What are the Most Common Types of Personal Injury Claims?

There are hundreds of thousands of personal injury claims that are filed in the United States each year, resulting in billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for claimants. Any type of accident or event that results in compensable losses for an injured person can result in a personal injury action. To be successful, however, the plaintiff must prove that the losses occurred because of the defendant?s negligent or reckless actions or omissions, although there are some cases in which strict liability may apply.

Most Common Types of Personal Injury Claims

There are a number of situations that could give rise to a personal injury action, here are five of the most common:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

By far, the most common type personal injury claim results from some type of motor vehicle or traffic-related accident. There are more than 6 million auto accidents in the United States each year, killing approximately 40,000 individuals and seriously injuring hundreds of thousands more. Vehicle accidents vary widely in type and severity, from your minor rear in collisions to multi-car pileups to everything in between.

Many people who get injured in an auto accident decide to handle the claim on their own, but this could be a big mistake. If it is a minor injury and the insurance company is presenting an offer that seems fair, then it might be okay to accept the offer and move on with life. But in a large number of cases, an injured person is going to be better off working with an attorney.

Statistics show that the average personal injury payout for those who hire a lawyer is more than three times the amount of those who handle a claim on their own. But even if you do not believe your case is worth all that much, it never hurts to at least get a free consultation from a lawyer to have your case assessed and be informed of your legal rights and options.

Premises Liability Accidents

Slips, trips, and falls that happen on someone else?s property are another common reason for a personal injury action. Parties who own and operate a business or maintain a public space are responsible for keeping their property safe and free of any dangerous conditions that might cause harm to visitors. A substandard condition such as a wet or slippery floor could lead to a slip and fall accident. Other premises liability claims might result from dog bites/animal attacks, negligent security, and other hazards.

Medical Malpractice

Very few people realize that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States (behind only heart disease and cancer). According to CNBC, as many as 440,000 individuals die each year because of errors committed by medical professionals to whom we entrust to care for us and our loved ones. When a situation like this occurs, it may be possible to file a medical negligence claim against the doctor and/or hospital that is responsible for the error.

Product Liability

Numerous products come on the market each year, and before they become available to the general public, they are supposed to be properly vetted. Unfortunately, many of these products are approved without confirming that they are safe for consumers during the course of regular use. If a product has not gone through the proper testing and ends up injuring someone who is using it correctly, then it may be possible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or any other party within the product?s supply chain.

Workplace Accidents

Every seven seconds, a worker is injured on the job (according to the National Safety Council). Injuries can happen in any work environment, but there are some industries that are far more dangerous than others. For example, transportation workers drive in their vehicles all day, which greatly increases the chances of an auto accident. Construction is another industry where workers encounter numerous potential hazards on a daily basis.

The first recourse for injured workers to obtain reimbursement for their losses is usually through workers? compensation. Unfortunately, workers? comp benefits are limited, and they do not provide any compensation for noneconomic damages such as physical and emotional pain-and-suffering. That said, there are many workplace accidents that are caused by parties other than the employer, and in such cases, a personal injury claim can be brought directly against the responsible party.

Suffered a Personal Injury in Atlanta? Contact Ross Moore Law for Legal Help

If you or a loved one suffered an injury that was caused by another person or party, you may have a right to significant compensation. Before dealing with any insurance company, call Ross Moore Law today at (404) 905-3146 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment. We are ready to go to work for you!

Who is At Fault for a Multi-Car Accident?

A multi-car accident is one in which three or more vehicles are involved. This is often the result of a chain reaction event where one car collides into the vehicle in front of them, causing one or more of the trailing vehicles to crash into the cars in front of them. A multi-vehicle accident could involve several passenger cars, or there could be commercial trucks and motorcycles involved as well.

This type of event often happens when traffic is moving at a fairly high speed and the drivers do not have enough time to slow down and avoid colliding into the car in front of them. There are other things that can trigger a multi-car event as well, such as a tractor-trailer that jackknifes and blocks several lanes of traffic, leaving nowhere for the approaching vehicles to go.

Determining Liability for a Multi-Vehicle Collision

By their very nature, multi-car accidents are complicated events. There are at least three drivers that are directly involved, and there are also numerous parties other than the drivers who could play a role in the accident.

For example, if there is an 18-wheeler involved, then fault may lie not only with the driver, but potentially with a driver?s employer, the cargo/shipping company that might have overloaded or unevenly loaded the truck, or the party that was supposed to perform maintenance on the truck. A government entity could be involved if the accident resulted from poorly maintained roads, or perhaps a highway construction zone in which drivers were not properly warned to slow down.

Faulty vehicles or vehicle parts could also play a role in a multi-vehicle accident. For example, maybe the lead vehicle had a set of newly installed tires and one of them blew out and caused a chain reaction accident, or maybe the car had a set of newly installed brake pads that failed to stop the vehicle when reacting to a car slowing down in front of them.

Every case is unique, and with so many potential factors at play, an extensive investigation is required in order to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and determine who was to blame. Among the things that may be looked at include:

  • The police report from the accident.
  • Photos from the accident scene showing skid marks, vehicle damage, vehicle debris, and other relevant evidence.
  • The testimony of any individuals that witnessed the event.
  • Any video footage that may be available from dashboard cameras or nearby traffic lights.
  • Phone records that may show that one or more of the drivers was texting at the time of the crash.
  • Records of any other traffic violations (such as speeding, tailgating, or being legally intoxicated) committed by any of the drivers.

