How Long does a law suit take? This video teaches and informs its audience to understand the length of a lawsuit

How long does a lawsuit take?

One of the most common questions from our clients is, "How long will a lawsuit take?" There are many factors which determine how long a lawsuit may take to be settled. The first factor is in which court the lawsuit will be filed. In Georgia there are really two types of courts for injury claim, (1) Magistrate Court or (2) State or Superior Court. Magistrate Court at the time of this blog is for cases where the recoverable amount is less than $15,000. The benefits of Magistrate Court are it is a lot faster, usually the case is resolved three to four months after filling, and the work is generally more informal and less complicated. State or Superior Court has no limit on the recoverable amount. The downside of State or Superior Court is this court is more expensive and take much longer. The reason it takes longer is due to the discovery and trial process.

The process begins with a complaint being filed. A complaint is a document that basically says these are allegations and this is what we are entitled to recover. The answer comes about a month later from the defendant. An answer is a response to the lawsuit with a defense, reasons why the defendant is not responsible for paying items to the plaintiff. Once this stage is complete, the case is sent to discovery. Discovery can take six month or sometimes even longer. In this process, the parties share questions, information, documents, and they also take depositions.

Depositions are statements that are often recorded by a court reporter to come up with a transcript that can be referenced later. Depositions help everyone learn what witnesses and parties saw, their opinions, and certain facts about the case. Discovery can also take up to six months or longer. After the discovery period ends, the parties talk about expert testimony if needed. Then the court sets the case for trial. Even though the parties ask for a trial does not mean the trial will happen right away. Trial courts are busy and can have thousands of cases pending especially in State or Superior Court. Often when a civil case gets put on for trial, it gets put on the bottom of the list and then the parties have to wait for their turn as number one. The number can vary greatly. Once it's your turn you show up to court and the trial begins. trials can take hours, sometimes weeks, and even months to finish.

Another factor is if the case is decided by a judge or a jury. Jury cases tend to take longer due to having to finding, picking, and striking the jury. In the end, State or Superior Court is worth it if the case has value that is worth filing. If we can help you with your case, or answer questions for you, please give us a call.

In this video the Gwinnett accident lawyer discusses what to expect with your personal injury claim

What can you expect with a personal injury claim?

 

What can you expect with a personal injury claim

What can you expect with a personal injury claim and how long is this going to take? The first thing we’re going to do is we are going to set up all the insurance claims with every insurance coverage which could apply for your particular case. We are going to call, talk to the insurance company, and prepare them for what is to come, but we are not going to talk any settlement at that point.

The next thing that’s going to happen is you are going to continue to get your medical treatment.  We are going to call and check in with you about every two to three weeks and see how you are feeling, see what the doctors are telling you, and see how the treatment is progressing. We are going to take really good notes in our system of what’s going on, and we are going to keep the insurance company up to date. We are not going to talk any settlement until you totally get released because once we settle, we cannot go back. And so what we need to do is wait until you are totally done treating before we start talking settlement. Once you tell us that you are completely done with your medical treatment, we will get copies of your medical records. Unfortunately, that can be a slow process. It usually takes about 30 to 60 days to get your medical records. 

Once we get all your medical records in the office, we do a full review of every page of those records, comb through them, every detail, and we put together what’s called a demand package. A demand package is about a seven to eight page letter that talks about you, your accident, the case, and how the injury affected you. Then what we do is we sent that off to the insurance company after you and I have had a discussion about the value of the case. Once we’ve had that discussion and we send the demand, the insurance company legally has 30 days to respond to our first offer.

Once we get their response, we have another discussion, about the offer and value your case.  Then, we do about a month of negotiation. Sometimes it can take longer, sometimes it can take less time. In most cases, at that point, we can come to a resolution or a settlement of the case. But for some cases, we have to file what’s called a lawsuit because there is some sort of dispute and liability or we just can’t come to an agreement on the value of the numbers. In those cases, a lawsuit can take substantially more time, generally up to two to three years. We discuss that in another video. But for most cases, our firm is able to settle before we ever file a lawsuit. 

How long a case going to take depends on how long it takes you to feel better. For some of our clients, they could take maybe three to four months, but for some of our clients, it could take two to three years. It just depends on how long it takes the doctor to release you from the care from that date. If I can ever answer any questions about your specific case, please do not hesitate to give me a call.

the Gwinnett accident lawyer discusses How to know if you have a dog bite case

How to Know if you have a Dog Bite Case?

As the Gwinnett County Accident lawyer, some of the worst injuries we see are dog bites, particularly with children. How do you know if you have a Gwinnett County dog bite case? Well, the first thing to ask yourself is were you bit by someone else's dog? If someone else's dog bit you or someone you love, then you might have a dog bite case. Georgia has very complex dog bite laws. There are really two ways that you can win your dog bite case.

The first way to win your dog bite case is if you were bit by somebody else's dog off of their property and the dog was not on a leash. Most counties and cities have what are called leash laws. Leash laws require dogs to be on a leash any time that dog is off the owner's property. If you have a free running dog, maybe running through the neighborhood, and you are bit by that dog, then there is a also if your son good chance that you have a dog bite case, because that owner violated the law by having that dog off their property and not on a leash. 

The other way to win your dog bite case is by using the one bite rule. Let's say you're bitten by a dog that's on the owner's property and the dog comes up and bites you. Well, in order to bring a dog bite case, you have to prove that the owner knew that the dog had what is called the “dangerous propensity to bite.” In other words, did the owner know that that dog had bitten somebody before? If you can prove that dog had bitten someone else and the owner knew about it or the owner had knowledge that this dog was aggressive or would snap at people, you might have a case. 

