Ralph E. Hughes – Attorney at Law


Who will help put your life back together?

Fair question.  It’s the one I would ask if I were looking for an attorney.  I have over 30 years of experience in the preparation and trial of injury-related cases.  I have tried to a conclusion more than two hundred (200) cases involving every type of injury you can imagine and some you probably couldn’t.  I confine my practice to serious injury and wrongful death cases.  I don’t handle divorce cases, criminal cases, or real estate closings.  I focus only on serious personal injury and wrongful death cases.  If you call my office, I will discuss your case with you.  If you hire me, I will be the only attorney you deal with.  If your case goes to trial, I will be the attorney standing beside you when you walk into the courtroom.  I will personally investigate every aspect of your case and personally prepare it for trial.  I will be the attorney who tries your case to a jury verdict.  Lastly, and most importantly, I am good at what I do.

Every attempt will be made to settle your case without the added expense and inconvenience of filing a suit.  However, if you are dealing with an insurance company that simply refuses to pay you a satisfactory sum of money for your injury and lost time from work, your only alternative is to file a suit.  The insurance industry is aware that most people do not like to become involved in lawsuits.   Because of this, the insurance adjuster tries to settle cases paying as little as possible.  Once an offer is made to settle your case, you have the option of accepting it or not.  If you accept the offer, the case is over.  If you do not accept it, your only alternative is to file a suit against the person who hurt you.

Suit should only be filed once a determination is made that your case cannot otherwise be settled.

Generally, within the metropolitan Atlanta area, it takes from twelve to eighteen months for a non-complicated civil case to reach trial.  Complicated cases, such as those involving issues of medical malpractice, defective products, or that otherwise require extensive utilization of expert witnesses, may not be reached for trial for up to two years.

Not necessarily.  The vast majority of cases, probably eighty-five to ninety percent, are resolved after the suit is filed and before trial.

Liability insurance companies make money by either not paying claims or paying the absolute least amount they can get away with paying.  They will always try to underpay a claim and save themselves some money.  If they have a claim worth $100,000.00, they will tell the injured person, or the injured person’s lawyer if he/she has hired one, that they have evaluated the case at $25,000.00 and that is all they will pay.  They will jerk the injured person and his attorney around for six months, promising to reevaluate the claim, but eventually, they will make a “take it or leave it” offer, in this case, say $50,000.00, worth approximately half of the true value.  If the victim is unsophisticated, he/she may believe the insurance company is telling the truth and that $50,000.00 is all that will be paid.  If the attorney is inexperienced, he/she may believe the same thing and recommend the victim accept the offer without filing suit.

The only way the insurance carrier can be forced to pay the victim what he/she is due is to force the case to trial.  Once a lawsuit is filed and the case is prepared for trial, the insurance carrier risks losing more than the true value of the case.  This is the point when the insurance carrier will do what it should have done all along, that is, pay a fair and reasonable amount to the victim.  The insurance carrier knows exactly what must be done by the victim before the case is ready for trial.  Until all of this work is done, the insurance carrier knows the case is not ready and cannot be tried; therefore, it has no reason up to that point to treat the victim fairly.  Additionally, if the insurance carrier can drag out the case for twelve to eighteen months, it will earn interest on the money it owes the victim.