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  • How long do I have to sue on my personal injury case?
    The statute of limitations in Georgia for personal injury is typically two years. If you have been injured in a car wreck, you have two years from the date of the accident to sue, but you might have other timelines to meet (for example, if you have a claim against a government entity).
  • Do I have to file a lawsuit to get paid?
    No. You can choose to settle your case with the insurance company(s) in lieu of filing suit through a pre-suit settlement. If they do not offer a fair value for your claim at that stage, you have the option to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
  • How do you get paid?
    Your personal injury attorney gets paid on a contingency basis. This means the attorney does not bill you hourly, but instead collects a percentage off the gross recovery. The attorney also then recoups any case expenses he fronted out of the gross recovery.
  • Who pays the case expenses?
    The attorney typically pays the case expenses as they are incurred, and then recovers those costs out of the gross recovery.
  • Do I need to notify my insurance company of the wreck even if I am not at fault?
    Yes, you should, particularly if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist or med pay coverage. This is because even if you are not at fault, you might want to utilize those benefits.
  • What is Med pay?
    Medical payments coverage on your auto policy is the primary coverage for reasonable and necessary medical treatment from an auto wreck. So if you have $5,000 in med pay benefits, you can get $5,000 worth of treatment from an auto wreck. This is especially important to someone who is injured but has no health insurance coverage.
  • What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage?
    UM coverage is bodily injury coverage in the event the tortfeasor (party who negligently injured you) does not have enough coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc…). This coverage is essential, because it enables you to recover even when the party who injured you has inadequate insurance.
  • What policies can I collect against for my injury claim?
    The first policies to collect against are from the liable party or parties. Once those have been exhausted, you can collect against your own auto policy’s UM coverage. Finally, if you reside with a relative who has a UM policy, you can utilize that to collect.
  • What happens if the driver who hit me has no insurance?
    This is where the additional policies are so critical, particularly your UM policy or a resident relative policy. You will want to collect against your own insurance carrier in this instance.
  • What is mediation?
    Mediations almost always take place after filing a lawsuit. This is where the parties agree to meet at a location and have a neutral person (typically an attorney) meet both together and privately with the sides in order to reach a settlement. These can oftentimes take almost a whole day.
  • What is a deposition?
    A deposition takes place after filing a lawsuit. It is an official proceeding with a court reporter taking down a transcript. You will be placed under oath and asked various questions about your lawsuit by the opposing counsel. The statements you make will be used for or against you in terms of determining the value of the case for settlement. It also lets the opposing side know what you are expected to say at trial. Should you contradict your deposition testimony at trial, the opposing counsel will most likely read your deposition testimony to “impeach” you.
  • What happens after I file a lawsuit?
    Once you file suit, the opposing party answers the suit within 30 days of service. From there, you are likely to receive discovery questions about a month or two later. You will have 30 days to answer those questions. Usually within 1-3 months later, you will need to sit for a deposition. From there, you will possibly attend a mediation in the next three months. If the case does not resolve at mediation, you are likely to have a trial date within the next 3-12 months, should the case continue to not settle. This is a gross oversimplification, and the process will vary based on the facts of your case.
  • How long does it take to go to trial after I file a lawsuit?
    Usually it will be at least a year from when you file suit before you have a trial, and oftentimes is at least 18 months after filing suit.
  • Do I need to pay you any money to retain you for a personal injury case?
    No. The attorney works on a contingency basis, so he receives a percentage of your gross recovery. He also typically fronts all litigation costs, so the client usually pays no up front costs.
  • What is your typical contingency fee?
    This will vary by case. My typical fee is 33% of a gross recovery for a case that settles without filing suit, and 40% of a gross recovery for a case that involves filing a lawsuit.
  • Can I still collect if the insurance company contends I am partially at fault?
    Yes. To collect for an injury claim in Georgia, the plaintiff needs to be less than 50% at fault. The total damages would be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
  • Can I still file bankruptcy if I have a personal injury claim?
    Yes, you “can” still file bankruptcy if you have a personal injury claim, but you very well might not want to do so. This is very fact specific, and will depend in part on whether you are interested in filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The best advice is to not file bankruptcy before discussing your injury claim with both your personal injury and bankruptcy attorney first.
  • How do I get medical treatment for my car wreck case if I have no health insurance?
    If you have no health insurance, you can still get medical treatment for your injuries. The first place to turn is the medical payments coverage on your own auto policy. If you have it, you want to use it. Once that has been exhausted, you will want to find a health care provider who will treat you on a lien basis. This means they will not ask you to pay up front for their fees, but they will have a “lien” on your settlement for the amount of their fees. You will then have to reimburse them for their costs out of your settlement. Finally, there are medical funding companies who will give you or the provider cash for your treatment. These are usually at a high interest, and are an option of last resort. These too will also have a lien on your settlement in exchange for advancing those funds.
