How do lawyers evaluate personal injury cases? Improve your chances of representation with these tips.
Personal injury cases involve physical or emotional harm as a result of one party’s actions against another—either directly or by ignoring a risk. Unfortunately, not every injury justifies filing a lawsuit. Lawyers help you determine whether it’s worth the investment of your time and money to sue.
When evaluating a personal injury case, lawyers consider:
- Significance of Injury
- Ability to Collect
It’s frustrating to think someone might get away with hurting you, but sometimes you’ve suffered enough. Filing will only take more money and time away from you. Even a guaranteed win could result in an inability to collect on your claim. Figure out if your case has a chance by assessing these three factors:
Personal injury cases rely on the ability to show someone caused your problems. When another driver crashes into your car, it’s obvious who caused your problems. Sometimes it’s not so cut-and-dried. For instance, an employee might sue an employer after developing severe allergies due to a moldy work environment. In this situation, the business would still be to blame if the employee can show a direct relation between her health problems and the mold growth.
In Georgia, judges also have to consider the comparative fault rule. If the defendant can prove the injury was partly a result of your own actions, you won’t receive the full judgment. In situations where you are largely to blame for an incident, filing might not be in your best interests.
2. Significance of Injury
How much pain and suffering you’ve experienced has a big impact on the outcome of your case. The length of time to recover, complications, long-lasting impairments and changes to your quality of life justify a lawsuit.
People often point to the McDonald’s coffee burn case as an example of a frivolous lawsuit with a big payoff, but people fail to realize the victim experienced 3rd-degree burns and underwent months of surgery and painful recovery. They also don’t realize inspectors warned management at the McDonald’s restaurant responsible for the injuries, telling them the temperature of their coffee was unsafe.
3. Ability to Collect
For some plaintiffs, securing a win is an emotional victory necessary to move forward. For others, it’s a fruitless effort that doesn’t bring closure because they can’t collect. A lot depends on whether an offending party has insurance. Coverage increases your chances of collecting a judgment.
Suing individuals for injuries becomes more complicated. If someone owns property, has a good job, and has a credit report they want to protect, payment is more likely. Unfortunately, in some personal injury cases, the offender doesn’t have assets. This is a situation where you will likely have to pay your lawyer out-of-pocket, and it represents just one of many reasons a law firm might turn down your case.
Click to learn more about personal injury cases by contacting the Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. online.