Before you spend time and money consulting a lawyer about a possible personal injury case, try to determine if your situation will be worth the costs.
1. You Are Really Hurt
Obviously you don’t have a personal injury case if there is no personal injury involved. As horrible as it sounds, the more injured you are, the better your case will be. Long-term or permanently disabling injuries and severe injuries are more likely to result in a settlement than minor or temporary injuries.
The rule of thumb for settlements is to ask for 3x the amount of your medical bills.
If you are the victim of an accident that results in medical bills of $25,000, you can sue the responsible party’s insurance company for about $75,000.
The worse your injury is, the higher the medical bills will be, and the more you will be able to ask for in a settlement.
2. You Are Not at Fault
If you want a judge to award you the settlement you are asking for, you can’t be at fault in the accident. Let’s say you are driving down the freeway on a snowy day. You come to a particularly icy patch of road, and you feel your vehicle sliding around. The driver next to you is also having a hard time maintaining control of his car. Before you even have time to realize what’s happening, the two cars slam into each other.
In this incident, both drivers are considered “at fault.” You can try to sue the other driver’s insurance company, but you won’t win.
You may have a good personal injury case if you are not at fault whatsoever in the incident.
3. The Other Person Has High Insurance
The bigger the other person’s insurance policy is, the more likely you will be to get the settlement you are asking for.
When you sue in a personal injury case, you are suing the other person’s insurance company. If they have a really great policy, you will be more likely to get the money you are asking for. If you aren’t awarded the settlement, you will either have to sue the individual, or drop the case. Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to get settlement from an individual than from an insurance company.
The better the insurance of the person who caused you harm, the better your case will be.
If You Think You Have a Good Case
If you think you have a good personal injury case, you will want to document everything that happens. Diagram the accident as best as you can. Also keep track of any correspondence with doctors, insurance companies, or responsible parties.
Preserve any evidence that will help you in your case. Relevant evidence includes:
· Medical records
· Notes of the accident
· Pictures of the accident
· Pictures at the scene of the accident
· Witness statements
Consult a Lawyer
The next step is to take the case to a lawyer. Every personal injury lawyer, from Vancouver B.C. to Washington D.C., has different policies regarding consultations with potential clients. You may be charged to meet with a lawyer and present the case, even if the lawyer doesn’t end up taking it. Other law firms don’t charge at all until they’ve agreed to work on the personal injury case.
If a lawyer does accept your case, he or she will typically take part of your settlement as payment. Every lawyer has their own fees, so you will want to find the best lawyer for your situation. Let’s say you are asking for a $90,000 settlement, and your lawyer’s fee is 30%. If you win, you will get to keep $60,000 of the settlement.
If you don’t win the settlement, you will typically still have to pay the lawyer for their work on the case.
If you are considering suing for personal injury, determine if you have a good case and find a personal injury lawyer to help you get your settlement.
About the Author
Nina Hiatt researches and writes articles to help people find balance and beauty in their lives. In her free time, Nina blogs about many of her interests, which include gardening, technology news, and law. For her legal questions, Nina consults the lawyers at Taylor and Blair.