Cohen & Sinowski
Cohen & Sinowski

Personal Injury Settlements: What You Should Know and Expect

  • Published: September 22, 2023

Common Defense Tactics, Fault, And Well-Defended Settlement Cases

I. Introduction

Personal injury cases are a part of daily life in Cobb County, Georgia. Any given day here might see a variety of situations leading to personal injuries, ranging from major car accidents on our busy highways to workplace incidents in the many industries located within our county borders. Even encounters with healthcare providers can lead to personal injury through instances of medical malpractice.

The effects of a personal injury can be diverse and significant, causing physical harm, emotional trauma, and financial strain. They reach beyond the victim, affecting family, friends, employers, and the community at large.

Usually, in the aftermath of a personal injury incident, the injured party has the right to receive compensation for their losses from the party at fault. This process primarily involves negotiating a personal injury settlement. For many, this process can seem intricate, emotionally charged, and frankly, quite overwhelming. It’s brimming with legal jargon, strict procedures, and required decisions that will have a lasting impact.

The intention of this blog post is to shine a light on this murky process for the residents of Cobb County. Here, we aim to break down the steps involved in the negotiation of personal injury settlements, and clarify what you should expect at each turn.

Whether you’re currently involved in a personal injury case, or you’re equipping yourself with knowledge for potential future situations, our goal is to empower you, as a citizen of Cobb County, with information that will help you navigate the personal injury settlement process effectively. Furthermore, this knowledge will help you make informed decisions that could potentially safeguard your rights and ensure fair compensation for your injury.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into these topics, providing key insights and actionable advice to guide you through personal injury settlements in Cobb County, Georgia.

II. What is a Personal Injury Settlement?

In the legal parlance of Cobb County, Georgia, ‘personal injury’ is the term used to depict any physical or emotional damage endured by an individual as a consequence of another party’s neglectful actions or intentional misconduct. This could originate from various circumstances such as an irresponsible driver causing a car crash, a property owner failing to rectify a dangerous condition leading to a slip-and-fall, or a healthcare provider not adhering to standard medical practices, resulting in patient harm.

When such an incident occurs, the injured party often has the right to pursue compensation for damages suffered. This process birthed the term ‘personal injury settlement’ – a legal agreement in which the party found at fault (or most often their insurance company) compensates the injured party financially.

A crucial aspect of a personal injury settlement to highlight is that it provides an alternative to court trials. Court procedures can be lengthy, costly, and mentally draining. Many personal injury cases in Cobb County find resolution without the parties ever stepping foot into a courtroom. The negotiations take place between the legal representatives of both sides, hash out the details, and reach an agreed sum that fairly represents the damages the victim has incurred.

Personal injury settlements in Cobb County encompass a diverse range of scenarios. Some of the most common types of cases include:

  1. Automobile accidents: These involve incidents where motor vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, or trucks, cause injury to individuals. The causes can range from DUI, reckless driving, to manufacturer defects leading to accidents.
  2. Slip-and-fall incidents: In such cases, an individual gets injured due to hazardous conditions on another’s property – broken sideway, icy steps, or slick supermarket floors, for instance.
  3. Medical malpractice: This category involves cases where healthcare professionals, such as doctors or nurses, cause harm to patients due to negligence or failure to provide the acceptable standard of care.
  4. Wrongful death cases: These are severe cases where the negligence or misconduct of a party leads to the death of the individual.

Understanding these categories and the legality surrounding personal injury settlements could play a crucial role in how you approach such situations. In the long run, this knowledge could be the difference between a stressful process and one where you feel empowered and secured, knowing your rights and potential compensation methods.

III. The Personal Injury Settlement Process

The journey to achieving a personal injury settlement begins when the injured party, or their designated representative, files a personal injury claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company. The filing of the claim signifies the start of a process that involves various steps, each crucial in ensuring that the injured party receives fair and rightful compensation.

