Q: Why do I need an attorney?
A: A personal injury claim may be more complicated than you realize. If you have been injured as a result of the negligence of another person, whether it be a car, motorcycle, truck, or bike accident; or medical malpractice; or any other type of accident, you are well advised to seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney. At Frank Harris Law we provide free, no risk case consultations to injured persons and their families.
Q: What if I’ve already tried to handle my case by myself?
A: More often than not, our new clients have begun the claims process themselves, and have found it stressful and burdensome, or they simply cannot afford to pay out of pocket for the medical treatment they need, and for that reason they seek our assistance. Once we are retained by a client, we immediately begin gathering the requisite information and immediately inform the insurance carriers to direct all communication to our office. It is our goal to alleviate as much stress as we can for our clients. That way they can concentrate on getting healthy again.
Q: The insurance company said I don’t need an attorney—is that true?
A: It is important to remember that your interests and the interests of the insurance company are not the same. (And there may be more insurance companies involved than you realize.) While it is illegal for a non-attorney, such as an insurance adjuster, to provide legal advice, they often do so anyway, and the advice they give will generally only be good for the insurance company – not for you. You should always seek an opinion from a personal injury lawyer to get an unbiased legal opinion regarding your case and your rights. At Frank Harris Law we provide free, no risk case consultations to injured persons and their families.
Q: What damages can I recover?
A: This depends largely on (1) the type of case and (2) the damages sustained. The cost of past and future medical treatment is recoverable, along with all past and future lost wages. You can also recover “general damages.” These may include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and inconvenience associated with the injury. In some cases, we can recover “punitive damages,” for our clients – extra money damages which are intended to punish the wrongdoer. These are usually limited to cases where the wrongdoer’s actions were intentional or reckless, such as accidents caused by drunk drivers. In auto collision cases, you may also be entitled to recover for the damage to your vehicle. This includes money for “loss of use” during the time your vehicle was out of commission while it was being repaired.
Q: Is my case big enough for a lawyer to handle?
A: At Frank Harris Law we handle small, medium, large, and very large damage cases. Our injury cases range from soft tissue injury auto accident cases to catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. We can handle any personal injury cases resulting from negligence. We are happy to review any case free of charge. We provide free, no risk case consultations to injured persons and their families.
Q: Will the information I share with you be confidential?
A: Absolutely. The information you share with us is protected by the attorney-client privilege and will remain confidential. This protection will apply even when our legal representation terminates or if you do not retain our firm. Because your communications with us are privileged, it is important that you fully disclose to us all the relevant facts about your personal injury claim (such as prior injuries) so that we can accurately assess your case. This is very important – as you can imagine, we do not want the opposition to catch us by surprise in the middle of your case!
Q: Are there deadlines to file a lawsuit?
A: The timeframe that you have to file a lawsuit is referred to as the Statute of Limitations. If you fail to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, your case will be forever barred. For most personal injury actions in Georgia, such as auto accidents or medical malpractice, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. However, with respect to claims against governmental entities, such as counties or cities, the statute of limitations is much shorter. Due to the time-sensitive nature of personal injury claims, you should immediately contact an attorney regarding your injury.
Q: What should I bring with me for my meeting with a lawyer?
A: You should bring any documents you have that are related to your injury. For example, with respect to an auto accident, you should bring any of these that you have: the police or incident report; a copy of your automobile insurance policy (or the coverage card or the declarations page, if that is all you have); photographs of your automobile; photographs of your injuries; copies of medical records and bills for treatment related to the accident; correspondence from any insurance companies involved; estimates and repair records and receipts for your automobile: receipts for towing and car rental: and any wage loss information. During your meeting with us, we will make photocopies of all of your documents so that you can keep them for your records. We will also provide you with checklists for any other information that we may need from you.
Q: How much will I have to pay Frank Harris Law at the conclusion of my case?
A: We work for you on a contingency fee, meaning that if we do not win, we do not get paid. We do this because we understand that most injury victims cannot afford to pay an attorney by the hour. There are no up-front costs or fees with us.
Q: Do I have to pay for my initial meeting with you?
A: Absolutely not. Frank Harris Law never charges for personal injury consultations. All client consultations to discuss a potential claim are absolutely free. If you feel you have a potential claim, please call our office at 678-483-8657 to set up your free consultation and case evaluation.
Q: What types of cases does Frank Harris Law handle?
A: We handle cases involving Serious Personal Injuries and Wrongful Deaths, including those caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents, Tractor-Trailer Accidents, , Motorcycle Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Pedestrian Accidents, Bus Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Boating Accidents, Dangerous Premises, Slip & Falls, Dog Bites, as well as other types of personal injuries.
Q: Is it possible to sue a county or city?
A: Yes. Cities and counties are liable for their negligent acts as well as the negligent actions of their employees. However, claims involving cities and counties involve different statutes of limitations. And if you miss that deadline your claim may be completely barred. Be sure to consult with us to see if your claim involves a city or county. At Frank Harris Law, we can help you recover compensation for any injuries caused by the negligence of a city or county or their employees.
Q: I was injured through someone else’s carelessness; what should I do?
A: If you were injured through someone’s careless or negligent action, you may have a claim. It is important to consult with us to determine if your injury was caused by the negligent actions of someone else. Try to find out if there are any witnesses, and document the incident with photographs. Make sure to get contact information for the responsible party, as well as any witnesses. This information will help should you later present a claim for your injuries.
Q: I was injured on someone else’s property; can you help?
A: If you have been injured because of a dangerous condition on someone’s property, you may have a claim to recover compensation for those injuries. Property owner (or their tenants) have a duty to warn of dangerous conditions on their property and to make their property reasonably safe. As with any personal injury claim, the most important thing you can do is find an experienced attorney to help you preserve your evidence and protect your rights. Often a delay in retaining an attorney can adversely affect your claim.
