Frequently Asked Questions
Can I handle my case without an attorney?
While it is possible to handle your case without the help of an attorney, it is not advisable. An attorney skilled in DUI defense practices will know not only the DUI and administrative laws, but will also be familiar with the time constraints and defense tactics necessary to get charges dismissed or reduced. The more experience on your side, the better, and Richard Lawson has resolved over 4,900 cases.
Is it wise to accept a plea bargain?
This is something that can only be answered by the attorney of your choosing. A plea bargain can be a very viable option in some instances. For example, pleading guilty could result in your charges getting significantly reduced or receiving lighter penalties. This will be different from case to case.
If I get placed on probation, what happens if I violate it?
Being placed on DUI probation means that you are essentially going through a “trial phase” that involves heavy scrutiny and regular check-ups with a probation officer in some instances. Any violation of the terms of your probation can result in an arrest and even additional penalties that are greater than the ones you originally faced. For this reason, it is important to make sure that you fully understand the terms of your probation.
Can I refuse a field sobriety test?
Here, it is important to note the difference between a standardized field sobriety test and chemical testing such as breath, blood, and urine testing. It is illegal, per implied consent laws, to refuse a chemical test. Refusing a chemical test results in automatic license suspension. It is not illegal to refuse a field sobriety test, however, doing so will likely result in an arrest. After a lawful arrest, an officer can then require a chemical test.
How can I get my license back?
If you have just been arrested for DUI, then you have the opportunity to get your driving privileges restored at an ALS hearing. If you do not succeed, then you may be able to petition for a hardship license that allows you to drive at certain hours of the day and to certain locations. If you have already been convicted, then the Georgia Codes dictate when a driver becomes eligible to seek reinstatement with the Department of Driver Services.
What is an offer in compromise?
If you file your tax return on time but still owe money, the IRS may be willing to give you an offer in compromise. This means that they may be willing to settle for less than what you owe, but you must meet the requirements in order to file for an Offer in Compromise (OIC). The IRS receives nearly 100,000 OICs a year and rejects a majority of them. To ensure you have a fair chance of receiving an OIC, contact us.
What if I cannot pay the taxes I owe?
Even if you cannot pay the taxes you owe, it is imperative you file the return on time with the amount of money you can pay. By doing such, you can avoid a late filing penalty, which is extremely expensive. If you cannot pay the remaining balance within a reasonable time frame, there are tax resolution options for which you may qualify. We can help determine which resolution option you qualify for.
What do I need to do if I’m being audited?
If you have received a notice that you are being audited, you are most likely feeling anxious and scared, but an audit doesn’t have to be daunting. As long as you have the documents you based your tax return on-such as proof of your income and deductions-you should not have anything to worry about.
Can I disagree with the IRS’s actions?
Depending on the situation, you may be able to appeal IRS decisions. It is important to seek a local Georgia tax lawyer for assistance, however, because certain types of appeals need to be filed by a specific date.
Why is my tax return being audited?
When you report wages or other forms of income that do not match what the IRS has on file, you may receive a notice of correction. This is not an audit, but simply a notice that asks you to explain the dissimilarities. When you receive a notice via mail or phone stating a tax return is being audited, it means something in your tax return caught the IRS’ attention and they need proof as to why said item was reported.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BECOME A U.S. CITIZEN?
As of 2018, it costs $725 to apply for naturalization. This includes the filing fee for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization and the $85 biometric fee. If you are 75 years of age or older, you do not need to pay the biometric fee. Fee waivers are available to certain individuals or families who cannot afford the naturalization application fees. To request a fee waiver, you must file Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver along with your application.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A U.S. CITIZEN?
Once you have been a permanent resident for 5 years, you may apply to become a naturalized U.S. citizen as long as you meet all of the other requirements. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may apply once you have been a permanent resident for 3 years so long as you were married to your U.S. citizen spouse during that period.
IS HAVING A GREEN CARD THE SAME THING AS HAVING CITIZENSHIP?
