Personal Injury Settlement FAQ

What is the personal injury settlement process like?

A personal injury claim after a car accident can be a complicated process.  If you were not at-fault in the car accident, you will be dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies do not want to pay you what you deserve.  They will try and offer a low-ball amount so that they will not have to pay you more money.

Without the correct attorney, you can be taken advantage of by an insurance company. Call the Law Office of Julie M. Essa, LLC today.  In our office we take the time to thoroughly examine your case so that we can get you ALL the money you deserve.

 

Demand Process

Once you have completed your medical treatment, our first step is to collect all of your medical records and bills.  We make sure to get a full list of all of your injuries as noted by your doctor(s).  In addition, we make sure all the injuries are documented fully by multiple medical providers.  Every medical record and billing statement will be included when we ask for a settlement.

 

What can I recover money for?

In Georgia, you can recover money for any damages you incur as a result of the accident.  This includes all injuries, physical and mental.  Physical injuries are easy to document as long as you receive adequate medical care.  On the other hand, mental injuries are harder to document though we make every effort to document how the accident may have affected your mental state.   At our office, we can refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist if you are suffering from PTSD as many do after a car accident.

Additionally, in Georgia you can recover for pain and suffering for your accident.  In addition, if you missed any work due to the accident or injuries related to the accident you can recover for any lost wages.

 

Should I trust a settlement calculator I find online?

In short, we would not advise you to fully trust a settlement calculator.  These calculators do not account for the intricacies of your case.  There are so many reasons your case could get you more damages for your accident and many mistakes that can negatively affect your damages summation.

While you cannot always trust an online calculator, many attorneys, including the Law Offices of Julie M. Essa, LLC offer free consultations.  You can call us to schedule your free consultation at 770-955-8322 (English) or 770-771-3658 (Español).

At each free consultation, we go over your case in depth.  Our experienced attorneys, Julie M. Essa and Noor E. Janho, will ask you questions so that they can give you a better understanding of what to expect based on the specific facts of your collision.

 

Who pays my medical bills right now?

At the Law Office of Julie M. Essa, LLC, we can refer you to doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapy rehabilitation that will continue to work with you throughout your recovery.  You should not have to pay anything, even if you do not have health insurance.  We have a comprehensive network of providers that work with us via a medical lien, so you do not have to worry about medical expenses while you recover.

What is a medical lien?

A medical lien attaches to the cause of action brought by a plaintiff in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.  Basically, this entitles any medical provider to recover the fees and costs they incurred in treating the injuries that were caused by the at-fault driver (or tortfeasor or defendant).

Under O.C.G.A. § 44-14-470, “Any person, firm, hospital authority, or corporation operating a hospital, nursing home, or physician practice … practice in this state shall have a lien for the reasonable charges for … [the] treatment of an injured person, which lien shall be upon any and all causes of action accruing to the person to whom the care was furnished or to the legal representative of such person on account of injuries giving rise to the causes of action and which necessitated the … care…”

Ultimately, this means you pay nothing now. When your case is either settled or dealt with in court, the medical bills will be taken out of the award you receive.

 

Can I reject a settlement offer?

At the Law Office of Julie M. Essa, LLC, we often advise our clients to reject settlement offers that do not meet your needs.  Often, the first settlement offers are usually low or do not reflect properly on your medical damages and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.  In these cases, we will alert you to the offer, but we will continue to negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you recover the damages that you deserve for your particular case.  This process will continue until you receive the amount you deserve.

Who pays my attorney?

Similar to a medical lien, your attorney’s fees come out of your settlement amount. The industry rate for attorney’s fees is 33.33% of the settlement amount on a demand basis to the insurance company.  At the Law Office of Julie M. Essa, that is generally true as well.  However, if there are extenuating circumstances to your case, we will work with you often.

How do I collect my settlement check?

After you decide to settle your case, the Insurance company will send a check to our offices first.  Once the check is at our office, we will pay all of your medical expenses. Then we will subtract attorney’s fees.  Once all of your bills are paid, then we will call you to come to our office to pick up your check. Once at our office, we will have you look over the settlement form so that you can see a breakdown of all of the bills that we paid out on your claim.

Will I need to pay taxes on my settlement money?

The IRS has provided some guidance on this issue, but it all comes down to what the settlement covers.

Non-Taxable Settlement
  • Money meant to cover any physical injuries
  • Medical expenses recovered
Taxable Settlement
  • Interest payments
  • Any portion of the settlement that is meant to compensate you for pain and suffering — above and beyond any dollar amount meant to cover your actual medical expenses — will be taxable.
  • Punitive damages included in the settlement will be taxable.

Click here for more information about taxes and your settlement amount.