The two most common questions in personal injury law

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The two most common questions burning on the minds of individuals we speak with in our complimentary obligation case reviews, by far, are the following:

  1. Do I have a case?
  2. What is my case worth?

 

These are fair questions as they speak to the potential futility of any endeavor and measure the inherit risk vs reward calculation we all make in our daily lives.

Question 1: Do I have a case?

Before getting into a detailed answer, the simple explanation to this question is:

You most likely have a case if you were injured or suffered a loss due to the negligence or inaction of a third party, whether they were only partially or completely at fault.

Legal Theory – After an initial evaluation of your case, an attorney will determine the best method to proceed and, if there are multiple at-fault parties, the order in which to move forward.

Once an attorney determines your legal theory of the case, he or she will have a better understanding of the case involved and the potential expenses associated with taking on the case. Generally, the more complicated the case, the better it is for you to retain the services of a lawyer.

Liability – How clear is the liability of the at-fault party in your case? In most civil lawsuits, a lawyer must be able to show that the defendant acted in a negligent way. However, if a lawyer is not be able to establish liability, he or she may be unwilling to take the case. 

Complex Legal Issues – If your case involves complex legal issues that may require the retention of experts, a lawyer may be hesitant about taking the case if the expenses outweigh the potential judgment or settlement – creating a financially risky situation for the lawyer. In this situation, a settlement may be an alternative to help avoid some of the expenses associated with proving these complex matters.

Damages – Law offices are businesses and need to generate a profit. Even if the other party was clearly liable for the accident and the attorney is assured that he or she will likely win the case, your case must be worth a minimum amount before an attorney may be willing to take on the case.

Solvency – The end goal in most civil cases is to obtain a monetary compensation for the losses incurred. If you intend on suing someone, find out whether he or she can pay the penalty levied against him or her.

Question 2: What is my case worth?

Do you have a compelling case? The short answer is that your compensation is most likely to be far greater than the other driver’s insurance coverage.

Here are some of the factors that a vehicle accident compensation calculator used by insurance companies and adjusters when determining the settlement worth of your claim following a motor vehicle accident in California considers:

Insurance Policy Limits – The liability policy limit of the at-fault driver who crashed into you will act as an upper-limit of what a case is worth, in most situations.

Vehicle Damage – The cost of repair or replacement for vehicle damage.

Injuries – The type of injury. For instance, an injury to neck, back or spinal cord or a minor sprain or strain, that is now resolved. Also, brain injury, lost consciousness or post-traumatic amnesia are considered.

  • If your injuries are fully resolved with minor treatment.
  • If you’re still having pain and receiving medical treatment.
  • If you have fractures or an injury requiring surgery. 

Employment – Including the length of time off work or whether you’ve been disabled from working due to a medical treatment.

Truck accidents and cashes involving commercial trucks -The bodily injury liability coverage limit for trucks is significantly higher than that of automobiles, in the event of an accident. Trucks are required by federal law to have $750,000 in bodily injury insurance. (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Financial-Responsibility-Study.pdf)

If you have further questions regarding your case, the attorneys at Harsh Law are happy to help and answer any questions you may have.