One of the first tasks your assigned personal injury attorney undertakes is gathering vital evidence to support your claim. This might involve collecting medical records, accident reports, witness testimony, surveillance footage, photographs, and more. This data serves as the foundation of your case and helps establish the other party’s fault and the extent of your injuries. Your attorney will then prepare a comprehensive package known as the demand letter, detailing your injuries, the reason the other party is at fault, and the amount of damages you’re demanding.

Negotiating with the insurance company typically follows next in the process. Insurance companies, in an effort to protect their financial interests, often push back on initial claims, proposing lower settlement offers or attempting to deny the claim altogether. Your attorney plays a pivotal role during these negotiations, leveraging evidence, knowledge of the law, and negotiation skills to push back against these tactics and strive for a fair settlement.

It’s important to remember that insurance companies may use various strategies to mitigate their liability, such as questioning the severity of your injuries, arguing that you had pre-existing conditions, or suggesting that your own negligence contributed to the accident. Having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney by your side can help you counter these strategies effectively.

The attorney’s role also extends to ensure the timely resolution of your claim, an action of paramount importance in personal injury cases in Cobb County due to Georgia’s statute of limitations. This state law stipulates a deadline by which personal injury lawsuits must be filed – typically two years from the date of the accident. If this deadline is not met, you may lose your right to pursue compensation in court. Your attorney will ensure that your claim process keeps moving and that all necessary actions are taken within the established deadlines.

While the process outlined here may seem daunting, it’s essential to know that most personal injury claims are settled out of court without the need for a trial. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney should be ready and capable to represent your interests aggressively in court.

In essence, the personal injury settlement process is a journey that involves careful handling of facts, understanding of personal injury law, strategic planning, hard-edged negotiation, and, when necessary, tenacious litigation. It’s a journey best taken with a seasoned personal injury attorney committed to achieving the best possible outcome for you.

IV. Factors Influencing the Settlement Amount

The calculation of a personal injury settlement isn’t a straightforward process. It involves a complex evaluation of multiple factors that contribute to the full scope of damages incurred by the plaintiff due to the injury. Here are the prominent factors that greatly influence the final settlement amount:

  1. Severity of Injury: Undeniably, the severity of your injury plays a significant role in determining the settlement amount. More severe injuries typically equate to more extensive medical treatment, longer recovery periods, and greater pain and suffering, thus warranting a higher settlement sum. This not only includes physical injuries, but mental and emotional distress as well.
  2. Duration of the Injury: Time is another critical factor. If your injury requires a lengthy recovery period or results in a permanent disability, it will significantly increase the settlement amount. This is due to the sustained loss of earnings, ongoing treatment costs, and continuous pain and suffering over an extended period or for the rest of your life.
  3. Impact on Lifestyle and Earnings: An injury’s impact on your lifestyle and capacity to earn significantly influence the settlement. This means that if the injury causes you to miss work, alters your ability to partake in activities you once enjoyed, or limits your capability to perform your job in the future, these factors are taken into consideration. This is often categorized as loss of enjoyment of life and loss of earning capacity.
  4. Extent of At-Fault Party’s Negligence: After determining the severity, duration, and impact of the injury, the degree of the at-fault party’s negligence is another critical determinant. Cases where negligence can be clearly established often lead to higher settlements because of the clear liability.
  5. Mitigating Factors: Counteracting the factors that might increase your settlement are factors that can potentially decrease it, known as mitigating factors. These might include pre-existing health conditions or injuries that may have contributed to your current injury or the severity of it. For instance, if you had a prior back injury and were in a car accident resulting in a herniated disc, the insurance company might argue that the earlier condition contributed to the severity of the current injury.
  6. Shared Fault: Another common mitigating factor is shared fault. In Georgia, you can still recover damages if you’re partially at fault for an accident; however, your compensation will reduce by the percentage of your fault. This is known as comparative negligence. If you were 25% at fault, for example, your settlement would decrease by 25%.

Each personal injury case is unique with its individual circumstances. Understanding these basic factors that influence the settlement amount can help you and your attorney accurately quantify your damages and vigorously negotiate for a fair and just settlement.

