We’re continuing our discussion of common terms we use in a personal injury case. If you haven’t already read it, the first part can be found here (LINK). Our goal is to make our services more accessible and understandable for our clients so that you always know what is going on with your case and can make well-informed decisions. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, call us at 888-474-9616 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the deadline by which you must file your lawsuit or you will lose your right to pursue compensation. In general, the statute of limitations in the state of Georgia for personal injury claims is two years from the date you are injured. If you do not file your lawsuit within that time period, your claim will be “time-barred.”
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof refers to who is responsible for proving a particular issue. Generally speaking, the plaintiff in a personal liability case must prove that the defendant was negligent and that they were injured. However, the defendant may have the burden of proof on certain aspects of the case if they raise certain arguments (referred to as “affirmative defenses”).
In a personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove their case by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that you have to prove that the defendant is more likely than not at-fault in the accident. In contrast, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case, which means that no reasonable person could doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a much higher burden of proof than in a personal injury case.
A contingency fee is an arrangement where the legal fees are contingent upon a certain outcome. In the context of a personal injury claim, you pay legal fees only if you recover compensation. Most, if not all, personal injury attorneys handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis and collect their fee as a portion of your compensation. As a result, you don’t have to pay legal fees out of pocket.
Contributory negligence is an affirmative defense raised by the defendant arguing that you are at least partially to blame for the accident. Under Georgia law, you cannot recover any compensation for your injuries if you were more than 50% at fault in the accident. If you were less than 50% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by the amount of your responsibility.
Injured in an Accident? Call Slappey & Sadd
Founded in 1992, we work with accident victims in the Atlanta area and across the state of Georgia. With decades of experience, we know how to get you the compensation you need. If you’re injured and overwhelmed, we can help you get back on your feet. Call us at 888-474-9616 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.