Personal Injury

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Car wrecks can be very stressful, even if you are not injured.  If you or a loved one has been hurt as a result of someone’s carelessness and are having difficulty dealing with the insurance company, our team is here to help. You need a strong lawyer working for you to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

The attorneys at Rockefeller Law Center can evaluate your claim and give you an estimate on the level of financial recovery you are entitled to receive.  Our experienced attorneys are here to help and it is free to discuss your case with them.  We can be there for you, just call for a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Wrongful Death

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We Have the Experience You Need

The attorneys of the Rockefeller Law Center have extensive trial experience, with over thirty years combined in courtrooms throughout Georgia and South Florida.

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Medical Malpractice

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We Listen To Our Clients’ Needs

Unfortunately, Georgia legislators have a severely limited the rights of its citizens to seek justice for the wrongs committed against them by their medical providers.

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Civil Rights

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Civil Rights Cases Can Be Extremely Complicated

Civil Rights cases can be extremely complicated. Unfortunately, it is not enough to just identify when your rights have been violated, you need to be aware of certain compulsory rules that are a prerequisite to being able to file a lawsuit. Also, tragically, just because your rights have been violated, does not mean that you will have a lawsuit worth pursuing, as the cost to you to file a civil rights lawsuit can be prohibitive.

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Personal injury FAQ

What are the types of personal injury cases that the Rockefeller Law Center handles?

The Rockefeller Law Center is a full-service litigation law firm, having assisted numerous satisfied clients with Automobile Wreck, Slip and Fall, Wrongful Death, and Premises Liability cases in State and Federal courts throughout the Southeastern United States.

What are the main issues which come up in personal injury cases?

There are two (2) parts to a personal injury lawsuit.  First, liability must be determined. This answers the question whether or not the defendant engaged in any wrongful conduct.  Second, damages must be assessed. This determines how much money should be paid to the plaintiff because of a defendant’s wrongful conduct.

How are damages determined in personal injury cases?

There are two (2) basic category of damages in a personal injury case – “special damages” and “pain and suffering.”  Special damages are your “actual” damages shown from your medical bills, lost wages, and similar types of out-of-pocket expenses. Pain and suffering damages are proven by relying on testimony of how much the plaintiff and his/her family were affected by the wrongful conduct.

If I don’t have any special damages can I still sue for my pain and suffering?

Maybe.  Some legal claims actually require proof of special damages before a jury considers pain and suffering damages. However, except in relatively rare cases, even if your type of legal claim does not require this proof, if you do not have relatively significant special damages, your case is probably not worth much money.  These cases may have value to you, because of the insult of the injury you have received, but you may find yourself spending more money prosecuting your case than you might hope to recoup from a jury award.

If I have declared bankruptcy before, or file for bankruptcy during the pendency of my case, will this affect my claim?

Yes.  Declaring Bankruptcy can seriously compromise your lawsuit.  If you, or a spouse, have ever filed for bankruptcy, are currently in bankruptcy, or you file for bankruptcy while your personal injury lawsuit is on-going, you must immediately notify your attorney of this fact!

Do I have any responsibilities in helping the development of my case?

Yes.  Your attorney will probably provide you with some forms to fill out; these will assist your attorney in building and assessing your claim.  In particular, you will need to provide your attorney with a “statement” of what happened and how your injury has affected your life – if possible, keeping a “daily diary” of the pain and/or limitations you experience from day-to-day due to your injury  You will also need to assemble a “witness list.” A witness is somebody who either knows how you were injured (from seeing it or hearing of it), who knows about your injury (such as by attending doctor’s appointments with you), or who knows about how the injury has affected your life (such as watching you struggle at work or struggle with your ability to live a normal life). 

Do I file a complaint as soon as my attorney finishes an initial investigation of my claim?

No.  Generally speaking, your attorney will first want to incorporate your statement, your witness statements, your medical records, medical bills, and lost wages into a document called a “demand letter.”  In this demand letter, you and your attorney ask for a specific amount of money damages reasonably based on the evidence assembled in this presentation. {Something about settling vs. going to trial.]

