Smart Ways to Prepare for Your Day in Court

When you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve to receive fair compensation. However, it may be necessary to face the guilty party and defend your rights. The legal system can be complicated. To get a successful outcome, it is essential to properly prepare for your day in court.

The Importance of Preparing for Court

Civil cases can take years to fight in court, and the entire process may be confusing. Hearings, discovery, documentation, negotiations and other motions can be difficult to completely comprehend – which is why it is essential to methodically begin preparing for your day in court. Arriving without knowledge about what to expect may cause you to lose your case. You will be expected to provide witnesses, medical documentation, evidence, and other pertinent information. Preparation allows you to organize your thoughts and paperwork before your trial begins.

Contacting an Attorney

It is very difficult to defend yourself in a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced lawyer will understand all the court procedures and the best ways to deal with large insurance companies. With the help of an attorney, you will get the best settlement or verdict possible. Personal injury cases require a large amount of trust, so you must have a compassionate lawyer with a successful track record. Continue reading

FAQs About Trucking Accident Lawsuits

Truck-CrashA trucking accident can be devastating. It can cause extensive damages and serious injuries. Because of numerous Georgia state and federal laws, fighting a trucking accident lawsuit can be complicated. The Staley Law Firm specializes in these types of cases and has attorneys who proudly represent victims looking to receive fair compensation for injuries and lost wages. Learning answers to frequently asked questions will help a person understand state regulations and how to proceed with a claim.

Are Truck Accidents Different from Other Automobile Accidents?

Truck accidents are different than normal car crashes. Commercial vehicles must follow a specific set of rules on the road. Since trucks are massive in size and weight, they tend to cause more serious injuries as well. Many truck owners and operators are required to carry more insurance than common car drivers. This means insurance companies place great effort into settling cases without paying due compensation to innocent victims. A trained personal injury lawyer will fight to make sure adequate funds are awarded to pay for medical bills, damages, and suffering resulting from a truck crash.

Who is Responsible for Damages?

If a truck driver was the negligent party who caused the wreck, this person is responsible for resulting damages and injuries. In certain cases, the driver’s employer, owner of the truck or the motor carrier may be financially responsible as well. If a defect in the tractor trailer caused the accident, the manufacturer may be held accountable.

How Long Do I Have to File a Trucking Accident Lawsuit?

Georgia law states all personal injury lawsuits involving a truck must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. It is important to consult with a trucking accident lawyer as soon as possible so that all evidence is preserved.

What is the Process Involved with Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Immediately after an accident, the truck’s insurance company will begin investigating the scene. Information and evidence will be collected. An insurance company is out to protect its bottom line, so an agent will commonly contact the injured driver and offer a low-ball settlement. An injured party should never talk to anyone except his or her attorney. An insurer will try to uncover information that can be used against a victim, so it is better to have an expert lawyer deal with an insurance firm.

To create a claim, a victim should hire a trusted trucking accident attorney to file a claim stating information about injuries, requesting a set amount of compensation and explaining how the truck was responsible for the accident. Before filing the suit, an attorney and an insurance company representative may try to negotiate a fair settlement without a court proceeding. If this is not possible, litigation will occur in front of a judge or jury. A verdict will be handed down, including the name of the guilty party and the amount of awarded compensation.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you need a compassionate trucking accident attorney who has the knowledge and ability to file your claim and bring successful results. The Staley Law Firm has spent decades representing victims and battling insurance companies for fair compensation. For a free consultation, call our office at (770) 271-0300.

Things You May Not Know About Auto Accident Lawsuits

A car accident is the most deadly and common type of personal injury that causes an innocent victim to experience pain and suffering. It is essential to receive compensation for another party’s negligence. A qualified auto accident attorney will help file a lawsuit to bring you justice. Although these types of cases seem easy to understand, there are some little known facts that will help you navigate the system.

More Than One Party May Be Responsible

In a normal car accident, one vehicle usually hits another vehicle and only one driver is at fault. The innocent party files a civil case against the responsible driver and his or her insurance company. In other circumstances, the victim may be able to sue multiple parties. For instance, if you get into an accident with a bus, your claim may include the bus company, its insurance company and the driver. If your accident was caused by a defect in your car, the manufacturer may be held responsible for damages. A personal injury lawyer will help you sort the details and determine exactly who is at fault.