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V. How to Improve Your Chances of a Favorable Settlement

If you’ve been involved in a personal injury case and are seeking a favorable settlement, there are multiple strategies you can embrace. Each improves the chances of a reasonable resolution. The essential tips include:

1. Maintain Thorough Documentation

In every legal claim, evidence is vital, and this is no exception for personal injury cases. Make sure you have robust documentation, which consolidates your claim. It should entail:

  • Medical records: Records documenting your injuries, treatment received, ongoing treatment plans, and prognosis. Maintaining these records provides tangible proof of the physical trauma you experienced.
  • Accident reports: These may come from police or accident investigations, and they provide an official record of the accident’s occurrence, helping reinforce your case.
  • Receipts Expenses: Save all relevant bills and receipts related to your accident. This includes medical bills, property repair, travel expenses, loss of income, and any other costs incurred due to your injury.

2. Collaborate with an Experienced Attorney

Having a knowledgeable, experienced personal injury attorney from Cobb County on your side can drastically improve your odds of a favorable settlement. These professionals possess the expertise to:

  • Evaluate your case’s strengths and weaknesses critically
  • Help you understand the claims process
  • Gather and present adequate evidence
  • Negotiate effectively with the opposition.

3. Exhibit Patience

Being patient in a personal injury case is essential. Your desperation might show and could disadvantage you when it comes to settlement negotiations. Avoid rushing the process to settle until all damages are:

  • Known: Wait until you understand the full extent of your injuries and damages. For example, some injuries’ long-term impact might not be evident immediately after the accident.
  • Adequately calculated: Determining the exact value of your damages requires patience. It’s not merely about medical expenses and lost wages but also about the non-economic impacts such as pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, among others.

Taking these three steps into consideration can significantly enhance your chances of obtaining a desirable settlement in a personal injury case. By being methodical, patient, and with the help of an experienced legal professional, you can navigate through the claims process successfully.

VI. Common Myths and Misconceptions about Personal Injury Settlements

In any legal sphere, and particularly regarding personal injury settlements, misconceptions abound. Let’s discuss and debunk some of the most common ones.

1. Large Payouts are Guaranteed

Due to widely publicized lawsuits with sizable verdicts, people often erroneously believe that personal injury cases always result in large awards or payouts. This misconception is far from the truth. Several factors influence the payout size, including:

  • Severity and nature of the injury involved,
  • Impact of the injury on your quality of life,
  • Your own role in the accident,
  • The defendant’s ability to pay, and
  • Available insurance coverage.

Truth: Every case is unique, guaranteeing a large payout is erroneous. Adjust your expectations based on the specific circumstances and facts surrounding your case.

2. Swift Settlements are the Norm

Media often portrays that personal injury cases are quickly resolved. However, this isn’t always the case. The settlement timeline depends on the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to negotiate, and the court’s docket.

Truth: While some cases might resolve swiftly, do not assume that your case will follow a similar trajectory. Patience is often key in these situations, and rushing might lead to unfavorable settlements.

3. Suing is the Best Option

There is a common myth that filing a lawsuit is the best way to secure a high payout. However, lawsuits are not only time-consuming but can also be stressful and expensive due to court costs, attorney fees, and other related expenses.

Truth: Frequently, settling outside of court via alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration can be a more stress-free, cost-effective, and time-efficient alternative. It also gives the parties involved more control over the outcome rather than leaving the decision to a judge or jury.

In conclusion, avoid making assumptions about personal injury settlement based on myths and misconceptions. Always consult with an experienced attorney to understand your best options and strategies truly.

VII. When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Attempting to resolve a personal injury claim without professional help can be a significant challenge, chiefly if the case involves substantial injury or complex legal rules. If you’re from Cobb County and have been involved in an accident, hiring a reputable local personal injury attorney can be crucial. Here’s elaboration on when you should consider hiring one and the key factors you should consider:

1. When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

While it is generally beneficial to engage a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident, there are specific situations where their expertise is particularly advantageous:

  • Severe injuries: If you’ve sustained serious injuries that require long-term care or have resulted in permanent disability, a lawyer can help ensure you receive all damages you’re entitled to.
  • Disputed liability: If the party responsible for your injuries denies liability, a lawyer can help prove their fault.
  • Insurance company refusal: If the insurer refuses to pay or proposes a settlement that doesn’t cover your expenses, an attorney can negotiate effectively to secure a fair payout.

