Personal Injury

Let’s get you the justice you deserve.

Our approach to personal injury cases

Smith, Welch, Webb & White takes a hands-on approach to personal injury cases. That’s why we believe you should meet with the attorney representing you from the get-go.

At your first appointment, you will meet with one of our personal injury attorneys. He or she will ask you questions, take notes, and walk you through the process by which they will handle your case. It’s our way of offering personal service in a client-oriented environment.

Once we finish with the initial consultation, we turn the paperwork over to our team, a staff dedicated to collecting relevant documents such as medical records or accident reports.

As questions arise, you can reach out to your attorney at any time. We’re here for you and want you to know you can call us, stop by our office, or shoot us an email.

Our approach to the opposition

We’re not afraid to handle cases where the insurance company says, “We’re not at fault. We’re not going to pay any money.” Your attorney will hit this attitude straight on and see your case through to the end.

For instance, say you’ve been injured in an accident and are undergoing medical treatment. During that time, we’re busy working behind the scenes, gathering documentation and making sure we’re prepared to move forward when your injuries have been resolved.

Once the doctor releases you, we will place a demand on the insurance company for an amount of money to cover everything from your medical bills, your lost wages, your pain and suffering and any permanent disability. If the insurer refuses, we will file a lawsuit, fight the insurance company and get you the justice you deserve.

Our fees for personal injury cases

You won’t pay us a dime, not even at your first appointment, until we recover money for you. That’s how personal injury cases work. If you hire us, you will agree to pay a contingency fee — a fee based upon a percentage of the money we collect on your behalf.

Personal injury cases we represent (examples)

Accidental burns
Automobile accidents
Dog bites
Railroad crossing collisions
Slip and fall/ Trip and fall accidents
Tractor trailer accidents
Wrongful death accidents
Product liability claims

What to know about your injury from a “low impact” rear end collision.
So you were injured in a rear end collision and the insurance adjuster says “due to the lack of vehicle damage we have determined that you couldn’t have been hurt that bad so we have already determined the value of your injury claim to be no more than $2,500.00.” “But my medical bills are more than that and I’m still hurting” you say in response. “That’s because you probably had some degenerative conditions that aren’t our responsibility” is the likely response and then the conversation goes nowhere. Why is this and why does the insurance industry continue to take this position to low ball legitimate claims?

Several years ago the insurance industry started promoting a concept commonly referred to as MIST, which stands for Minor Impact Soft Tissue damage cases. Their theory is that low speed impacts with minor vehicle damage cannot result in physical injuries such as whiplash injuries to cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine in the human body. The purpose of this, of course, was to refuse to pay legitimate claims and thereby pad their bottom line. The insurance industry funded a series of Quasi-scientific studies trying to establish the lack of correlation between minor impact collisions and injuries. They did this through a series of tests conducted with voluntary human subjects (who were usually young and healthy and therefore less susceptible to injury or industry employees [biased]), as well as experiments using cadavers and crash test dummies. Of course, the problem with their studies is that these tests were specifically designed not to injure the human subjects. In fact, it would be illegal and unethical to do so. Regardless, even with their biased studies, the overwhelming consensus among the biomechanical experts employed by the insurance industry is that a Delta-V (change in velocity) of 5 mph does result in symptoms of injury.

Another, bigger problem is that there is no correlation between visible property damage and change in velocity in bumper to bumper collisions. Unlike other parts of a vehicle that have a crush zone, bumpers do not. In fact they are designed to do just the opposite. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “[t]he car bumper is designed to prevent or reduce physical damage to the front and rear ends of passenger motor vehicles in low-speed collisions. Automobile bumpers are not typically designed to be structural components that would significantly contribute to vehicle crashworthiness or occupant protection during front or rear collisions. It is not a safety feature intended to prevent or mitigate injury severity to occupants in the passenger cars. Bumpers are designed to protect the hood, trunk, grille, fuel, exhaust and cooling system as well as safety related equipment such as parking lights, headlamps and taillights in low speed collisions.” Furthermore, NHTSA goes on to explain the following in this Q&A article:

“11) Is there a way to determine how fast a car was going during a rear end crash based on the damaged bumper(s)?

No. We do not collect any data that would be useful in determining the impact speed. Many parameters such as vehicle masses, the pre-impact velocity of both vehicles, impact angles, crush resistance, metallurgical fatigue, etc., affect how the bumpers behave during an impact. Each crash must be analyzed with respect to all of the parameters before an estimate can be made.”

