How Long Does it Take to Reach a Personal Injury Settlement?

People who have been injured because of another person’s negligence may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages by filing a personal injury lawsuit. But some people who may be entitled to this compensation choose not to pursue legal action against the negligent party. Why? Because of the belief that personal injury cases will drag on and on. But how long does it really take to reach a personal injury settlement? Well, it depends.

What factors can delay your case?

An attorney will not know the total value of your personal injury claim until you have either fully recovered from your injuries or reached the point of maximum medical improvement, which means that while you are not back to the state you were in prior to the injury, no further improvements are expected. Personal injury cases are often delayed as the attorney waits for you to complete treatment so he can accurately estimate how much compensation you should ask for to cover your current and future medical expenses.

If your attorney has asked for a large settlement, the case will likely take longer to complete. Insurance companies will not simply sign a check for the full amount you request. They will have to do their due diligence to confirm who is liable for the injuries, investigate the extent of your injuries, and look into your credibility. This can take months to complete, and many insurance companies will purposely try to draw out this part of the case in an attempt to get you to give up and accept a lower offer.

Personal injury cases can also be delayed if the insurance company is questioning whether their policyholder is truly at fault. Attorneys will often have to call upon reliable witnesses, accident reconstruction specialists, and subject-matter experts to prove liability in these situations.

How can you speed up the process?

Attorneys can drastically shorten the time it takes to reach a personal injury settlement, but it means accepting a lower settlement than what you may be able to get if you continue the negotiations. It’s never recommended that you agree to a low settlement just to close the book on your case, so try to be patient as your attorney continues to fight on your behalf.

Every case is unique, so it’s difficult to put a timeframe on when you will be able to reach a settlement. It’s important to note that you should never trust a law firm that promises you a case will be settled in a certain number of days. These law firms are only interested in settling quickly and moving on to the next client, so they should not be trusted with your case.

Don’t let your fear of a drawn out personal injury case stop you from pursuing the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, speak at once with an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia. Contact Frank Harris today by sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or visiting our website at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com. If you’d prefer to speak to someone over the phone, call our offices at 678-483-8655.

Safest Cars on the Road

According to the National Safety Council, over 38,000 people were killed in car accidents in 2015. Many of these car accidents could probably have been prevented by avoiding distractions, following all rules of the road, and of course, driving safer vehicles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety releases an annual list of the safest cars available for motorists. Some of the makes and models that made the 2017 list include:

1) Small Cars

The IIHS named 16 different vehicles in this category of the safest small cars of 2017. One of these cars is the 2017 Chevrolet Volt, which scored high in head restraints, roof strength, and overall crashworthiness. However, this vehicle did not receive top scores across the board. It was given a “marginal” rating in the “ease of use of child seat” category.

2) Midsize Cars

Sixteen cars also made the list in the midsize car category, including the 2017 Nissan Altima. This vehicle scored high ratings in part because of its recent redesign, which strengthened the door sill, hinge pillar, and footwell to provide additional protection to passengers in a collision.

A redesign of the side airbags helped the 2017 Toyota Camry rank high on this list; however, testers did not give top marks to this car’s child seat anchors. Researchers commented that the lower anchors were placed too deep into the seat, which made it difficult to install a car seat.

3) Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs)

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport was listed as a top safety pick among all SUVs. However, this vehicle received a “poor” rating for its headlights. The testers found no issues with the high beams, but said the low beams created an excessive glare that could be dangerous for other drivers on the road.

Another SUV on the list is the 2017 Kia Sportage, which performed well in crash tests, but also scored low in the quality of headlights. Researchers found that visibility was poor while using the low beams and driving around curves, which could be risky for people who regularly drive on this type of road.

4) Luxury Cars

Volvo is known for its high safety standards, so it’s no surprise that the 2017 Volvo S60 was one of many vehicles from this manufacturer that made the list. This vehicle performed well during crash testing, and even scored a “superior” rating for its front crash prevention because of its optional collision warning and pedestrian detection features.

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 also made the list of safe luxury vehicles, in part because of the head protection provided to the driver and passenger dummies during a collision.

If you plan on purchasing a new vehicle in 2017, keep this list handy so you can make a safe, smart decision for you and your family.

