The question I get asked most often by my personal injury clients is this: “Do I have a good case?” It’s impossible to answer that question in detail without knowing a lot about a particular case. But I’ve developed a 4 step analysis of a case to estimate whether it is worth pursuing. Check after the break to find out more.
Step 1 – Liability
This is simple in theory. Just ask yourself, “did someone else cause the accident?” If so, then liability shouldn’t be a problem. If you were the victim of a drunk driver or you got rear ended, chances are someone else is liable for your injuries.
Liability can be complicated though. Maybe someone pulled out in front of you while you were speeding. They are partly to blame, but an insurance company will likely say that you were too. Legally, the issue isn’t whether you were somewhat responsible for the accident. Instead, you must be less than 50% responsible.
When more than 2 people are involved, things get even more complicated. If you get hit from behind by someone who’s texting while driving and you’re bumped forward into a pedestrian who’s crossing the road not at a crosswalk while listening to an IPod, working out who’s liable to who can be a nightmare.
Still, this is the first question you need to ask: “Were my injuries caused by someone else.” If they were, you may have a good case.
Step 2 – Damages
No one wants to be hurt. Aside from the pain, injuries get in the way or work and play. The best case scenario in any car crash is that you’re not injured badly enough to have a good personal injury case. Still, damages play a role in determining whether you have a “good” personal injury case.
Medical bills are a large part of most people’s damages. With an ER visit costing approximately $1,500, medical bills add up fast. Other damages include time off work, loss of quality of life, permanent impairment, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, the greater your damages, the better you case. In the personal injury world, having a “good case” is a very bad thing.
Step 3 – Coverage
This is the hardest part of evaluating a personal injury claim. You have to work out whether there is someone able to pay for your damages. Usually this means looking around to find insurance coverage. This can come in many forms: Bodily injury coverage from the responsible driver’s insurance policy, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage under your own or a family member’s policy, medical payments coverage under your own policy, and umbrella policies are all possibilities.
To work out if there’s coverage, you just have to know the rules of who has to cover what and keep looking until you find something. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
Step 4 – Defenses to Payment
This is where you’ve got to think like the other side. Did you go to the ER right after the accident? Did you delay getting treatment? Did you go skiing three days after the accident? Did you tell someone on the scene that you weren’t hurt? An insurance company will look at all these things in deciding whether to pay your claim. So you have to think about them in determining whether you have a good case.
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident due to another persons injuries, contact a Fort Collins personal injury attorney from our firm for a free case consultation today.