Many Vehicle Accident Lawsuits End With Settlements

Although you may think it is necessary to fight a lawsuit in a courtroom, it is quite common for these types of cases to reach settlements. Most lawyers meet with insurance company representatives and come to reasonable and fair deals. This avoids high fees and wasted time spent battling in front of a judge or jury.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

In the state of Georgia, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. For a property damage case, you have four years from the date of the accident. Since the court will most likely refuse to hear your case if you pass the deadline, it is vital to speak with an experienced attorney in a timely manner.

What Evidence Will Make My Case Stronger?

After an accident, it is crucial to gather all possible evidence. Some forgotten pieces that may be important to your case include text messages, car computer information and available traffic cams. It is vital to understand if the guilty party was talking or texting at the time of the accident. Also, a car computer holds data that explains the driving history of the guilty party as well. A traffic video may provide a clear picture of the accident. More and more large cities are using these devices, so footage may be readily available.

The Staley Law Firm has represented victims of auto accidents for over three decades. The team strives to bring justice to all injured parties by fighting for adequate compensation. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a vehicle collision, call our office at (770) 271-0300. We will provide a free consultation and answer all your questions so that you are prepared to move ahead with your case.

3 Ways to Avoid Being Involved in a Trucking Accident

TT-RigComedian Tracy Morgan knows from personal experience how devastating trucking accidents can be. After his limousine was hit by a Walmart truck, he suffered a broken leg, a broken nose and many broken ribs. Comedian James McNair, who was also a passenger in the vehicle, lost his life. This accident potentially could have been prevented if the truck’s driver had followed federal regulations that require truck operators to take at least 10 hours off between shifts. Instead, driver Kevin Roper decided to operate his vehicle after remaining awake for over 24 hours. Although there are drivers like Roper on the road, you can do your part to avoid colliding with them.

1. Stay Away from the Blind Spots.

A large truck has many blind spots, and it is in your best interest to know where these blind spots are so that you can avoid them. Some ignore this because they are aware that a truck driver who has received adequate training knows when there may be a vehicle in his or her blind spots. Well-trained truck drivers also learn how they can prevent collisions under these circumstances, but it doesn’t matter how much training these people have had if they are sleep-deprived or impaired by drugs or alcohol. Therefore, being impaired makes dangerous driving situations like right turns even more perilous.

2. Be Aware When a Truck Driver Needs to Make a Right Turn.

Tractor-trailers are so large that their drivers may find it necessary to take up two lanes to make a right turn. Before they do so, they will maneuver their vehicles to the left, but this provides drivers of smaller automobiles with an opportunity to pull alongside these trucks and into the drivers’ blind spots. The next move truck drivers make is to turn right without ever knowing that a smaller car is to the right of them. The result is that the other vehicle is crushed.

These truck accidents can be avoided if the truck driver engages the turn signal early. However, this does not always happen in the real world. When you see a truck driver suddenly move his or her vehicle to the left, always expect this driver to turn right and refrain from passing the vehicle.

3. Watch Out for a Jackknife Situation.

A truck “jackknifes” when the trailer spins around and ends up facing backwards. When this occurs, the truck resembles a “V” in shape. The danger may not end there for you if you are in close proximity because a jackknifed truck can easily roll over and take up several highway lanes.

The best way for a driver of a smaller vehicle to avoid being caught in the path of a jackknifing truck is to know when these types of collisions are likely to occur. If you see a truck driver suddenly apply the brakes or make a sudden turn, do your best to keep your distance. You know that you must be cautious when the roads are slippery, but slippery roads can cause trucks to jackknife, so remember to watch out for this possibility as well.

Have You Been Injured in a Truck Accident?

You need a trucking accident lawyer/attorney from the Staley Law Firm if you were injured in a trucking accident. The Staley Law Firm serves clients in Suwanee, Buford, Lawrenceville and Duluth as well as our neighbors in Gwinnett, Hall, Jackson and Barrow Counties. We will evaluate your case no matter where you are in Metro Atlanta or northern Georgia. Contact us today at the Staley Law Firm if you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a collision with a large tractor-trailer.