No. While green card holders enjoy many of the same rights and benefits as U.S. citizens, there are still a few differences. Green card holders cannot vote in general elections or run for office. U.S. citizens can apply for immigration benefits for . There are also specific residency requirements for green card holders that do not apply to U.S. citizens. If a green card holder is absent from the U.S. too long or too often, he or she may risk abandoning their lawful permanent resident status. Also, green card holders that are convicted of certain crimes can face deportation and revocation of their green card. Consult with our office or another local immigration attorney for further information.
CAN YOU BE DEPORTED IF YOU ARE A PERMANENT RESIDENT?
Yes, while difficult, there are specific instances that would subject a lawful permanent resident/green card holder to deportation.
• If a lawful permanent resident (1) moves to another country intending to live there permanently, (2) remains outside the U.S. for an extended period of time, unless intended to be a temporary absence, (3) fails to file income tax returns while living outside the U.S., or (4) declares as a “nonimmigrant” on his or her U.S. tax returns, then he or she may be found to have intentionally abandoned permanent resident status.
• A conviction of a certain crime (including a crime involving moral turpitude, an aggravated felony, or a certain drug-related crime) can subject a lawful permanent resident to deportation.
• If a lawful permanent resident committed fraud, lied, or omitted important information during the application process, he or she may have their green card revoked and will lose permanent resident status.
Consult with our office or another local immigration attorney for further information regarding revocation of a green card.
HOW LONG IS A GREEN CARD VALID FOR?
Green cards are valid for 10 years for permanent residents. However, conditional permanent resident green cards (based on marriages of less than two years or for entrepreneurs/investors) are valid for 2 years. After those 2 years, a conditional permanent resident must file a petition to remove the condition during the 90 days before his or her card expires.
HOW LONG CAN YOU STAY OUT OF THE U.S. WITH A GREEN CARD?
If you remain outside of the U.S. for more than 1 year without obtaining a re-entry permit or returning resident visa, you may be found to have abandoned your permanent residency status and have your green card revoked. When determining if you have abandoned your status, any absence from the U.S. may be considered. That means lengthy stays outside the U.S. (even less than a year) can threaten your permanent residency status.
Even if you are outside the U.S. for less than a year, you could still be found to have abandoned your permanent resident status. If you spend significant amounts of time outside the U.S. and only return for brief visits, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may challenge your right to permanent resident status when you seek to enter the U.S. Recently, CBP Officers have raised issues when a green card holder does not spend more than half of his or her time in the U.S. each year.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN IMMIGRANT VISA AND A GREEN CARD?
These terms are often confused. You cannot directly “apply for a Green Card”, technically you are applying for a benefit that, once granted, will get An immigrant visa is the specific travel document issued to someone in order for them to enter the United States to live permanently. A green card (Permanent Resident Card) is a card that you will be issued to you after entering the United States that will be your proof of legal status (i.e. proof that you are a Lawful Permanent Resident). There are several ways to obtain a Green Card. The most common way to apply for a allows an immigrant to live and work in the United States permanently as a Lawful Permanent Resident. Someone who enters the United States on an immigrant visa.
WHO IS AN IMMIGRANT?
An immigrant is a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country. Foreign nationals that are in the United States, generally fall into two categories: Immigrants and Non-Immigrants. Some example of non-immigrants are students, temporary workers and travelers. Immigrant on the other hand have intent and permission to live in the United States on a permanent basis. You are considered an Immigrant until you go through the Naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen.
What types of things should I expect my lawyer to do?
An aggressive defense attorney will interview the client in his office or at the jail. He should interview all relevant witnesses personally or through an investigator. He will examine the crime scene, obtain a court order to examine all physical evidence held by the police, subpoena all relevant police reports, make a motion for discovery, conduct all necessary legal research, write and litigate all relevant pre-trial motions, such as motions to suppress evidence based on constitutional rights violations, try the case to a judge or jury, and if necessary present mitigation evidence and sentencing arguments.
What should I look for in a criminal defense attorney?