Accidents happen—even if you are driving in one of these vehicles. If you have been involved in a car accident, don’t hesitate to get help from an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia. The quicker you reach out to attorney Frank Harris, the sooner he can begin fighting for you to receive the compensation you deserve. Email info@frankharrislaw.com or call 678-483-8655 today to schedule a free consultation. You can also contact us via our website, www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.

Most Common Car Seat Mistakes

Parents will do anything in their power to keep their kids safe, but sometimes the exact item they purchased to protect their children—a car seat—will end up causing harm. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that 95% of parents tested were not using car seats correctly. Where do parents go wrong? Here are some of the most common car seat mistakes:

1) The child is facing the wrong direction.

Parents used to follow the “1 year or 20 lbs.” rule, meaning a child could ride facing forward once he reached 1 year of age or 20 lbs. However, it is now recommended that parents wait until children are at least two years of age prior to letting them face forward in a car seat.

2) The car seat is too loose.

It’s also common for parents to fail to tightly install a car seat. Luckily, this problem can be easily avoided by performing a simple test to determine if the seat is too loose. Once the safety belt has been pulled through the car seat, try to move the car seat back and forth to see how much wiggle room is available. Car seats should never move more than one inch forward, backward, or to either side.

3) The seat is not placed at the proper angle.

Positioning your rear-facing baby at the right angle in his car seat is imperative for safety purposes. If you do not recline your baby enough, his chin may bump into his chest, which makes it difficult for him to breathe properly. A slight incline also protects your baby’s fragile spinal cord in the event of a car accident. Typically, car seats should be at a 45-degree angle, however some car seats come with different recommendations depending on your baby’s weight. That’s why it’s so important to read the car seat manual to see how to position the car seat.

4) The straps are too loose.

Parents often worry about making their baby uncomfortable with a tightly fitted strap, but they should also worry about putting their baby in harm’s way with straps that are too loose. To test whether a car seat strap is too loose for your child, put your child in the car seat and try to pinch the strap near your baby’s shoulders. If you are able to grab any of the strap between your thumb and forefinger, you need to tighten it so there is no slack.

The next time you travel with your baby, make sure you are not making any of these common car seat mistakes so you can keep your child safe on the road.

If you or your baby has been injured in a car accident, contact Georgia personal injury attorney Frank Harris right away. Frank Harris works tirelessly on behalf of his clients to ensure they receive the compensation—and justice—they deserve. Contact his office today by calling 678-483-8655 or sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also visit us online at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.

Who is Liable When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?

On May 7, 2016, a tractor trailer made a left turn in front of a self-driving Tesla car that failed to brake in time to avoid a collision. The incident marked the first time in history that a vehicle operated completely by computers, radar equipment, and sensors was involved in a fatal accident. It also raised a lot of questions about the future of liability on the roads. If self-driving cars increase in popularity as expected, who will be responsible when they are involved in car accidents?

Although these cars are designed to eliminate the need for a human driver, manufacturers have made it clear in their terms and conditions that the human driver must stay focused while behind the wheel even though the they are not technically driving the car. For example, Tesla customers must sign a release agreeing to keep both hands on the steering wheel while using a self-driving car. General Motors will require drivers of their future self-operating car to remain focused on the road and ready to begin driving in certain situations, such as bad weather. These contracts are intended to protect manufacturers from liability in the event of an accident, but will they be enough?

It’s predicted lawmakers will hold manufacturers accountable because they are choosing to market these cars as a replacement for human drivers. Lawmakers will likely argue if the cars are designed to replace human drivers, liability should be transferred from the driver to the manufacturers of the car.

You would think manufacturers would be resistant to take on this burden, but the opposite may be true. Some industry experts believe manufacturers will gladly accept liability in accidents involving self-driving cars. Why? For starters, there is reason to believe accident rates will be much lower than they are now, so the costs will not be astronomical.

Car manufacturers may also conclude that accepting liability will go a long way in winning customers over. From a marketing perspective, taking the blame for accidents shows customers the confidence these manufacturers have in their self-driving cars. A survey done in 2016 showed 55% of consumers are not willing to ride in a self-driving vehicle. Based on these results, building consumer confidence by accepting liability may be the marketing strategy that manufacturers need to win over those who are still reluctant to try this new technology.

Shifting the liability from the human driver to the car manufacturer would also mean major changes to the car insurance industry. Consumers would no longer have to shop for the best car insurance rate or deal with the hassle of negotiating with insurance companies following an accident. Instead, drivers would simply purchase coverage when they buy a self-driving car.