2. Factors to Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Selecting the right attorney for your case is essential. It’s beneficial to choose based on:

  • Experience: An attorney with experience in personal injury cases can understand the laws, how to negotiate settlements, and what to expect at trial.
  • Local Reputation: Opt for a lawyer who has an excellent reputation within your local community, both among peers and previous clients. This attests to their proficiency and reliability.
  • Fees: Understanding the lawyer’s fee structure upfront can help avoid surprises later. Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless you win.
  • Communication Skills: Ongoing, clear communication between you and your attorney is crucial to a successful claim. You want someone who will updates you regularly about your case.
  • Trust and Compatibility: Finally, consider if you’re comfortable with and have faith in this attorney. You want someone you can trust and who shows a deep understanding of your situation and needs.

Hiring a personal injury attorney can significantly improve your chances for a favorable settlement. Keep these factors in mind to make an informed decision on choosing the right legal advocate.

VIII. Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Injury Settlements

Navigating through a personal injury claim can prompt a myriad of questions. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding personal injury settlements:

1. How Does Insurance Play into Settlements?

Insurance companies play a crucial role in most personal injury settlements. Typically, insurance companies represent the at-fault party in these cases. Here’s how they’re involved:

  • Payment of Compensation: If the at-fault person has liability insurance, their insurance company generally covers the settlement or judgment up to the policy’s limit.
  • Negotiations: Insurance companies typically handle the settlement negotiations. They assess the claim—determining fault and valuation of damages—and usually, propose an initial settlement amount.
  • Defense in Court: If the case goes to court, the insurance company typically provides and pays for a lawyer to represent the at-fault party.

2. Will I Have to Go to Court for My Personal Injury Settlement?

Not all personal injury cases end up in court. In fact, the majority are settled during the negotiations phase – before a lawsuit is even filed. Alternatively, if a lawsuit is initiated, it might be resolved without a full trial. Cases go to court only if the parties cannot agree on liability or the compensation amount.

3. How Long Can I Expect My Settlement Process to Take?

This answer can depend significantly on the complexity of your case. The timeline can range anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. Here are some factors affecting the timeline:

  • Severity of Injuries: If the injuries are severe or require long-term care, it may take more time to assess the damages fully.
  • Dispute Over Liability: If liability is disputed, the parties will need more time to gather and evaluate evidence.
  • Insurance Company Negotiations: Negotiations with insurance companies can be lengthy, especially if they dispute the claim’s validity or the value of damages.

Remember, every case is unique, and predicted timelines can alter based on new developments. Ensure that you have a comprehensive conversation about the estimated timeline with your lawyer.

While these are some common questions, your personal injury attorney is the best resource for answering your case-specific concerns throughout the settlement process.

IX. Conclusion


Being suitably prepared and equipped with knowledge brings you a step closer to securing a positive outcome in a personal injury settlement. It’s vital for residents of Cobb County, Georgia, or any other citizen seeking justice to demystify the myths surrounding the legal process and understand the significance of proper documentation, patience, and securing experienced legal representation.

Navigating through the complexities of a personal injury case can undoubtedly feel overwhelming, especially when your primary focus should be on your recovery. That’s why it’s crucial to partner with an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you expertly through the entire process—from gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies and, if required, representing your case in court.

At Cohen & Sinowski, we understand the intricacies involved in personal injury cases. With a wealth of local experience in Cobb County, a strong reputation, and a commitment to prioritizing our clients’ rights and needs, we can help simplify the process and work relentlessly to seek the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Don’t face these hurdles alone. Allow us to assist you with your personal injury claim and work towards the justice you deserve. For a free consultation or to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today. Your road to recovery and justice begins here.

Cohen & Sinowski

The personal injury attorneys of Cohen & Sinowski are
dedicated to helping clients in the Metro Atlanta area.
Call Us Today! (404) 383-8835

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