Dog bite cases aren't easy, and they require an attorney that knows dog bite laws and can do a thorough investigation. Sometimes, in order to win your dog bite case, you have to talk to multiple witnesses, maybe neighbors who had seen the dog on the loose or other people who may have had encounters with the same dog. With people always moving or traveling, it is really important that you talk to these witnesses right away to preserve your case. 

If you or someone you know has been bitten by someone else's dog and you think that you might have a dog bite case, I would encourage you to call our office immediately so we can start our investigation. After we speak, we will talk with the dog owners insurance company to confirm the availability of homeowners insurance coverage to cover the incident. If we can help you with your dog bite case, do not hesitate to give us a call today.

what to do after car crash

What Should You Do After Being Involved in a Car Crash in Gwinnett County?

While cars have become safer over the years, distractions while driving have increased with cell phones and other technology, and injuries sustained in car accidents occur every day throughout the U.S. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are critical steps you can take to ensure that your rights are protected, and you can maximize your settlement if you qualify.

What Steps Should You Take After a Car Accident?

Car accidents leave little time to stop and think, so being prepared with steps to before an accident occurs will ensure you know what to do when you are involved in one. Knowing how to react, what to say, and things to avoid after an accident can have a large impact on your settlement.

Here are a few things to do after being involved in a car crash.

Check for injuries and call 911

If you are able to do so, it’s important to call 911 immediately. Let them know where you are and what injuries you might have sustained, so they can send an ambulance if necessary.

Begin Gathering Testimony

Again, if you are able to safely exit the vehicle, begin recording the scene. Take photos of your vehicle, the area around the vehicle, and the other vehicle involved. Take a video and record your thoughts and findings immediately. Once bystanders and other drivers begin to stop and help, the scene of the accident can quickly change, so it’s imperative to take any records early on.

Work with Police to Provide a Firsthand Account

When police arrive, they will begin asking crucial questions to piece together what happened. They may also ask to see your registration, driver’s license and proof of insurance for the vehicle. You’re required to provide the items requested. You can offer the police officers any proof you gathered to assist in the investigation.

Fill Out the Accident Report

Georgia car accident reports must include a description of the accident based on witness statements, how the cars were found after the accident, any damage incurred on the vehicles and, sometimes photo records. These accident reports mat also include the officer’s opinion about what led to the accident. You may request a copy of the accident report from the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

Call Your Insurance Company

You will want to quickly complete a claim with your insurance company for any damages to the vehicle and to cover medical bills for any injuries you experienced during the accident. Many insurance companies will ask to see photos and records of medical findings, so keep meticulous records and have them ready to present.

Know Your Rights

Georgia is a third-party liability state, meaning victims of car accidents can pursue the at-fault drive for damages. First, file a claim with your own insurance company—called a first-party claim. Then you may also file a damage or personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company—called a third-party claim. You may also file a suit against the at-fault driver with a local accident lawyer.

Hire an Attorney

While some car accidents can be handled without representation, others may require the expertise of an auto accident lawyer in Gwinnett County who has extensive experience in these types of lawsuits. If you would like to explore your options for settlement after an auto accident, Gwinnett Accident Lawyer, R Michael Coker, specializes in personal injury and car accidents, and will help guide you in how to handle the responsible parties and hold them accountable.

Reach out to our office today for a Free Case Evaluation.

slip and fall accident

Frequently Asked Questions about Slip and Fall Lawsuits in Gwinnett County

Slip and fall incidents are more common than you might think. Spills or other hazards that may cause slip and fall injuries can often go unnoticed or disregarded at grocery stores, pharmacies, office buildings, and parking lots, and these unsafe conditions can lead to serious injuries. Oftentimes, falls will go unreported or undocumented as people may believe it was their own fault; however, many of these incidents occur due to property owner or manager negligence to fix potential hazards on their property.

In these cases, an experienced injury attorney knows how to present a strong case against the store or property owner. Below, we will discuss some of the most frequently asked questions we get about slip and fall cases in Georgia.

Q: What do I do after falling in a store or on someone else’s property?

A: Notify the manager or property owner, and have them make a report if possible. Seek medical attention immediately and keep record of any doctor or hospital visits. Business or property owners must take precautions to ensure their property is a safe environment for customers by notifying them of any known hazards and repairing those issues as soon as they are discovered.

Q: Should I sign or complete the report?

A: Generally, do not put anything in writing, but tell the property owner or manager what happened. Avoid signing any forms and contact a personal injury lawyer.

Q: Will I get a copy of the report?

A: Always ask for a copy of the report. They are not required to provide you with their report, which is why it is especially important for you to keep records of your own.

Q: What photos should I take?

A: Take photos of the substance or hazard on the floor or in the area that caused you to slip (or trip) and fall.  You should also photograph your clothes if they are wet, the general area where you fell and any security cameras in the area that may have captured the incident. You can also take a video of the area and record yourself on camera in the exact spot to record what happened right after it occurred.

Q: What should I keep for record?

A: Be sure to keep your photos, the report (if the owner or manager supplied you with it), and files of your injuries, medical bills and other expenses that resulted from the fall. Try getting the contact information of the owner of the property or the store manager, as well as any eyewitnesses that may have seen the fall, if possible. Keep the clothing and shoes you were wearing at the time of the incident in the same condition—avoid washing them!

Q:What should I do after I leave?

A: Do not talk to anyone who calls in regard to the incident, find a personal injury lawyer immediately. It’s in your best interest to get an accident injury lawyer involved as soon as possible after your slip and fall injury who can help you fight for the best outcome for your situation.

Gwinnett Accident LawyerR. Michael Coker specializes in personal injury and slip and fall accidents, and will work with you to determine long-term future costs associated with your fall. We will also assist you in how to handle the store or any other responsible parties. You can contact us to get a Free Case Evaluation today.