Should I Contact a Lawyer Regarding My Personal Injury Case?
Have you been injured in a car accident, hurt on a construction site, fallen from a height while working, or been injured on someone’s property? If you have, you may have the ability to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover money in a civil case for the harm you have suffered. This blog will address the important factors a personal injury lawyer will consider when deciding whether a claim can be pursued on your behalf.
What Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Consider When Evaluating My Case?
Before a personal injury lawyer decides to become involved in a case, the injury attorney considers several things:
- Whether the lawyer can prove that another party is liable
- Including whether the injured party is partly at fault
- Whether the prospective client has suffered provable injuries which include:
- pain and suffering
- economic loss to include medical expense and lost earnings
- Whether the damages are collectible.
How Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Determine Who Is At Fault?
The first thing an injury lawyer considers is whether there is evidence to prove that someone or a company is liable for causing the accident. In many instances personal injury attorneys look for evidence of rule violations such as violating a vehicle and traffic law (running a red light or using a cell phone and not paying attention) to prove that someone breached a duty of care to you. When an injury attorney evaluates a claim, we always look to rules that the other side violated, rules of the road, labor laws, and/or acts of reasonableness, such as maintaining your property safely, that can allow us to prove the defendant was responsible.
What If I Am Partially At Fault In The Accident, Will A Personal Injury Lawyer Take My Case?
A lawyer also considers whether you are at fault to any degree. Even if you are partially at fault, a personal injury attorney in New York can still pursue a successful claim on your behalf. As an example, if you are struck by a car while crossing the street because the other vehicle was not paying attention and speeding, but you didn’t cross in a crosswalk, there may be an argument that you are partially at fault. A jury can assess all the evidence and ultimately distribute fault amongst the parties. What this means is if there is a $1 million recovery and you are 20% at fault your total verdict or settlement would be reduced by the amount you are at fault and you would receive $800,000.
How Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Decide What My Case Is Worth?
With respect to damages, there are two forms:
- noneconomic damages, also known as pain and suffering damages
- economic damages, such as lost earnings or medical expenses.
For pain and suffering damages, a personal injury lawyer typically will not take on a case, unless the damages involved are substantial, meaning unless you have suffered a fracture or a significant serious injury that requires medical treatment. The reason for this is that lawyers handle these cases on a contingency fee basis meaning, in New York a lawyer will recover a 1/3 legal fee against the total recovery in a case. Thus, if the pain and suffering damages are limited, because there was no serious or long-term injury, it is difficult for a lawyer to invest hundreds of hours into a case that the law would limit the value of because of the minimal injury.
The other type of damages that a lawyer will consider are called economic damages, which includes out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical costs, and lost earnings. If you are out of work for an extended period, or are unable to return to work at all, a lawyer will seek to recover all of your past and future lost earnings. A personal injury lawyer will always evaluate if any part of your damages will include out of pocket expenses and lost earnings.
Is It Important That The Defendant In A Personal Injury Case Have Insurance Or Substantial Assets?
Finally, a lawyer will always consider whether it is possible to recover money on your behalf. Personal injury lawyers usually look to available insurance coverage as a means to collect for your harm. However, sometimes the damages are greater than the available insurance coverage. For example, following an automobile crash there may only be automobile insurance coverage in New York of $25,000 or $100,000 or $300,000. In this instance, a lawyer will explore whether the defendant has assets that are unencumbered by mortgages or liens to fully compensate you. However, sadly, in most instances, it is common that people do not have sufficient assets to pay for any harm caused above the insurance limits.
Summary Of What A Personal Injury Lawyer Considers When Evaluating A Potential Claim.
In summary, to know if you have a successful personal injury case a personal injury attorney will look at whether there is sufficient proof that someone else caused your injury, whether you are partially at fault, the significance of your injury, including the physical injury and any out-of-pocket expense or lost earnings, as well as the path to collect your money damages.