How long does it take to generate a demand letter?

The timetable for this varies by case, as it largely depends on how long you treated by a medical provider.  Generally speaking, your attorney will not want to prepare the demand letter until you have completed all of your medical treatment.  This is because you do not want to settle the case until you know the true extent of your injury. Remember, once you settle, you cannot go back and ask for more money.

Are there any other issues that might affect my settlement?

Yes.  There are two (2) instances where you might have to use some of your settlement money to pay someone else – to reimburse your health insurance company (“subrogation”) and/or to reimburse a medical provider (“medical lien”).  You will want to consider both of these possibilities in deciding what type of settlement you consider fair.

Subrogation is where your health insurance company (which would include Medicaid or Medicare) argues that you are required to repay it from your settlement or verdict for some, or all, of the money it spent on your medical treatment based on the contract language in the insurance plan.  The law in this area is extremely complicated and still evolving, but you should consider the fact of possibility of subrogation in evaluating your case.  Your attorney can negotiate with your insurance company, Medicaid, or Medicare, to reduce subrogation claims to a relatively small percentage of the overall claim.

A medical lien is where you owe money to your doctors or medical providers.  There are certain rules that a health care provider needs to follow in asserting its rights to a share of your settlement or verdict, but there is always the possibility you can be sued, after the fact, for breach of contract for not paying your bill.  Again, your attorney can negotiate with your health care provider to reduce the amount owed on a bill to a relatively small percentage of the overall claim.

Ok, I have a grasp of what the future holds, now how can I expect my case to progress if I file a complaint?

After a complaint is filed, the other party will respond with an Answer, approximately thirty (30) days after the defendant is “served” with the complaint.  The Answer will determine which factors are being disputed and any counterclaims that are going to be at issue.

Going to Court ...

  • DISCOVERY       
    By Georgia statute, there is a six (6)month Discovery Period designed so that both parties can obtain as much information to aid their case as possible (in Federal Court, the judge sets a discovery schedule with rules very similar to those described below).  This includes both parties asking and answering general questions, providing financial documentation, and other relevant information that may be requested.  This is a useful, and relatively inexpensive, process to find out more about the other parties’ case.

  • DEPOSITIONS       
    Either side can also schedule depositions.  These are opportunities for attorneys to question all witnesses and litigants under oath about what they might testify.  A deposition is a powerful device.  At a deposition, an attorney can learn exactly what the witnesses will say, before trial, and try to come up with a strategy that either takes advantage of the sworn testimony or to counteract it.  If you can afford to have an attorney take depositions, and your case is going to be strongly contested, you should consider authorizing your attorney to do so.

    When the Discovery Period is over (or even before), the case could go in many different directions (keep in mind that either a plaintiff or a defendant is always at liberty to offer a settlement at any point in the process).  Mediation may be required before your case can go to trial.  A Mediation is a meeting between the two parties with a mediator to attempt to resolve the case before trial.

    If the parties cannot agree, they may move forward with a jury trial or a bench trial (where only the Judge presides).  Jury trials are more common, as a judge can only be permitted to decide a case if all plaintiffs and defendants agree to waive their rights to a jury trial. There is no hard and fast rule over how long it takes to obtain a trial after initially filing a complaint and/or how long a trial lasts.  Generally, it takes about eighteen (18) months to two (2) years from filing to obtain a trial date.  And, most jury trials take a day or two to try.

    After jury trial, either party can appeal the jury verdict.  If a case is appealed, you an expect up to another year for the case to still be unresolved.  If the original trial verdict is reversed (almost always because of a “legal” error, as opposed to a claim that the jury reached the wrong decision), it goes back for another trial and potentially another round of appeals.  In order to avoid appeals and delaying the jury verdict being final, sometimes a settlement is reached, after the jury verdict, for something less than what the jury ordered.

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