Look for an attorney who has a great deal of experience in criminal law. Find out how many bench trials and jury trials he has litigated in the past few months. Ask if he has defended the type of charge you face. How many times. Ask him to outline possible defenses. Richard A. Grossman is a criminal law specialist who practices in criminal court 99% of the time and goes to trial frequently. Just as you would not go to a dermatologist for help with a heart problem, you should not go to a real estate or personal injury attorney for a criminal case.
Do I need a criminal defense lawyer?
If you have been charged with a crime or a serious traffic offense, it is very likely that you do need a lawyer. An aggressive defense attorney will protect your rights and your freedom. He will have a clear understanding of the criminal justice system that a person accused of a crime will not posses. While it is true that in a small number of minor cases charges are dismissed without a defense attorney’s participation, this is rare. If you go to court without a lawyer, the judge is likely to continue your case and order you to return with a lawyer, or worse yet, make an accused proceed with a public defender that will only have met you that day and who will have to divide his time amongst many other defendants.
How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid in Georgia?
If you’ve been in an accident in Georgia, hiring a good personal injury lawyer is the best decision you can make. An experienced attorney will help you maximize your chances at financial recovery and present the most compelling evidence of your damages.
If you’re looking at hiring Georgia personal injury lawyer, the cost is probably on your mind. Here’s what you need to know to understand personal injury lawyers work and the costs involved with hiring one.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
To understand the fees and costs associated with hiring a personal injury lawyer, it’s important to know the extent of how they can help you. Georgia is an at-fault state, which means in a personal injury case the person who caused the accident is responsible for all costs. If you were the victim of a car accident or other accident, the at-fault person (or their insurance company) should pay for your damages.
Insurance companies can make this very difficult. Sometimes they or the at-fault party will try to downplay your damages or claim you were to blame for the accident. A personal injury lawyer can help you fight back, present the evidence, and work to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. If necessary, they can help you pursue a lawsuit. With the right attorney, this type of service is invaluable.
How Do Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?
Most personal injury lawyers in Georgia do not charge by the hour. Instead, they are paid on what is known as contingency fees. This means that if they are able to win you an award or settlement, they get a certain percentage of that amount. If you don’t win your case, they don’t “win” anything either. In other words, your personal injury lawyer only gets paid if you do.
You will usually not have to pay anything upfront when hiring a personal injury lawyer. This structure is beneficial for both injured victims and their attorneys. Victims are able to hire a personal injury lawyer without worrying about upfront attorney fees, and attorneys are encouraged to only pursue cases that have merit. Plus, most attorneys will offer you the initial consultation completely free of charge. This is a fair way to let you get to know each other and talk about the details of your case before committing to each other.
How Much Does a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer Get Paid?
The contingency fee typically depends on when your case is settled:
- If your case is settled before you file a lawsuit, your personal injury lawyer will usually get 30% of your settlement amount
- If you settle after a lawsuit is filed, they usually get 40% of the settlement amount
This amount can vary depending on the attorney and may take into account several factors, such as the attorney’s experience or amount of work is necessary for the case. Personal injury cases can be extremely involved and may require a lot of investigation, research, and negotiation from your lawyer.
Are There Any Other Costs Associated with Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Besides the attorney fee mentioned above, there are legal costs that result from the case process whether you win or not. These can include fees for:
- Police reports
- Witness or expert testimony
- Other research-related costs
- Filing appeals
- Trial exhibits
- Court reporters
- Photocopying or postage charges
How these expenses are charged depends on the lawyer. Some attorneys will wait until your case is settled, then deduct costs from your settlement amount. Others may bill you monthly for the costs.
It’s impossible to give a set amount for these legal costs, as it varies greatly between cases. In general, the longer the case takes, the higher costs can be. Ask your lawyer about these costs and how they are handled when you meet with them for the consultation. They can explain where each cost comes from, how they plan to collect them, and how they are handled if you win the case or not. Your lawyer may also help you look for ways to reduce some costs, although many are necessary for a successful case.
Can You File a Lawsuit for Third Degree Burns Suffered in an Accident in Georgia?