Receiving Your Due With Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers in a Car Accident

The state of Georgia requires all drivers to have auto insurance. In fact, you can’t register a vehicle without minimum liability coverage. While this is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t cover every eventuality.

For example, insurance could lapse soon after registration or renewal, effectively allowing someone to drive uninsured. An individual’s driver’s license would be suspended eventually, but there is still potential for someone to drive with a valid license and no insurance. Alternatively, a driver may carry the legally required level of insurance but be underinsured for the amount of damage inflicted in a car accident.

Drivers without insurance or without adequate coverage aren’t necessarily looking to cause trouble. Insurance can be expensive, and accidents are called accidents for a reason; they can happen to anyone.

Uninsured Drivers

Whether through negligence, a simple mistake or inability to afford ongoing payments, drivers may allow their insurance coverage to lapse. In 2012, an estimated 11.7 percent of Georgia drivers didn’t have coverage.

Insurance companies are required to report each customer’s insurance status to the Georgia Electronic Insurance Compliance System (GEICS). Ideally, such updates occur as soon as there is a change in status. This allows law enforcement officers to check the GEICS database for verification in the event of an accident. Having an identification card isn’t enough.

If you’re in an accident, it’s wise to write down the other person’s insurance information for yourself. However, calling in the police will let you know the at-fault driver’s true insurance status. If he or she is uninsured and you have Uninsured Motorist coverage on your own policy, you can still receive some direct compensation. Even so, insurance companies can sometimes be difficult to negotiate with by yourself.

An auto accident attorney from Staley Law Firm has experience in dealing with insurance companies and can greatly support you after a traumatic incident. We help with claim forms, identifying witnesses and much more. If the other driver is uninsured, our attorneys will help you understand your rights and assist in determining possible legal steps to pursue.

Underinsured Drivers

The minimum liability coverage that Georgia requires is 25/50/25. That means $25,000 bodily injury coverage for one person, $50,000 injury coverage for multiple people and $25,000 for property damage. Unfortunately, those are rather low amounts and rarely adequate.

Hospital and ongoing medical bills for one seriously injured person would exceed the minimums in no time. For instance, brain injuries or spinal injuries could take years of recovery, and if your whole family was in the car with you, the minimum limit of $50,000 would hardly be enough. Repairing your car or other property damage could also easily go beyond the minimum of $25,000. In short, someone with only minimum liability insurance is probably underinsured.

Here, too, your own policy may include special coverage, which can provide additional compensation. Yet now you’ll have two insurance companies to deal with, each wanting to pay as little as possible. If the accident should happen to involve a commercial truck, there are even more parties involved. Having an experienced attorney to represent you helps ensure that you receive the payments you deserve.

Staley Law Firm Specialists

You can rely on the experienced team from Staley Law Firm if you need an auto accident attorney. We’re dedicated to every element of your case, providing personalized attention, determining liable parties, negotiating with medical or insurance personnel and procuring the maximum settlement you deserve, even in court. Contact an attorney at Staley Law Firm today. We can help.

Time-Limited Demands

8471021665_99e8b56262_hThe case of Southern General Insurance Company vs. Holt, 262 Ga. 267 (1992) is one of the most significant rulings in the state of Georgia regarding personal injury law and is more commonly known as the Holt Case. It established that insurance companies should maintain “good faith” and refrain from putting their interests ahead of the insured.

