Do I Have a Case?

Dear Todd:

I was recently in a car accident. How can I tell if I have a case against the other driver?

Each case is different. The determination of whether you have a Georgia personal injury case depends on the specific factual circumstances and the how the law applies to that set of facts. With that being said, there are some general rules applicable to all Georgia personal injury cases that will help you in determining if you have a case. Below are some initial questions that need to be answered to determine if you have a case.

1. Is there an injury?

The initial threshold question in any personal injury claim is whether the person was injured. Sounds simple enough, but many times we receive inquiries regarding cases in which a person “could have” been injured but ultimately was not. The law does not act to compensate someone for what could have happened, it only operates to compensate an individual for what actually happened. The term injury connotes a variety of injuries ranging from physical injury to mental anguish. With a few exceptions, personal injury typcially contemplates physical personal injury not just mental injury. So if there was a physical injury then we have answered the initial threshold question regarding your claim.

2. Did you receive medical treatment for the injury?

Aside from suffering an actual physical injury, you need to be able to “prove” that you were injured. This proof can come from a variety of sources, your own statements regarding the injury, witnesses to your injury, and most importantly, the medical treatment that you receive. Invariably, there is little that can be done if you have not received medical treatment. The medical treatment does not need to be immediate, but there must be at least some medical treatment. Many times, a person may have suffered what they deem to be a “modest” injury and take a “wait and see” approach before incurring medical bills for treatment. However, a wait and see approach can negatively effect your case as the insurance company will inevitably try to use the against you when evaluating your claim. You should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

3. When did the injury occur?

Georgia Personal Injury claims are subject to certain time limitations. Typically a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the injury, however there are exceptions which can both extend and shorten your limitations. If you were injured and believe that a Governmental body or agency (i.e. State, City, or County) was responsible, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced Georgia Accident Lawyer immediately as shorter time limitations may apply.

4. Was the other party at fault in causing the injury?

Many times people have clearly suffered an injury, but unfortunately, the injury may have been their own fault or simply the result of a circumstance in which no one was at fault. Without being able to establish that another person is responsible for the injury there is very little that can be done. An experienced injury attorney can help establish whether you have a case or not.

 You can ask him legal questions by either emailing him or posting to the comment section below.

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