No decisions have officially been made regarding liability in these accidents. However, the family of a driver who was killed in a self-driving car accident in China is suing car manufacturer Tesla for damages. It’s possible the outcome of this case could affect how the United States handles similar issues moving forward.

If you were involved in a car accident, it can be difficult to determine who was at fault. Georgia personal injury attorney Frank Harris can investigate the details of your case to identify the liable party. Then he will fight to recover the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost wages. But first you have to make the call. Contact Frank Harris by phone at 678-483-8655 or email info@frankharrislaw.com to schedule a consultation today. You may also visit our website, www.FrankHarrisLaw.com, to learn more about our services.

What You Need to Know if You Have Been Injured in a Store or Business

You never expect to encounter danger when you walk into a local store or business, but accidents happen. Customers can easily slip on a puddle of water on the floor, fall on flimsy stairs, or trip over carpeting that has not been properly installed. These accidents are known as “slip and fall” incidents, and unfortunately they are rather common. If you ever injure yourself while in a store or business, here’s what you should know:

1) The property owner is not automatically held liable.

Property owners have a legal obligation to maintain their property so customers and other visitors do not injure themselves. However, that does not mean they are always held liable for injuries. The property owner may be held liable if it can be proven he knew about the dangerous condition that led to the injury, but did nothing to fix it. He may also be held liable if the injured person is able to show that either the property owner or one of the employees caused the safety hazard. For example, if a security camera shows an employee spilling liquid on the floor and then walking away from it without cleaning it, the property owner would likely be liable. Even if the property owner was unaware of the issue, he can be held liable if it can be proven a reasonable person would have known about the issue and taken steps to repair it.

2) It’s challenging to define “reasonable” in these cases.

How can an attorney prove a reasonable property owner would have known about the hazardous condition? It depends. In some cases, an attorney can show the safety hazard was present for such a long period of time that a reasonable person would have known about it. An attorney may also be able to prove the property owner did not have a standard procedure for inspecting his property for potential safety hazards, but a reasonable person would.

3) You may be partially to blame.

An insurance company may try to say you are partially to blame for the slip and fall accident. For example, if the puddle was clearly marked with a “Wet Floor” sign but you slipped anyway, the property owner may not be at fault. Slip and fall victims can also be partially to blame if they were distracted at the time of the accident. In this situation, the property owner may be able to argue a careful person who was not distracted would have been able to avoid the safety hazard.

4) You may be entitled to compensation.

If the property owner is at fault for your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Compensation in slip and fall cases is never a guarantee, but an experienced personal injury attorney can increase your chances of recovering what you deserve. If you have been injured in a store or business, contact Frank Harris as soon as possible after the accident to discuss your legal rights. Schedule a consultation today by calling 678-483-8655 or sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com. For more information regarding our services, or to contact us online, visit www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.

Tips for Staying Safe on the Road

Did you take a road trip to see friends or family members over the holidays? If so, you weren’t alone. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports about 91% of long-distance holiday travel is made by car as opposed to in a plane or train. But because there is an increase in cars on the road during the holidays, more accidents tend to occur. If you were involved in a car accident, it has probably left you shaken up—especially if you were injured in the crash. To avoid getting into another car accident, follow these tips next time you hit the road:

1) Have your car inspected prior to leaving.

Take your vehicle in for an inspection before leaving on your trip. A mechanic can check for low tire pressure, issues with the brakes, or a dying battery so you don’t run into any issues once you head out.

2) Check the weather.

Weather can be unpredictable, so it’s recommended you frequently check the forecast before and during your trip. If your route has you headed towards a patch of bad weather, pull off of the road and find a safe place to stay until it passes.

3) Let your friends and family know you’re driving.

If you’re on your way to meet friends or family, you may start to receive a number of text messages and phone calls from people who are excited to see you. But, using a smartphone can distract you from the road and put you in danger—plus, it’s illegal in the state of Georgia. Prevent distracted driving by letting friends and family members know you will be unavailable because you are driving.

4) Take your time.

You may feel pressure to make it to your destination quickly so you can maximize your time with loved ones, but it’s important to slow down and relax. Don’t try to speed to make up for time you lost sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Not only is speeding illegal, but it’s dangerous too.

5) Plan ahead.

