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COMPENSATION AND DAMAGES FAQ
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What types of compensation can a personal injury victim expect?
What are compensatory damages?
Is there a cap on what I can recover?
How are compensatory damages calculated?
What medical expenses can I recover?
What is a reasonable medical expense?
What is a necessary medical expense?
Can I recover for future medical expenses?
How are future medical expenses calculated?
What is a Life Care Plan?
What is considered a pre-existing injury?
Will my pre-existing injury affect the value of my case?
What is aggravation?
What is exacerbation?
Can I still be compensated if I have a pre-existing injury?
How are lost wages calculated?
How do I prove lost wages?
Can I recover lost wages if I'm only partially disabled?
Can I recover lost wages if I'm only temporarily disabled?
Can I recover for future lost wages?
If I'm not employed, can I still recover lost wages?
Pain and Suffering
What is pain and suffering?
What are the types of pain and suffering?
How do I prove pain and suffering?
How is pain and suffering calculated?
What is loss of consortium?
What does loss of consortium include?
How do you prove loss of consortium?
Can children pursue a claim for loss of consortium?
How much is a loss of consortium claim worth?
What are punitive damages?
Can I collect punitive damages?
Comparative Negligence and Apportionment
What is comparative negligence?
What is the difference between contributory and comparative negligence?
What is apportionment of fault?
Why is it important to identify all potential defendants?
Government Benefits and Taxes
Do my disability benefits affect the value of my case?
Do my workers compensation benefits affect the value of my case?
Is my settlement taxable?
Can my settlement affect my eligibility for government benefits?
What is my attorney doing when I first hire him?
Immediately after you hire an attorney, the attorney may be doing several things:
He gathers essential information and forms from you;
He sends out letters of representation (and sometimes preservation notices) to parties and other potential stakeholders in your case;
He begins the investigative process by requesting records , interviewing witnesses, and performing inspections, if required and necessary;
He starts calendaring important follow-up dates, organizing information in the your file, and if needed, researching novel legal issues that they may foresee for your case.
What is my attorney doing when I first hire him?
After hiring an attorney, there are a few things expected out of the client. First and foremost, you should continue to seek the treatment that your physicians recommend.
You should also undertake efforts to preserve any information and records that may be relevant to your case. This could include text messages, social media posts, pictures, clothing, or any other item that could be relevant to your case.
Next, you are expected to keep the attorney updated on your treatment status and changes to your treatment.
Finally, you are expected to be honest and truthful at all times, especially with your attorney.
When does a police officer’s investigative file become available?
A police officer’s file only becomes available after the case has closed. In a car accident case, this may be when any tickets issued or criminal charges asserted are resolved.
For most cases, the officer’s initial incident report is usually available immediately after it is completed.
For other government investigations, such as OSHA investigation, the investigative file likely will not become available for at least four to six months.
How long does it take before a Demand Letter is sent?
A Demand Letter likely will not be sent until the attorney has at least minimum records to support the demand. This means that a demand letter likely will not be sent until the attorney has a copy of the police report and your medical records and bills.
Other records that could support a demand letter include lost wage information, photographs, E911 records, ticket/criminal disposition of the at-fault party, and similar records.
How can I help my attorney keep my case moving?
Unfortunately, there is little a client can do to control the speed that their case is moving. One reason for this is because there are statutory time limitations that neither the client nor their attorney can control.
In Georgia, motor vehicle insurance carriers have sixty days before they are required to disclose coverage information. And, medical providers have thirty days before they are required to disclose medical records and bills. Liability insurance carriers have thirty days to respond to a demand letter, whereas underinsured motorist carriers have sixty days to respond.
Despite the statutory deadlines, these bureaucracies often take longer to do what they’re supposed to do. The best thing a client can do is to promptly keep their attorney informed of any changes in their treatment and work statuses.
Should I deactivate my social media account?
There is no requirement that you deactivate your social media account(s). However, we do advise that you make your account(s) private.
Remember, insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will be looking at your social media account(s). And, they may seek court assistance to access those records, even when your account(s) are private.
Under no circumstance should you ever attempt to delete or sanitize your social media account(s) because this could lead to sanctions by the court. And, anything posted on social media is "permanent" in that just because you delete the post does not mean it's not completely inaccessible. You should never delete any information from your social media while you have a claim pending.
How long does it take to obtain medical records?
In Georgia, medical providers have thirty days to respond to a medical record request from an attorney. In reality, many medical providers and their medical record bureaucracies can take several months to produce records.
What should I do with medical bills that I receive?
Every time a client receives a new medical bill, the client should share it with their attorney. Taking a quick picture with the client’s phone and emailing it to the attorney is an easy and quick way to share it. Remember, an attorney cannot seek compensation for bills he/she does not know exist.