Any personal injury accident can result in major injuries, which means major expenses for the victim. If those injuries are burns, they can change someone’s life forever—leaving the sufferer with ongoing pain and irreversible disfigurement. The result can be lifelong physical and emotional pain that no victim should have to bear without compensation.
If you or a loved one has suffered third-degree burns after an accident in Georgia, here’s what you need to know about your next steps, possible settlement amounts, and when it’s appropriate to pursue a lawsuit with a burn injury lawyer.
What Makes Third Degree Burns So Serious?
Even if an accident is mild, burns can cause permanent damage to you and your well-being. Your skin is your first defense system, protecting your entire body from harm. When it suffers damage, the results can be catastrophic, potentially leading to scarring, infections, breathing issues, chronic pain, and movement limitations. At worst, burns can even kill someone.
When you have burn injuries from an accident, your chances of getting financial recovery for pain and suffering are high. Juries typically take burn injuries very seriously, as the medical costs can be high coupled with the emotional strain of living with serious burns for the rest of your life.
If you were the victim in an accident that led to third-degree burns, you need a good personal injury lawyer who can help ensure you get the financial recovery needed to account for your costs and suffering.
Can I Sue for My Third Degree Burns After an Accident in Georgia?
Yes. Third-degree burns are known as “catastrophic injuries,” which are those that permanently keep a victim from working or enjoying life as they would before their accident and injuries. That can also require years of medical treatment, surgeries, and follow up care.
And, as with all personal injuries in Georgia, you have the right to make a claim for recovery from the person whose negligence led to your burn injuries. Depending on how your accident occurred, this negligent person or party could be a boss or business owner, homeowner, a product manufacturer another driver, or someone else who was not fulfilling their duty of care to protect others from harm.
Have Much Money Can You Get for Third Degree Burn Injuries in an Accident in Georgia?
The severity of third-degree burns often results in higher settlements than other types of personal injuries. However, the exact amount can vary greatly depending on the details—and the lawsuit process can take time.
To recover for your damages from your burns, you’ll need to be able to prove the other party was liable. A good burn injury lawyer can help you do this demonstrate that:
- The at-fault party had a duty of care to prevent harm
- That party did not uphold their duty of care
- As a result of the breach of the duty of care, you sustained your burns and other damages
During a third-degree burn lawsuit, the jury will also consider how and where the burn injuries happened, as these details can affect your potential claim or settlement amount.
For example; if a victim suffered severe burns to his or her face, a burn injury attorney will look at how the burns affect the victim’s relationship with their spouse, their ability to wear clothes the same way, and their enjoyment of going out in public. If the burns are not easily hidden, the potential settlement may be higher.
This will lead to questions about whether the accident was avoidable and what events led up to the burns. If the accident could have potentially been avoidable, a jury may not award the victim as much. This is why it’s so crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side. They can compile solid evidence that the accident couldn’t have been avoided.
The amount of damages the at-fault party can pay (mainly, the insurance coverage they hold) and intent of the at-fault party are also factors that help determine your settlement amount.
If you and your lawyer are able to show your burns happened because of someone’s negligence, you are entitled to recover for damages like:
- Medical bills, current, and future
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Possibly punitive damages, if the court determines the at-fault party’s actions were wanton or reckless
Contact a burn injury lawyer as soon as possible to find out potential settlement amounts based on your situation.
What If I Lost a Loved One From a Burn Injury in Georgia?
If you lost a spouse or parent because of a third-degree burn injury, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person. In Georgia, damages from wrongful death cases can include:
- Medical costs
- Funeral expenses
- The deceased’s loss of income and earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable?
In the months after an injury when the bills are piling up, the idea of a personal injury settlement to pay for your losses can sound too good to be true. As a result, many injury victims wonder whether they will really get the full amount of their settlement—or if it will be whittled down by taxes.
The good news is that no, in most cases, personal injury settlements in Georgia are not subject to tax. And, in the rare cases that are exceptions, you may only owe taxes only on part of your settlement, not the whole thing.
