Many times, clients will tell me that they are not the "type of person to sue" someone.  I confess that I do not know what type of person does sue someone; but most of my clients are not that person.  I have clients come to me and say that they are hurt and have all of these bills and do not know what to do.  They feel bad making a claim but they missed a week of work and they now do not have the money to pay the gas bill.  They say that they hurt for weeks but are not sure that is enough of a reason to sue someone.

I tell all of my clients the same thing.  My job and the courts job is to try to put you back in the position you were in prior to the wreck.  This means paying your medical bills, paying your lost wages, and giving you something for the pain and inconvenience of being hurt.  This can be something to compensate you for what you could not do while you were injured.  Maybe you missed your family reunion, maybe you could not go on vacation with your kids, maybe your daughter missed her prom, and maybe you just could not play with your 5 year-old son at night wrestling for a month.  All of these things have value to you; and, they are things you lost.  What you missed out on is based on your life and what it was before the wreck.

I relate the injuries and damages of my clients, to what happens if my son knocks a baseball through the neighbor's window.  What is the right thing to do as a parent?  First my son is responsible; however, since he is a kid, with no job, that means, as his Dad, I am on the hook for the bill.  This means that I have to pay to fix the window.  And I cannot just go buy a window and drop it off with my neighbor; they need someone to install it.  Also, it probably not right to say that your window is 5 years old so I do not want to pay full price and only give them the money for half a window (insurance companies can do this when talking about your car or a pre-existing injury).  Also, let us hope that my neighbor is not out of town and it rains before they come home and ruins the carpet in the room.  If so, then that is on me, too.  That would be a related loss to the baseball, similar to something you missed out on or your missed time from work.

Most people are responsible parents and would fix the window.  These same people would feel somewhat awkward about asking their neighbor to fix their own window.  Years ago, we all expected everyone to do the right thing.  Now, many times, we have to make folks do the right thing.  It is right and responsible to pay your medical bills if someone hurts you in an accident.  It is right that if you cannot work for a week that you get the money back that you lost.  I feel that if you miss out on something you love and enjoy doing that that is worth something.  I know my son loves to wrestle and wants to do it almost every night.  It is tough to explain to him that Dad is hurt and cannot do it.  Does money fix this if I'm hurt - of course not, but unfortunately it is the only remedy the law gives us.  Someone else cannot give me back my time.

If you were hurt, and want to talk to someone, please give us a call.  I am not a high pressure guy, I can advise you about your rights and options.  If after talking, you still feel bad and do not want to go forward that is okay.

Shane Smith
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Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia

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