What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Look For in a Case?
There are a wide variety of situations that could constitute a personal injury claim. The most common personal injury cases are car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, workplace accidents, and premises liability like slip and fall incidents.
When you tighten the lens, more specific variations of personal injury cases could include nursing home abuse or neglect, aviation and boating accidents, dog bites and catastrophic accidents or injuries.
Whatever your plight may be, the validity of your legal case will rest heavily on situational circumstances, and whether your personal injury attorney has a fair shot at championing a successful or profitable outcome.
Personal injury lawyers, by design, are in the business of helping clients get the justice and compensation they deserve. But they also aim to be judicious about the cases they take on, ensuring their efforts are worthwhile and deserving of the time.
Advantageous Reasons for Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim
Before contacting an attorney, keep in mind that a personal injury claim is based on the premise that you were personally harmed, not your property or belongings. Additionally, the incident must have been a result of someone else’s negligence and not your own. In cases of slip and fall, otherwise called premises liability cases, it isn’t enough that you injured yourself on someone else’s property. You will have to prove that another party was negligent and caused the injury.
When doing his dudillegence, your attorney will then evaluate the accident, your injuries and whether it occurred under suspect conditions. When assessing the legitimacy of a personal injury case, your attorney may consider a number of factors.
- Who is Liable – Determining who is liable is the keystone to any personal injury case, and will be at the top of your lawyer’s to-do list. Liability refers to the party at fault. For example, if there was an accident and a police report was drafted that states you contributed to the incident, or you were mostly at fault, then that would discourage most attorneys from taking on your case. However, there are situations where liability is shared and the case moves forward. This is called comparative negligence. This is when both parties contributed to the accident and both may be due compensation.
- Qualifying Conditions of a Personal Injury Case – Your personal injury attorney will begin evaluating the details of your case to see if it is provable in a court of law. Simply injuring yourself is not nearly enough to rise to the level of proving negligence on someone else’s behalf.
- The Severity of the Injury – While it is always preferred that victims walk away from an accident without sustaining severe injuries or being seriously harmed, there has to be just cause for filing a personal injury claim. If you experienced loss of wages and/or sustained injuries that resulted in unusually high medical bills because of another’s negligence, then this may added motivation for a personal injury attorney to pursue your case. One of the most severe types of personal injury claims fall under the ‘serious injury’ category. This would include burns, paralysis, spinal cord injury. But you needn’t be totally bed ridden or disabled to collect damages in a personal injury case. If you were harmed or wounded because of a defective product, in a bicycle accident, or even while walking down the street, these all fall under the umbrella of potential personal injury claims.
- The Economic Value of a Personal Injury Case – It may sound insensitive, but the monetary value of your case is of interest to your attorney, and should also be a priority to you. Whether you are seeking compensation for exorbitant medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish, or pain and suffering, your personal injury lawyer wants to ensure that he/she is compensated for his/her time as well. The reality is, compensation most likely won’t be awarded if the injury didn’t financially or emotionally impact your life in a negative way. Also, the out-of-pocket costs of pursuing a personal injury case can accumulate pretty quickly. Your attorney will be assessing if there is a fair return on investment. Personal injury lawyers typically accept cases on a contingency basis. Meaning, the attorney gets paid when you get paid, in the event the case is successful. It comes down to a simple business move. Your attorney wants the highest degree of certainty that the personal injury claim is worth it and is of value to everyone, including the client.
- Have You Spoken to an Insurance Adjuster Yet – May seem like a curveball, but if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Even if you didn’t intend for it to, anything you have previously disclosed to an insurer could tip the scales of justice in favor of the other party. If you were involved in an accident it isn’t uncommon for insurance companies to be contacted at the site of crash. This may have resulted in you giving a written or recorded statement about how the accident happened. It is always advised that you forgo these attempts to get a statement from you on record until your attorney has arrived on the scene.
Remember, if you were involved in a car accident, after addressing any emergency service needs, it is imperative that you call your attorney before reaching out to insurance companies or giving a statement to anyone. Your personal injury attorney will be able to advise you on the proper action to take so you are in the most advantageous position to file a personal injury claim.
Mistakenly providing inaccurate details of the accident, or not fully knowing the extent of your injuries at the time, may be overlooked or not included in your initial statement. This could put your case in jeopardy and could invalidate your claim. That is why it is always recommended you contact your attorney to handle every personal injury incident immediately proceeding emergency or medical services.