If it is a chain reaction multi-car crash, the first car to rear end the car in front of them is often viewed as the one at fault. This is because this driver is usually seen as the one who was most able to avoid the collision. It is not always that simple, however, especially these days with so many people on their cell phones.

For example, the crash could have occurred because the lead driver was completely stopped at a green light (while completely focused on their phone) and did not realize that the light had turned green. The driver that rear-ended them may have assumed that all the vehicles in front of them were moving because the light was green. In a case like this, partial fault may be assigned to multiple parties for their contributions to the crash.

Comparative Fault in Multi-Vehicle Accident Cases

Even if a driver is partially at fault for a multi-car crash, they may still be able to recover damages if the state in which the accident occurs applies some type of comparative negligence standard. Georgia uses a modified form of comparative negligence which allows an injured party to recover compensation as long as they are less than 50% responsible for the underlying accident. However, their damage award is reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault they share. For example, if you sustained $100,000 in losses and you are found to be 30% at fault for the accident, your damages would be reduced by $30,000 down to a total of $70,000.

Another thing you have to think about with these types of cases is the fact that there could be several injured parties and their combined losses could exceed insurance policy limits. This is one of many reasons it is important to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible, so your right to recover maximum compensation can be protected.

Injured in a Multi-Car Pileup in Atlanta? Contact Ross Moore Law for Assistance

If you or someone close to you got hurt in a multi-vehicle accident in Georgia, Ross Moore Law is here to help. call our office today at (404) 905-3146 or message is online for a free consultation and case assessment with our attorney. We look forward to serving you!

How Will My Criminal Record Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

Everyone has made mistakes in their life, and for some, poor judgment has landed them in trouble with the law. It could be a DUI, maybe a minor drug possession charge, or another type of offense. Maybe it was a long time ago, or maybe it was fairly recently.

Does any of this matter when you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit? The short answer is it shouldn?t. But unfortunately, sometimes it does.

If you have been injured because of the negligence or recklessness of another party, you have a right to file a civil claim for monetary damages. Provided your criminal offense was not directly related in any way to the underlying accident or event that caused your injury, then your personal injury claim should stand on its own merits.

Although this is how it should be, the defendant in your lawsuit might still try to use your criminal history against you in order to undermine the credibility of your claim.

Will it work? That depends on how you and your attorney choose to deal with it. And this is one of many reasons why it is so important to be represented by a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who is well equipped to successfully navigate complications like these.

How an Opposing Counsel Might use your Criminal Background Against You

As we touched on earlier, the goal of your opponent in a personal injury lawsuit is to discredit you in hopes that the jury will either dismiss the case or significantly lower the amount of damages that are awarded. To accomplish this, they will look for ways to demonstrate that you are dishonest and therefore anything you tell the jury is highly questionable.

The opposing counsel is most likely to bring up a past criminal offense if it has something to do with fraud – for example, shoplifting, writing a bad check, or trying to pass counterfeit currency. They will argue that a criminal charge like this speaks directly to your credibility.

Before you get too worried about how your criminal record might affect your personal injury claim, it is important to point out that the vast majority of civil claims do not end up in front of a jury. A large percentage of them are settled before they ever get to trial, and many others get settled shortly after a trial begins. If your case does not end up being litigated, then it is highly unlikely that your criminal history will have much impact on it.

All of that said, there are still a number of cases that do go to trial. And on a related note, your attorney should have extensive litigation experience and the proven ability to secure favorable verdicts at trial. Without the credible threat of litigation, the other side will have very little incentive to offer you a reasonable settlement.

Sometimes, defendants are simply not willing to negotiate in good faith. When this happens, there may be no other alternative than to try the case. So, if you do end up in litigation, you need to be prepared to have your criminal history brought up.

How you Can Mitigate the Effects of Your Criminal History

First and foremost, when you are involved with a personal injury claim, you need to be totally honest and upfront with your attorney. The other side has professional investigators who will dig up everything they can to undermine your case, so it will only hurt your claim if you conceal damaging facts and they are later brought up by the other side. It is best to get everything out in the open early on, so your attorney can develop the most effective strategy to deal with anything that might weaken your case.

With regards to a past criminal offense, here are just a couple of ways your attorney might choose to handle it:

  • Take a Proactive Approach: One way you might be able to mitigate the effects of past criminal offenses is to bring them up on your own terms before the other side has a chance to. This way, you can give the jury a proper perspective on what happened, which is more likely to be viewed favorably.
  • Waive a Jury Trial: If you have a more serious offense and it was pretty recent, your attorney might decide to waive your right to a jury trial and have a judge decide your case. Judges tend to be less emotional, and they are more likely to make a ruling on the merits of the case, regardless of someone?s past criminal history.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have you suffered an injury through no fault of your own, do not let a criminal record keep you from pursuing the just compensation you deserve. Having a past criminal offense is not the end of the world, and there are many ways that a skilled attorney can effectively deal with this type of situation. If your injury occurred in Georgia, Ross Moore Law is here to help. Message us online or call our office today at (404) 905-3146 for a free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!