Getting hurt in an accident can be a traumatic ordeal. If someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, they could be liable to you for money damages to cover your pain and losses.
A Winder personal injury lawyer could advise you on the strength of your potential claim depending on the circumstances of the accident. At Smith Hulsey, our legal team is experienced in helping injured people get the compensation they deserve. However, the longer your attorney has to build a negligence case, the stronger it is likely to be, so it is in your best interest to seek professional counsel as soon as possible after your accident.
Negligence is a legal concept that involves people’s responsibilities to one another. There is no specific statute that defines negligence, but well-practiced lawyers are experienced in recognizing it. Generally speaking, people must take reasonable steps to ensure that their behavior does not cause harm to others. Failing to do so could lead to liability and trigger an obligation to pay damages.
There are four elements that must be true for someone to be guilty of negligence. When an injured person—the plaintiff—brings a negligence claim against a defendant, the plaintiff and their attorney must present evidence demonstrating each of these four elements:
The word “duty” in this context is more like “responsibility.” For example, drivers have a responsibility to other motorists to operate their vehicles safely. Doctors have a responsibility to use their best medical judgment when treating their patients. Manufacturers have a responsibility to their customers to produce a product that is safe for ordinary use. Failure to uphold these responsibilities is negligence.
Many accidents result from a combination of factors, and it is not unusual for a plaintiff to be partially responsible for causing an incident. For instance, if someone slips on a spilled liquid in a grocery store and sprains their ankle, the store might be negligent for not promptly mopping up the mess. However, if the injured person was texting instead of watching their step, their negligence also contributed to their accident.
Some states bar a negligent person from collecting damages, even if the defendant was far more negligent than the plaintiff. However, Georgia follows the more generous principle of comparative negligence under Official Georgia Code Annotated §51-11-7. This means that negligent plaintiffs may collect damages from people who were more negligent in causing the injurious accident.
However, it is important to note that a plaintiff’s negligence will impact the amount of damages they can collect. A judge will reduce a negligent plaintiff’s damages by a percentage equal to their degree of responsibility. It is recommended that injured victims in Winder seek a knowledgeable lawyer to further explain comparative negligence laws in the state.
Georgia gives most plaintiffs two years from the date of their injury to bring a lawsuit for personal injuries. In some instances where an injury is not immediately apparent, the law gives a plaintiff two years from the date they discovered or should have discovered the injury. Either way, this is a narrow window for preparing a strong personal injury claim for damages.
A thorough legal professional needs time to investigate an accident, identify potential defendants, interview witnesses, gather records, and do all the work that goes into building a strong case. Even if a person hopes to avoid bringing a lawsuit, a lawyer must still establish the merits of a case with insurance companies to pursue a settlement. As such, it is important to obtain nearby legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident to begin preparing an effective personal injury claim.
Whether you were in a car wreck, suffered a bite by your neighbor’s dog, or fell in your apartment’s parking lot, you may benefit from consulting a seasoned attorney. If someone else’s negligence contributed to your injuries, you could hold them accountable by seeking damages.
Pursuing a civil suit or insurance company settlement on your own may be difficult, as adverse parties will do everything in their power to avoid paying you what you deserve. Let a Winder personal injury lawyer at our firm represent your interests and advocate for your compensation. Call to set up a consultation today.
Smith Hulsey Law