So, if the bumper of the bullet vehicle is aligned with the bumper of the target vehicle, where does the transfer of energy go? You guessed it. The force goes to the vehicle occupants. In fact, there is a greater likelihood of injury in a bumper to bumper collision with little visible property damage precisely because there is no crush zone to absorb the energy!

The next time you are confronted with an insurance adjuster who tries to tell you that you are not hurt because of the lack of visible damage to your bumper, kindly tell them to take out their high school physics book and then call you back. Then get a lawyer.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, we’re here to help. Contact Attorney John Webb today via email at jwebb@smithwelchlaw.com or call us at 770-389-4864 for a free consultation.

Smith, Welch, Webb & White, LLC., is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia with expertise in this area of law. We have an uncompromising commitment to serving our clients and community. Our team of experts routinely handle a wide range of legal matters and will be happy to provide outstanding service for you, your family, or your business.

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

What to do if you are in a car accident?
The stats are in, and they’re not looking good.  According to the most recent statistics from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, crash data indicates an alarming trend for traffic related injuries and deaths.
Based upon the most recent 3 year average computed by the office, we average 1,333 traffic related fatalities in Georgia per year with additional injuries totaling 114,279 per year. Approximately 280 deaths are alcohol related, 182 the result of speeding and 165 involving pedestrians. The majority of car accidents, however, can be attributed to distracted driving and other factors. 
What does this mean to you?  It’s more important than ever to drive carefully, and know what to do if you’re involved in a car accident.  
First, ensure that you are in a safe place and call 911.  Describe the type of help you need from the police and medics. Get medical attention as soon as possible if you need it. This is no time to be stoic about your pain.
Second, protect yourself against further damage by following these steps:
Get as much information at the scene as possible such as photographs of the vehicles and scene location and names of witnesses. Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
Contact an attorney whose focus is in personal injury claims. Most personal injury attorneys don’t charge anything for a consultation. If you delay in calling an attorney, it could result in loosing certain rights you may not be aware of, costing you thousands of dollars and ultimately make a bad situation even worse.
Insurance: Contact your own insurance company ASAP, even if it is the other driver’s fault. You more than likely have a mandatory reporting requirement in your insurance contract and if you need them to step in and help pay for things, they may very well have an exclusion if you don’t tell them soon enough. Don’t accept a cash offer from the other driver’s insurance company without talking to a lawyer first, and definitely not before knowing the true nature and extent of any injuries. The insurance adjuster is trying to save as much money as possible for the insurance company and will probably give you a low ball figure on the value of your claim. Often they will try to get you to settle before you have finished treatment. That would be a terrible mistake. You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering and lost quality of life. Also, an insurance adjuster may ask you for a recorded statement.  Say “no thanks” to the recorded statement and refer the adjuster to your attorney if you have one or tell them you want to talk to an attorney first if you don’t have one. This statement may be used against you if the case proceeds to litigation.
Medical Expenses: Keep records of all medical expenses related to the accident. Use your health insurance if you have it. If a provider says they don’t take health insurance in accident injury cases, call an attorney at once. If your health insurance provider pays some or all of your medical costs, they may have a right to reimbursement (called “subrogation”), but it will still save you money to go through your health insurance as opposed to self pay or payment through a lien. The health insurance company may also claim they have a right to subrogation, when they really don’t. It takes a skilled professional to negotiate these issues to put the most money in your pocket as possible.
Vehicle Damage: Immediately, or as soon as possible, take photographs of the damage done to your vehicle. It’s also important to keep good records of any estimates or expenses related to your car damage, including the cost of a rental car while your car is repaired.  When negotiating with the insurance company for damage to your vehicle, it’s also key to understand that you are entitled to the diminished value of your car, in addition to the repair costs.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident that resulted in an injury, the attorneys at injuryattorneysouth.com will be happy to provide a free consultation to discuss your options.

Work Together

Meet with one of our personal injury attorneys. Schedule an appointment by sending us an email or calling us at 1-855-505-7999.

Attorneys

John P. Webb

Manager

Marc A. Avidano

Manager

Andrew Gebhardt

Manager

Miranda Hanley

Associate

Casey Crumbley

Of Counsel

No matter your law needs, Smith, Welch, Webb, & White is here to help. Contact us today for a free legal consultation!

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