Q: I was injured by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or hospital employee; what should I do?
A: If you believe you were injured by negligence or malpractice during the course of any medical treatment by a doctor, nurse, or other medical provider, you may be entitled to compensation. The issue is whether the provider failed to meet the “standard of care” for their profession; and under Georgia law, ordinarily only another professional in the same field can testify whether such negligence occurred. Medical malpractice claims can be remarkably complex. Contact Frank Harris Law at 678-483-8657, and let us evaluate your case.
Q: I was hurt by taking a prescription drug; what should I do?
A: If you have taken a prescription drug (or over-the-counter medication) and believe the product has caused you to experience serious adverse side effects or serious injury, you may be entitled to compensation for the injury. The first thing you should do is preserve all the evidence. This means keeping all medical records, receipts, prescriptions, packaging and anything else related to the drug, including whatever is left of the drug itself. Do not give the remaining drug or packaging to your doctor, pharmacist, drug manufacturer or insurance company. Secondly, you should contact Frank Harris Law to evaluate your case and guide you through your options in bringing a claim.
Q: My baby was born with a serious injury, do I have a case?
A: You may have a case. Terribly tragic injuries can happen during a birth. And sometimes the injury is caused by negligence or malpractice. When this is the case, the pain and suffering and financial burden it causes can be eased by an award that compensates you for the full consequences of the injury and its long-term effects. The first step when dealing with a tragedy like this is to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Q: Who brings a claim on behalf of children that are hurt?
A: Usually it is the parents or guardians who present a claim for their child. We have extensive experience with injury cases or wrongful death claims involving children and understand the complexities of negotiating and litigating these types of cases.
Q: I was involved in an automobile accident, what should I do?
A: 1) Get treatment if needed. If you are in pain, go to a medical doctor, chiropractor, urgent care or ER as soon as possible. Your health is the most important thing. Be proactive about getting a proper diagnosis and obtaining medical treatment for your injuries. Do not delay!
2) Next, report the accident to your auto insurance carrier and the other driver’s insurance carrier. But – and this is very important – until you have consulted an attorney, do not give a recorded statement to any insurance carrier. Not even your own insurer. A recorded statement made before you have spoken with an attorney may backfire on you later, no matter who you give it to.
3) Call Frank Harris Law at 678-483-8657 for a free, no risk case consultation.
Q: I don’t want to go to court. Can you still help me?
A: Of course. In fact, most clients want to avoid going to court if possible. We do our very best to get you a reasonable settlement before filing a lawsuit. And most cases settle without the necessity of a trial.
Q: How do you determine the value of my claim?
A: This depends on consideration of all circumstances involved. At Frank Harris Law, we have successfully negotiated many, many claims, and rely on our decades of experience to ensure our clients obtain a fair settlement.
Q: Will the person who caused my injury be punished?
A: The person who caused the injuries typically is not punished. Defendants in civil actions for personal injury do not receive jail time or criminal fines as punishment. Those are common criminal sentences; but personal injury cases are civil actions which do not include jail time. However, in some cases, juries and courts can award additional money damages, which are called “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are designed to punish defendants who have behaved recklessly or intentionally against the public’s interest. The goal in ordering the payment of punitive damages is to discourage such defendants and others from engaging in the same kind of harmful behavior in the future. One of the most common situations where punitive damages may be available is when a person is injured by a drunk driver.
Q: What if I can’t prove someone’s negligence caused my injury? Is there any other basis for personal injury liability besides negligence?
A: Yes; when defective products or dangerous animals cause harm, persons or companies may be held “strictly liable” even if they have not acted negligently or with wrongful intent. Under strict liability, a person injured by a defective or unexpectedly dangerous product, for instance, may recover compensation from the maker or seller of the product without showing that the manufacturer or seller was actually negligent. The theory behind imposing strict liability on those conducting such activities is that these activities pose an undue risk of harm to members of the community. The people who create certain risks are held accountable for the harm they cause. We can evaluate your case and can help you recover compensation for any injuries caused by defective products or dangerous animals.
Q: What is “negligence?”
A: Negligence is simply the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm to others. A person is negligent if he or she does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation.
Q: What if a person is killed, or dies before they can bring a personal injury claim?
A: This is referred to as a “wrongful death.” Spouses, parents, children, siblings, and grandparents can have a claim for wrongful death against the responsible parties. The relationship with the deceased person will decide who brings the claim. The types of damages that can be sought depending on that relationship are: financial support that the survivor(s) would have received; value of household services that would have been provided by the decedent; loss of consortium (which includes loss of companionship, affection, love, care, comfort, and even sexual relations) for the surviving spouse; and funeral and burial expenses. Because the loss of a loved one can completely alter the life of the surviving family, it is important to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to recover the fair compensation you deserve.
Q: Do I still have a claim if my health insurance paid my medical bills?
A: Absolutely. Most injured persons do not realize that they are entitled to the full value of their medical treatment—the actual cost of the treatment, not just their co-pay or deductible. This is true even if those bills have been paid by your health insurance. Often times, liability insurance carriers attempt to reduce an injury victim’s damages by offering to just pay their “out of pocket” expenses, even though the insurer knows that it is responsible for much more.
Q: Do I have to reimburse my health insurer out of my settlement?
A: It depends. Health insurers are subject to complicated reimbursement laws. And the rules are different (and even more complicated) where bills have been paid by Medicare or Medicaid. If there are any liens or other claims for reimbursement related to your medical care when the case concludes, we will analyze the validity of those claims, and whenever possible we will request a waiver or negotiate reduced payment of those claims, pursuant to the laws protecting injury victims.