The reason for this is simple: the entire idea behind the income tax system is that you pay tax on gains. But a personal injury settlement is not a gain at all; it’s simply compensation for a loss. In other words, when the entire court case is said and done and you’ve gotten your full settlement, legally you aren’t considered ahead at all (even if, financially, you are). You’ve simply had your losses made up to you.
What kinds of personal injury settlements are completely tax-free?
Dog bite claims, defective medical device injuries, and whiplash claims are all examples of the types of cases where your settlement is normally tax-free.
What are the exceptions where I may have to pay taxes?
The key to the tax-free situations above is the language about a “physical” injury. Physical injuries can be very broadly defined: internal damage, sickness, infection and follow-up surgeries are all examples of physical harm. But this does not extend to injuries that are purely emotional or psychological in nature. If your emotional trauma is related to a physical injury, it’s still tax-free. But if there is no corresponding physical injury, you will owe tax on the amount.
There are two other less common situations where your settlement may be taxed:
- Employment-based claims (such as illegal discrimination) where the settlement is for lost wages or back wages. This doesn’t typically apply to injury claims.
- Physical injuries where you already deducted the cost of the injury in a previous tax year. This usually only applies in lawsuits that take place months or years after the initial care happened. If you already wrote the cost of care off as a loss in a previous year, then the compensation you receive will be taxed as a gain.
It’s possible that these situations will only apply to part of your settlement—for example, if you already deducted emergency room costs last year but haven’t yet deducted surgery costs from this year.
What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?
Personal injury lawyers help their clients in three distinct ways:
- Leveling the playing field with the insurance company by providing professional legal advice
- Increasing the amount of money you get for your claim
- Helping you get the right care & the best possible recovery
Many personal injury lawyers refuse to accept any payment unless they win money for you. Typically, they are paid only out of the financial settlement or verdict that they get you—if you don’t win money, you owe nothing.
How do personal injury lawyers level the playing field?
When you have any kind of injury claim, there is typically an insurance company on the other side. This puts you at a disadvantage, because:
- Insurance companies have a large legal department working against you.
- Their incentive is not to help you. It’s to pay you the least money possible.
They will use the law against you and find ways to minimize or avoid paying you. This can include legal loopholes, questionable interpretation of the event that caused your injury, or twisting your own words against you. If you are not a trained lawyer, it’s very hard to file the right documents to fight them—or even, in some cases, to know what evidence will help you most.
But the equation changes when you have a lawyer of your own. Your lawyer is your advocate, using the law to help you get the largest financial recovery possible. They understand the tactics the insurer uses, and how to fight them. In many cases, simply having a lawyer immediately changes the way you are treated by the insurance company.
Does having a personal injury lawyer mean I will win more money?
In some cases it may not, but in many cases it will. This is for several reasons:
- Your lawyer knows how to counter the tactics used by the insurance company—and put them on the defensive
- With a lawyer, you can back up your threat to file a lawsuit if the insurance company will not negotiate
- Personal injury lawyers maximize the amount you get for “pain and suffering”
This last point is major. Much of the money you win, after all, is meant to reimburse your out-of-pocket costs—if you have $10,000 in hospital bills, you could recover $10,000. But pain and suffering is money paid for intangible losses. If your injury has had a profound impact on your life, or put you through a miserable experience, the amount of money you can win as compensation is highly subjective. Normally insurance companies offer very little for pain and suffering, but with a lawyer on your side you can win substantially more.
How do personal injury lawyers help victims recover?
One of the biggest mistakes injury victims make is to keep doctor visits to a minimum, and rush to collect insurance money. This comes with two problems:
- Many injuries have unexpected side effects or long-term consequences that can’t be immediately diagnosed
- If you agree to an insurance offer too soon, you may later discover that it doesn’t cover all of your expenses
A good lawyer will counsel patience. They will help you get in front of a specialist who understands your specific type of injury—and they will help you afford it if you don’t have insurance to cover it. They will also help you through the months it takes to see if treatment is working and that you are truly recovering. Then, when they go on to negotiate an offer with the insurance company, you know it’s for the full amount you need. The result if that you are more likely to recover to the best possible health, and also get all your care paid for.