If you are going out with friends and plan on drinking, make arrangements to stay with a friend or find a designated driver who can bring you to the event. If you don’t plan ahead but find yourself drinking anyway, call a taxi or Uber. Paying for a ride home may be an unexpected expense, but that shouldn’t stop you from making a responsible decision

Even careful drivers can be involved in car accidents caused by negligent drivers. If you are injured in a car accident, don’t wait any longer to get legal assistance from Georgia personal injury attorney Frank Harris. Mr. Harris has over three decades of experience representing victims in personal injury cases. To schedule a consultation, contact him today by visiting www.FrankHarrisLaw.com or sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also call 678-483-8655 to speak with someone in our office right away.

The Seat Belt Sign

It’s a common story: a person is in an accident, but feels fine at the scene and declines medical care. Later, the person discovers that she is more injured than she first believed.

One of the most common but most overlooked signed of trauma is the “seat belt sign,” a cut, bruise, or soreness on upper body where the seat belt crosses the torso. The “seat belt sign” is an important indicator of trauma that might not be otherwise apparent after an accident.

Seat belts are the most important and efficient safety system in an automobile. When worn correctly, seat belts reduce fatalities and serious injury by up to 50%. The unintended but potentially lifesaving results of seat belts are the abrasions they can leave after an accident. The presence of a “seat belt sign,” characterized by cuts, brushing or soreness across the path of the seat belt, indicates an much higher risk of internal abdominal injury. Because internal abdominal injuries are not otherwise visually apparent at the scene of the accident, this can be an important clue for follow-up care.

In particular, if a person has an abrasion across on  the neck, chest, or abdomen, that person has a 30% chance of having suffered an internal injury. The evidence is particularly strong in children who have a seat belt sign, as it is also highly correlative with internal injuries requiring immediate medical attention.

For this reason, a “seat belt sign” can be helpful proving the extent of injuries in an accident, particularly if those injuries were not first apparent at the scene. If you have a visual “seat belt sign” after an accident, it may be advisable to seek medical attention, even if you initially felt fine. Documenting the “seat belt sign” and other physical injuries as soon as possible after an accident can help show the extent of your injury should you ever need to make a claim for compensation.

At Frank Harris Law our experienced, compassionate staff are skilled in handling even the most complex of cases. If you have been involved in an accident, do not wait to get the help you deserve. Call our office at (678) 483-8655 or email us at info@FrankHarrisLaw.com in order to schedule a consultation today. You can also visit our website at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.

 


 

How to choose a personal injury attorney

If you have been injured in an accident you may wonder how you can find an attorney you trust. The personal injury attorneys who deliver the best results often have a few qualities in common:

1) A good personal injury attorney will have experience with insurance companies

You may not deal with insurance companies every day, but your lawyer should. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who has seen countless accidents and insurance settlements places you at an advantage. Because that attorney has likely seen a case like yours, an experienced attorney will be able to give you an accurate idea of what you can expect the process to look like going forward and an idea of what your case is worth.

When it comes to getting a fair deal for your injury claim, insurance companies specialize in making your life more difficult. Hiring an attorney who knows how to deal with insurance companies can make your life far less complicated.

2) A good personal injury attorney will have a reputation for client satisfaction.

Not all attorneys communicate with clients in the same way. Finding an attorney who you will keep you up to date as your case progresses can save you the stress of wondering what is happening with your case and what you can expect next. This is why reputation matters. When asking for a referral to a personal injury attorney, consider asking what that attorney’s reputation is like among his clients. If the answer is anything other than that the client would hire him again for a future case, keep looking.

3) A good personal injury attorney will know the law and the courtroom.

These days, most personal injury cases are resolved well before trial. Nevertheless, it still pays to have any attorney who is able to expertly navigate a courtroom. The fact that your attorney is ready and willing to pursue litigation can be a powerful force for an insurance company to settle fast and fairly.

If you have been injured in an accident, hiring an attorney should be a priority. Finding a good personal injury attorney can be easier if you know what to look for.

If you have been injured in an automobile crash, Georgia personal injury attorney Frank Harris knows how to help. As a former attorney for insurance companies, Frank Harris puts his years of experience to work on behalf of injured people to help you get the compensation you deserve. Our office is experienced in both the law and the courtroom and has a stellar reputation for client satisfaction. Call our office now at (770) 499-7989 or contact us at info@FrankHarrisLaw.com and see what a difference an experienced and compassionate attorney can make. You can also visit our website at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.