Holt Case Summary

Bridget Holt negligently struck Geneva Fortson’s vehicle on June 19, 1987. Fortson was injured as a result of the collision. Fortson’s position was that her case had a value well in excess of Holt’s policy limits of $15,000. This was substantiated by the fact that she suffered a herniated disk and that her medical bills and lost wages alone exceeded the amount of the policy limits. Fortson offered to settle her case for the policy limits of $15,000 if payment was made within a specified time period. Fortson then withdrew her offer to settle when payment was not received. Fortson filed suit and obtained a jury verdict of $82,000. Holt assigned her claim against Southern General for bad faith refusal to settle within the policy limits to Fortson. Continue reading

Our Top 3 Heartfelt Wins

By: Garrett Tomlinson

For confidentiality reasons, I am not able to give names or information which could be used to personally identify someone. Speaking in general terms, however, our top three heartfelt wins in recent years are (in no particular order):

1. I recently handled a workers’ compensation claim that had little-to-no value for economic reasons. However, it became clear to me during the initial phone call with this client that she was being mistreated and denied basic rights that injured workers receive under the law. By entering an appearance on the case, I was able to get medical care that was previously denied, get appointments scheduled sooner, and get weekly benefit checks paid. When a doctor (notorious for being insurance friendly and for denying the seriousness of workplace injuries) attempted to send my client back to work without any sort of restrictions or protections, I was able to step in and prevent it. Ultimately, we were able to negotiate toward a modest settlement, and my client resigned from her employment. Though the economic value of the case was low, I was very proud of the work we did and results we delivered for this client. She was very thankful for how we turned her case around. Continue reading

Don’t Do These 5 Things When Driving—The Top Causes of Traffic Accidents

A traffic accident is something no one wants to have happen in his or her life. Sometimes an accident is completely unavoidable and sometimes it is entirely preventable. The NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) reports there were 30,057 fatal crashes with 32,719 fatalities in 2013 alone. In the same year, there were 5,687,000 police-reported crashes with 2,313,000 people injured. The NHTSA breaks down the data even further denoting certain factors involved in the data—some factors such as impaired driving and speeding that possibly could have prevented these accidents. Don’t do these 5 things when driving and hopefully you won’t become an NHTSA statistic:

Impaired Driving

It may seem tempting to drive home after a few drinks, especially when you keep telling yourself you are fine to drive. Additionally, driving while exhausted counts as impairment and can easily lead to accidents. Do yourself a favor – don’t. Remember, you are impaired and unable to make clear judgments.


Think you will get there quicker by going faster? Think again. Driving above the speed limit may decrease your reaction time and cause you to be in a traffic accident. You may end up never making it to your destination. Continue reading

FAQs about Workers’ Compensation

What is workers’ compensation?

Employers pay for accident insurance–workers’ compensation–which may provide the company’s employees with benefits to assist with recovering from on-the-job injury (medical, rehabilitation, and income compensation).

What benefits am I entitled to if I am injured on the job?

If the injury or illness is attributed to the job, you may be entitled to medical care for the injury, compensation for lost wages, and rehabilitation. If the accident results in an employee’s death, the employee’s dependents will receive monetary compensation.

When should I expect my first check after filing workers’ compensation?

If disability is the result of on-the-job injury, you should expect the first check within twenty-one days after your first missed day of work. However, in order to receive a weekly disability check, an authorized physician must place you under work restrictions saying you cannot work at all or that you can work subject to some physical limitations that your employer cannot accommodate by offering you a lighter-duty job. The rules regarding this are complicated, so speak with an attorney about your particular situation to understand how the rules apply to you. Continue reading

Meet the firm!

lizstaleyLiz Staley takes pride in helping the clients of Staley Law Firm through difficult times. Find out what she has to say about her career as a paralegal:

1. How long have you been a paralegal at Staley Law Firm?

8 years, though I’ve been a paralegal before that for various law firms. All combined, I’ve been a paralegal for about 14 years in multiple practice areas.

2. What do paralegals do?

Anything and everything it takes to keep the office running smoothly. I meet and greet clients, both on the phone and in person, update client files with information received through the mail, faxes, and phone calls, assist clients in many different ways, collect and coordinate medical information, write demands, order supplies, make deposits and pay bills.

3. What are the skills and traits of a successful paralegal?

I’d say the most important quality for a paralegal in our area of practice is to be personable and understanding of our clients’ struggles and difficulties. Most of our clients are suffering both physically and financially and it’s important to empathize with them, even if they are difficult at times. Beyond that, a paralegal must be flexible – always prepared to adjust. Paralegals must be very good at multi-tasking to be successful, because law firms are often chaotic places to work. Continue reading