How Do You Win Your Personal Injury Claim?
While every case is unique, winning any personal injury case will require evidence and some familiarity with the law. It also requires understanding each of the points above and how they affect your case. Let’s look at each point and how to address it in detail.
“Negligence” is the key to virtually all personal injury cases. You aren’t saying the person set out to cause you an injury; you’re saying that they were careless in some way, and their carelessness caused the injury. If you can prove this, you have a strong claim.
Here are examples of negligence in different types of claims:
- Another car hit your car in a parking lot. The driver of the other car wasn’t breaking any laws, but said he didn’t see you because he was looking down at his car radio. Looking at the radio while driving is careless, and his negligence is what caused the accident.
- A drunk driver is speeding down the street while you are legally crossing an intersection. The driver sees you too late and tries to stop but still hits you, causing multiple injuries. The driver was breaking two laws (DUI and speeding) and that’s why you were hurt. It was their negligence, or even recklessness, that caused the injury.
- A store owner opens shop on a rainy day to find that the roof is leaking over the candy aisle. He calls someone to repair the roof, then gets distracted by customers. He never takes the time to put signs out and he doesn’t close the aisle. Later, you slip on a puddle in the candy aisle and break your wrist when you fall. The store owner had good intentions, but was inattentive and forgetful in dealing with the immediate hazard. Thus, it was his negligence that caused the broken wrist.
These are just a few examples. Negligence also applies to medical device companies who don’t address potential safety risks in their products; dog owners who don’t control their animals; and anyone else who doesn’t act with care in regards to the safety of their customers, guests or those around them.
Note that many of these actions involve filing a motion with the courts. For example, you may need a court order to subpoena (request) security camera footage. This is why claims handled by an experienced personal injury lawyer are so much more likely to succeed.
Proving Your Damages
Simply proving who caused the injury isn’t enough. You also need to document the full cost of the injury (known as “damages”), so that the court can see why you deserve the amount you’re requesting. The types of damages you can seek include:
- All immediate and long-term medical costs associated with the injury
- The cost of rehabilitation or physical therapy if necessary
- Money to make up for lost wages from work time you missed
- The cost of physical damages such as car repairs
- Additional compensation to offset any permanent injuries, disabilities, or an inability to work in the future.
Additionally, in some cases you may seek damages for pain that you suffered, particularly physical pain. Emotional trauma is generally viewed with more skepticism by the courts, except where it caused hard costs (the cost of psychological treatment, for example) or is directly associated with a physical injury.
When choosing a figure, it’s important that you don’t just add up your existing bills. Remember, unless you have already made a 100% recovery, it’s hard to predict the cost of future treatment, and there could always be unexpected complications down the line. This is why a good attorney will generally:
- Make sure you see a specialist who is familiar with your specific kind of injuries
- Add in the cost of all secondary or ongoing treatments
- Wait until you have completed some treatment and have seen improvement before putting together a total sum
Dealing with an Insurance Company
Finally, it’s important to bear in mind who is sitting across the table from you in a personal injury suit. It’s almost never the individual driver, homeowner, dog owner, doctor, or business owner involved in your injury. Instead, it will be their insurance company.
Insurance companies fight personal injury lawsuits for a living. In many ways, this is their whole business—staving off liability wherever possible. They have no problem paying a fair settlement when they can clearly see they would lose at court; paying you is cheaper than a court battle, and the cost is built into their business model. But they will not give in to what they see as frivolous or unfounded lawsuits. Unless you can show them that you’re highly likely to win in a courtroom, it won’t be easy to win your case.
Unfortunately, this means more than just gathering the evidence above. Insurers will look for ways to discredit you. They will also use negotiation tactics to try to rattle you into accepting a smaller amount than you really deserve. For example:
- If they call you and start the conversation with, “How are you today?” and you say, “Fine,” they will use this against you.
- If you give them a recorded statement they will find the one sentence that makes it sound like you are less injured than you really are.
- They may offer you fast money before you know the full cost of your injury, hoping you will blindly sign away your right to more.
