical authorization for release of information—or any other legal document—without first having an experienced car accident attorney review it to avoid making an inadvertent mistake or waiving your legal rights. However, if you already signed a medical release for the insurance company, you have not made a fatal mistake in your case. Call me today at 706-863-6600 or toll free at 888-795-6261 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company for the negligent driver who hit me?
Do not be surprised if the insurance adjuster for the driver who caused your auto accident contacts you within days of the crash. This often happens—especially if the insurance adjuster is worried that his driver faces liability for your injuries. One of the first things adjusters typically ask victims to do is to give a recorded statement. Do not make a mistake in your case by agreeing to this. Here’s why you want to say no to this request.
Why You Do Not Want to Agree to a Recorded Statement
A recorded statement is a question-and-answer session with the insurance adjuster which is taped and later made into a written document.
The insurance adjuster may make it seem like he needs it to process your claim. However, this is not true. You are not required to give a recorded statement, and it is rarely helpful to your claim. Here’s why you should never agree to these recorded statements:
- Statements can be used against you. The reason the adjuster wants to take your statement is not to help pay your claim. He is looking for statements you make that he can use against you later—including at a possible trial. Even if you have nothing to hide, you may say something you did not mean or something slightly inconsistent with what you told the police—and that can be used against you.
- Your words can be twisted. Adjusters are experts at taking recorded statements because they do them so frequently. They are trained to ask confusing and misleading questions that could lead to an answer that can hurt your case.
There are many ways you could say something that could come back to haunt you. These inadvertent mistakes include:
- You might forget to discuss an important detail.
- You could say something incorrectly.
- You could answer a question incorrectly either because you did not understand it or did not think through your answer before talking.
- You may give additional information that the adjuster does not need that provides ammunition for denying or reducing your claim.
Steps You Should Take If You Are Asked to Give a Recorded Statement
You should take these simple steps if you are asked to give a recorded statement: Politely refuse to give one, obtain the adjuster’s contact information, and inform him that you will have your attorney contact him. Then retain an experienced car accident attorney who can help you negotiate your settlement.
If you did give a recorded statement, you did not ruin your case. Your lawyer will have worked with other clients who made a similar mistake. Make a good decision today and start an online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how our firm can assist you.
Do I need to see a doctor right after my car accident?
You may be tempted to not seek medical treatment after a car accident, especially if the vehicles were traveling at a slow speed and you do not believe you were injured. This could be a big mistake if you later need to pursue a claim for compensation against the negligent driver. Any time you are involved in a car crash, you should see a doctor immediately if there is any chance you suffered injuries.
Reasons You Want to Obtain Prompt Medical Care
You may not realize you suffered an injury in your accident because adrenaline from the excitement and stress of the crash could kick in, masking the pain. However, even “minor” rear-end collisions or side-impact ones can cause surprisingly serious injuries. Reasons you want to see a doctor right away include:
- To obtain the medical care you need. If your injuries are obvious, you should know that you need to see your doctor. However, some victims try to tough it out, causing themselves more pain and risking complications. In addition, you could experience a serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal or back injuries, or internal bleeding, where the symptoms do not develop until days or weeks after your crash. Seek medical care soon after the wreck to avoid causing your medical condition to worsen into an emergency situation.
- To document your injury. If you must seek compensation from the driver who caused your crash, you not only need to prove his negligence, but also that your injuries were caused by his actions. Seeking medical care is a crucial way of documenting that your accident caused your injuries.
- To avoid a legal issue. Whenever an accident victim delays getting medical care, it gives ammunition to the negligent driver’s insurance company to deny the victim’s claim. Insurance adjusters frequently argue that the injuries were caused by a reason other than the accident when a victim waits to see a doctor. Do not give the insurance company a reason to deny your claim by failing to seek medical care promptly.
Hopefully, you sought medical care right away. If you did not, do not think this is a fatal mistake. You could still be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver. I urge you to call me today at 706-863-6600 or toll free at 888-795-6261 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
What is my truck accident case worth?
We understand that you are looking for a number. You want to know how much money you can recover after you’ve been hurt in a truck crash. However, the value of every truck accident case is unique and dependent upon the specific facts of the case. Accordingly, we can’t give you an accurate estimate of the value of your case without speaking to you directly and learning more about your claim.
Instead, what we can do is tell you what kinds of damages are available, what factors may affect your fair recovery, and how to contact us for a free and confidential consultation.
Types of Damages You Can Recover After a Truck Accident Injury
If you have been injured in a truck accident that was caused by the trucker, the trucking company, or another party, you may be able to recover compensation for your past, current and future:
- Medical expenses. Medical expenses include all of the costs related to your healthcare. This could include, but is not limited to: ambulance fees, hospital stays, surgeries, doctors’ visits, medications, rehabilitation therapies, and assistive medical devices.
- Lost income. Whether you experience a complete loss of income or your income has gone down because you are no longer able to work the same job or the same hours you did prior to the crash, you can recover for your loss. Lost income should include your wages, benefits, or money that you earned from being self-employed.
- Out-of-pocket costs. Some truck accident victims have significant out-of-pocket costs for things such as property damage, alternative transportation costs, childcare, and household help.
- Pain and suffering. Your physical pain and emotional suffering may be your greatest costs and they are compensable in a truck accident case.
However, before you can recover any of these damages, you will need to take action. You will need to contact an attorney, negotiate with the insurance company, and be prepared to take your case to court.
Factors That May Impact Your Recovery
The value of your damages may be disputed. The insurance company or defendant will likely argue that you should recover less compensation than you deserve. Accordingly, the specific amount that you recover will either need to be negotiated with the insurance company or decided in court. Some of the factors that will influence the amount of your recovery include:
- The quality of the available evidence. In order to recover damages, you will need to prove two things. First, you will need to prove that the defendant is legally responsible for the crash and, thus, legally responsible for paying your damages. Second, you will need to prove the value of your damages. In order to prove both of these things, you will need evidence. Evidence may include photos from the accident scene, deposition testimony, expert witness testimony, medical records, and other things. The stronger your evidence, the more likely you are to make a fair recovery.
- Whether you were partly to blame for the crash. Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence system of recovery. That means that you may still recover damages if you were partly to blame for the crash as long as you were less than 50% responsible for the accident. Your damages may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you.
- How well you, or your attorney, advocate for your recovery. You, or your attorney, will need to convince the insurance company or court of the other party’s liability and of the value of your damages. This means knowing how to use the evidence to make strong and convincing legal arguments so that a favorable settlement or verdict can be reached.
These factors may increase or decrease your recovery, and should always be considered when estimating the value of your lawsuit.
Get the Answers You Need Before You File a Lawsuit
Before you file a truck accident case, you will probably want to do a cost benefit analysis. You will want to know what your potential recovery is before you decide whether or not to file a claim. We can help you make that decision by providing you with personalized information based on the unique facts of your case. Please start a live chat with us now to schedule your free consultation and we will help you get the answers you need and the recovery you deserve.