  • Can the insurance company for the party who injured me pay my medical bills as they come due?
    No. The insurance company for the at fault party will not pay bills as they come due. They will ultimately reimburse you for the costs of the bills out of a settlement or a judgment, but that will be a one-time event at the conclusion of the case. While your case is pending and the bills are accruing, you will be the one in charge of paying any co-pays.
  • Do you tell everyone to file bankruptcy?
    No. We give you an honest evaluation of your case and do not tell anyone to file. We simply present the pros and cons of filing and then proceed based on your decision. We are forthcoming about letting you know about certain circumstances where you should either wait to file or not file at all.
  • Creditors keep calling. Do I have to file to make it stop?
    Filing bankruptcy will force creditors to stop calling because of the automatic stay. However, you might be able to stop creditor phone calls before you file after you have retained our services. Third party collectors will have to honor your request to re-direct phone calls to our office under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). Original creditors might also honor your request.
  • Who is the panel trustee?
    The panel trustee is appointed by the court to oversee your case and is usually an attorney. The trustee holds your creditors meeting, aka 341 hearing. It is the trustee’s duty to confirm your assets and liabilities, and makes any distribution of your assets to creditors, if applicable. In a Chapter 13, the debtor makes monthly payments to the trustee, and the trustee then distributes it among creditors.
  • I am currently being garnished. Can a bankruptcy stop that?
    Absolutely. Filing stops all creditor actions, including collecting on judgments won against you before your filing. Additionally, in most cases we can also get rid of any liens based on that judgment as well.
  • Do I need a lawyer to file bankruptcy?
    An individual or married couple can file without an attorney, which is known as filing “pro se.” However, it is our opinion that no one should file without an attorney, as bankruptcy law can be complex. While you may know enough to get a discharge, without a good experienced attorney you might stumble into some pitfalls along the way.
  • What will bankruptcy do to my credit?
    A Chapter 7 will remain on your record for 10 years. A chapter 13 will remain on your record for 7 years. Most likely if you are considering bankruptcy you already do not fall into the category of a great credit risk, so you are already borrowing with higher rates as is. While filing will not help your credit, it can significantly change your debt to income ratio so that soon you might be a much better credit risk than you are currently.
  • I own a business. Does my business have to file also?
    No. However, filing only for your business will not relieve any of your personal debts, including those debts shared with the business.
  • Is the trustee going to come to my house and take my stuff?
    The trustee will not show up at your place unannounced. In fact, usually you will not see the trustee except for a single encounter in court at the 341 meeting. However, the trustee has the right to investigate your assets to confirm their value. As long as you are honest about your assets and have nothing to hide, the trustee is not someone to be scared of.
  • My house is being foreclosed soon. Can a bankruptcy stop that?
    Yes. Filing a bankruptcy will immediately halt a foreclosure sale. Depending on the situation with your arrears and which chapter you file under, the creditor might file a “motion to lift stay” to still proceed with the foreclosure. But at a minimum your filing will stop a foreclosure sale for at least several months.
  • Can I keep my retirement plan?
    Almost without exception, the answer is yes.
  • When I file, do I have to list all of my assets and all of my liabilities?
    Yes, you have to list everything you own and everyone you owe. Do not assume you will lose all your property, in fact you might not lose anything. Also remember you can always voluntarily repay any creditor after the bankruptcy anyway, so you should not feel hesitant about listing your debts.
  • What are your attorney fees for filing a bankruptcy?
    Fees range based on the complexity of the case, and we cannot give you a quote until we sit down with you and review the particulars of your case. All chapter 7 fees must be paid prior to filing the case, whereas a Chapter 13 fee can be partially paid prior to filing, with the remainder paid through the plan.
  • How can I determine if I am eligible for a Chapter 13?
    Any individual with regular income is eligible to file a chapter 13; however, if the debtor filed a chapter 7 within the previous 4 years and received a discharge the debtor will not receive a chapter 13 discharge.
  • If I qualify for a chapter 7, is there any reason I would still want to file a chapter 13?
    Sure, some reasons that debtors who qualify for a chapter 7, but still file a chapter 13, include: (1) the debtor wants to retain more property than the allowable exemption limits and would have to forfeit that property in a 7, so the debtor chooses to keep the property and pay off the excess over time in a 13 (2) The debtor is sufficiently behind on the mortgage and car payments and cannot pay off the arrears immediately, as would be required in a chapter 7, so chooses to pay off the arrears over time in a 13 (3) the debtor wants the protection of the bankruptcy court while it pays off its debts over time

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