- They may delay processing your claim or giving you an answer at all, while you face ever-increasing medical bills and become desperate for money.
- In many cases, they will try to blame you for your own injury or even try to portray you as a liar.
It’s very hard to deal with insurers and their lawyer in a calm, level-headed way—and they know this. This is why the best action you can take in any personal injury case is to get a good attorney of your own. Once you do, the insurance company must only speak with your attorney, and you protect yourself from falling into their traps.
How Do I Find A Good Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?
If you need help with your personal injury case, you don’t want to work with just any lawyer. It’s important to find someone who has the experience, specialization, and even the personality that best fits you and your case. You might be wondering how to find a quality personal injury lawyer in your area. Here are the most important things to know to connect with the ideal attorney for your situation.
Look for Relevant Experience
Most lawyers specialize in a certain type of cases, so it’s best to look for someone who focuses on representing victims in personal injury law.
Some attorneys may have the most experience working on these types of cases but representing insurance companies. While they’ll certainly understand personal injury law, they might have an unconscious bias towards the insurance company or not have the have expertise fighting for a victim’s claim.
When you schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer, be sure to ask detailed questions about their experience. Examples of the best things to ask about include:
You can also ask for examples of cases they’ve handled similar to yours and how those cases turned out. This can give you a good idea of how they work and what their track record looks like.
Ask Friends and Family
Sometimes people you know can help you find a good personal injury lawyer near you. Call up friends and family members or ask coworkers or other acquaintances in your local community who have worked with a personal injury attorney. If they say good things about working with a particular lawyer, write down their information and call about a consultation.
While personal recommendations can be helpful in your search, keep in mind you’ll need to do a lot more before making your decision. Just because one lawyer worked well for someone you know doesn’t necessarily mean they are right for your case. But it’s certainly a good place to start.
Consider Any Lawyers You Already Know
If you already know an attorney, whether you know them personally or you’ve worked with them in the past, they could be a good option. It depends on their experience in relation to your case.
Even if you work well with them and they are great at what they do, it’s probably not the best fit if they don’t have much experience representing victims in personal injury cases. You need someone who understands the complexity of personal injury claims.
So, if the lawyer you know is not a good fit, ask them to refer you to someone they know and recommend who does work in personal injury. Attorneys refer cases to one another often, so most will know someone who regularly handles your type of case. But like with recommendations from friends or acquaintances, make sure you schedule a consultation with any attorney your lawyer friend recommends before making a decision.
Directories, Reviews, and Referral Services
While each of these can help guide your search, it’s important to do your own research as well. For example, online reviews don’t always tell the whole story and they depend on the unique experience of each person in relation to their case. In addition, referral services often do minimal screening when recommending a lawyer based on experience.
This is why it’s so crucial to always schedule an initial consultation with personal injury lawyers you’re interested in. Set up a few meetings so you can ask questions and get to know the attorney better yourself.
Scheduling a Consultation
When you show up to the consultation, you should bring information about your case, including copies of all relevant documents like medical bills, the police report, evidence of lost wages, and any communicated with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Be prepared to tell them the details of your case so they can get an idea of what they’d be working on.
Asking about the following factors during your consultation can also help you find the best personal injury lawyer for you.
Ask About Fees
Most personal injury lawyers (like John Foy & Associates) work on a contingency fee basis, which means they don’t get paid you unless they win you money—and their pay comes from a portion of your settlement. Most also offer the consultation for free.
However, find out this information for sure before making any assumptions. When you contact an attorney’s office to schedule the consultation, confirm there is no charge for the consultation. And ask for a breakdown of the lawyer’s fees during the meeting.
Make Sure You Feel Comfortable
This is very important. You should feel comfortable talking to and working with your personal injury lawyer. Pay attention to whether or not they listen to you well and respect your feelings on your case. They should also explain things in a way that makes sense and help you feel confident about the outcome of your case.
The way you and the lawyer interact during the consultation can give you an idea of how it will be working with them throughout your personal injury claim. It should feel like a good fit from the first meeting.
