You’ve been injured through no fault of your own, whether it’s by a trip or fall, on the job, or in an auto-accident. You’ve broken a bone, herniated a disk, or your back, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs or any part of your body tingles and hurts, or you hit your head and have aches; What should you do? First, seek immediate medical care. Your first call should not be to a lawyer. Lawyers are not doctors and just as lay people should not give legal advice, lawyers should not give you advice on how to treat your injuries.
That said, you can’t wait forever to seek legal advice. In general, in Georgia you have two years from the date of injury to settle your personal injury claims or file a lawsuit. So, yes, you will need legal advice on what to do next within a reasonable amount of time after you are injured. How soon to seek legal advice can be affected by your injuries, your health insurance status, your age, and other factors. Generally, seeking legal advice within two weeks of being injured is reasonable, whereas waiting six months before talking to an attorney may not be.
Lawyers can and do refer clients who don’t have health insurance but need treatment to medical providers willing to provide services while taking a lien on the client’s personal injury case. When a medical provider agree to take a lien, they are agreeing to wait for payment out of your settlement proceeds when your case settles. If you don’t have health insurance, then that is one very good reason to see a lawyer sooner, rather than later.
There are a lot of law firms out there who claim to represent people who have suffered personal injuries. Here are some questions to help you narrow your potential attorney list and make sure you get the best possible representation:
- Has your firm handled personal injury cases like mine before? How many?
- If we can’t settle my case (either because you are still treating or because the adjuster has made low offers), will your law firm be the one to file a lawsuit on my behalf? Note some of “one call does it all” large personal injury firms will refer out any cases requiring litigation.
- Are you the attorney that will be handling my case and talk to me when I call with questions about my case? Be wary of firms who push client relations off onto paralegals or investigators. These people cannot give legal advice and should not be your main point of contact.
- What is your contingency fee? Is it different if we settle without filing a lawsuit than it is when filing a lawsuit is necessary? Here at The Read Law Firm, we stagger our contingency fee based on the amount of work we put into a case to get it settled or tried. Our percentage is higher once we have thoroughly pursued pre-suit settlement and file your case in court.
- Do you help negotiate my medical bills as part of your service? There are a hundred different prices for the same medical services, and your attorney should try to see if the providers are willing to take a lower amount than what they initially charged.
To discuss your personal injury case with T.K. Read, please call 770-929-8644. If she is not in, she will get back to you as soon as she can.
*Please note, the above is not legal advice. Your reliance on it is at your own risk. Provision of this article as a public benefit does not create a contract between you and the attorneys at The Read Law Firm, P.C. Law changes and the intricacies of a particular case should always be discussed with a competent attorney.
For Articles by Attorneys Richard Read and T.K. Read on Legal Subjects of Interest to the Public, click below:
Records Restriction in Georgia: How to Clear Your Records of Arrests: https://thereadlawfirm.com/?p=297
FIND THE READ LAW FIRM PC at 915 COMMERCIAL STREET
DIRECTIONS TO OUR OFFICES AT 915 COMMERCIAL STREET, CONYERS, GEORGIA:
To get to The Read Law Firm, P.C. take Exit 80, the Conyers, West Avenue Exit, off Interstate 20. If you are going West on I-20, you will turn right onto West Ave. If you are going East on I-20, you will turn left onto West Ave. Proceed down West Ave. until after you cross the Rail Road tracks. Turn right immediately after crossing the tracks onto Rail Road Street. Proceed down Rail Road Street, crossing several streets. Proceed across Center Street into Olde Town Conyers and you will pass the yellow Welcome Center. Park in the parking lot on Rail Road Street as close to the Welcome Center as you can. Immediately across the from Center’s deck there is an alley that cuts from Rail Road Street to Commercial Street. Go down the Alley and take a right on Commercial Street.
For the curious, here’s our beautiful historic office building, inside and out. It was built in the 1800’s, has the original red brick, and was gifted a balcony by the TV series The Originals when they transformed Olde Town Conyers into New Orleans.
I came home from a week at the beach to find the best birthday present ever – my office has been transported to New Orleans!
Well, not transported physically, but transformed, yes.
As part of the set dressing for the CW series, The Originals, my office which used to look like this:
has been bedecked, and now looks like this:
So if you’re driving through Olde Town, Conyers, GA trying to find the Law Offices of TK Read PC, don’t keep going on down the road when you get here. It’s the same building, same quality representation, but now with a little Cajun flair.
For more on the CW series, The Originals, click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Originals_(TV_series)
Settled! Time to box it up!
We settled a major medical malpractice case last week for a substantial award to our client. Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to provide the actual settlement number, but let’s just say it’s a life changer for our client and we count that as a definite win!
After two years of hard work, $30,000.00 + in expenses, and sixteen banker boxes of documents, we get to pack this case up and move it to storage.
For those of you suffering from injuries at the hands of your doctor or other medical professional, please note, that while the law offices of TK Read PC, litigate medical malpractice claims, we have to be very picky about the cases we take. This is because medical malpractice cases in Georgia pretty much never settle prior to being brought to court and in order to file a case here you MUST include an affidavit of a medical professional practicing in the same area as the Defendant with your complaint. This affidavit MUST detail the standard of care the Defendant violated and state that this breach proximately caused the Plaintiff’s injuries. And all of this MUST generally be prepared and filed in court within two years of the date of injury (unless it involves a foreign object left in the body, then within one year after discovery or the injury involves a minor, in which case different time limitations apply).
This is a steep, costly and time intensive burden. Finding an expert with the training, credentials and willingness to testify against a fellow professional within a short period of time requires your attorney to have tenacity, ingenuity and a large bank roll.
Approximately, nine out of ten medical malpractice cases that are filed in court and go to trial result in a verdict in favor of the Defendant Doctor. This isn’t because the doctors have better lawyers, or their patient’s did not suffer significant injuries, but because medical malpractice is hard to prove and juries are reluctant to hold medical personnel responsible.
60% of liability claims against doctors that are filed end up being dismissed without payment and of those going to trial, Plaintiffs win only 10%. The Case for Medical Liability Reform, American Medical Association.
The median medical malpractice jury award is under $500,000. See Medical Malpractice Insurance Claims in Seven State, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), March 27, 2007.
Since it costs on average $20,000.00-60,000.00 in expenses for a Plaintiff to bring their case to trial with the attorney paying expenses up-front and most malpractice cases are taken on a contingency fee (the attorney is paid a percentage of any settlement or award), an attorney has to be very sure he/she can bring the case to a successful conclusion.
As a result of this, we have to analyze a potential medical malpractice case very carefully before committing to it. We are more likely to take your case if:
- It involves death, loss of use of limb or organ, paralysis, stroke, brain injury or other major injury;
- It has medical expenses exceeding $70,000.00;
- It has been less than a year since your injury occurred.
I had a great time yesterday at the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology as a guest speaker at their annual Career Day! The turn out for my presentation was a lot larger than I had expected, with thirty-nine 9th through 12th graders in attendance.
I was greatly relieved that I’d opted to bring the BIG bucket of left-over Halloween candy to pass around and had a power point and other visuals. The teens were very well mannered and asked some really great questions at the end. They were particularly interested in how a solo practitioner concentrating in personal injury, domestic and business law spends a typical day at the office.
It’s hard not to envision a bright future for all of us after interacting with kids like these!