Find Someone Who Wants to Take Your Case
Make sure any personal injury lawyer you choose actually has an interest in taking on your case. There are some situations where a lawyer may be hesitant to take on your case. This could happen if they feel your settlement amount will be too small to cover their overhead costs or they think the odds of winning your case are too small
Ask How Many Cases They’ve Seen to Trial
While most personal injury cases do not proceed to trial, large cases sometimes do—and if an attorney has gone to trial, they will have experience with (and a reputation of taking on) intense cases. Many attorneys advertise that they take on personal injury cases, but they’ve never actually been inside a courtroom. You want someone who doesn’t back down and will fight for the settlement you deserve.
What Type Of Doctor Should I See After A Car Accident?
Personal injuries can range from minor bruising to serious, life-threatening conditions. No matter how severe your car accident injuries are, you need to see a doctor who can properly evaluate and treat you. Plus, if the other driver was at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to compensation from their insurance company. Seeing a doctor helps back up your claim for damages.
Here’s what you need to know about the type of doctor to see after a car accident.
What Type of Treatment Should I Get Right After a Car Accident?
The most important factor after a car accident is your health. A medical professional needs to check out your injuries so you can get the treatment you need. The type of treatment you receive and the doctor you see depends on the severity of your injuries.
Depending on the situation, you may need to see a(n):
Emergency Room Doctor
If your injuries are serious, you will need to see a doctor in the emergency room (ER). Life-threatening injuries should be addressed right away, so call 911 at the scene of the accident if you need an ambulance. Do not delay getting the treatment you need right away.
The ER is also your best option if your accident happens late at night and your injuries worsen soon afterward. An ER doctor will be available at any time of the night, outside of regular clinic office hours.
Urgent Care or Primary Care Doctor
If you do not have life-threatening injuries, plan to see your doctor as soon as possible after the accident. You could drive yourself to an urgent care clinic to get examined and treated. These typically have longer clinical hours than a primary care physician (PCP) and you can walk in without an appointment.
If your injuries can wait long enough to make an appointment, you can call your PCP and tell them you need a physical examination for a car accident. Be warned, however, that many primary doctors will not see someone after a car accident (more on that below).
Tell the doctor how you feel, and mention anything that feels painful or “off.” Let them know if your injuries affect your day-to-day life in any way. They can examine any clear injuries or run a series of tests to check for other problems. An accurate diagnosis will ensure you receive proper treatment.
In some situations, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for additional treatment or testing. This might be because you need surgeries or have specific injuries. Seeing a specialist can improve your treatment timeli
You will also need to be responsible for your treatment for insurance purposes. If you’re making an insurance claim for damages and don’t keep up with doctor’s appointments, the insurance company may claim you aren’t hurt as badly as you say you are. It can hurt your chances of receiving fair compensation.
What if My Primary Care Doctor Won’t See Me After the Accident?
This is actually incredibly common. A lot of doctors will not see car accident victims because they are either:
- Not set up to bill auto insurance companies
- Uncomfortable treating car accident injuries in case they could be called to testify in court
There are still primary care doctors who will treat car accident victims, but they are harder to find than ever. If your PCP’s office tells you that they won’t treat you, call a personal injury law firm like John Foy & Associates. You can speak to a car accident lawyer and they can set you up with a doctor in your area who will treat you.
If you need treatment right away and can’t find a doctor who can help, go to the ER or urgent care. Even if you have to pay out of pocket, the fees are subject to reimbursement from your claim.
Do I Always Have to See a Doctor After an Accident?
Yes. It’s best to see a doctor even if you feel fine. Many car accident injuries are not apparent right away, and they can worsen quickly once they show up. For example, you can have any of the following injuries and not know right away:
- Head and neck injuries, such as whiplash, concussion or brain blood clots
- Injury or damage to back muscles, nerves or ligaments
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal column injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
It can be easy to overlook symptoms like headaches, minor aches, and pains, numbness or swelling, but these can all be signs of something more serious. It’s best to get checked out, just in case.
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