You’ve suffered a personal injury and you think about the value of your case. First, says an expert personal injury lawyer Olympia WA residents must consider it’s legal category, and if the case has any value at all. While your goal is to achieve a monetary recovery, whether by judgement or settlement, you must realize that not every case is worth pursuing. There are some general principles that apply.
What Is A Personal Injury Case?
Generally, you have suffered a personal injury if you have medical expenses caused by the wrongful act of another. A tort occurs when someone commits a wrongful act, which is not a breach of contract and not necessarily a crime. You see, everyone has a duty to use reasonable care in their daily dealings. When someone violates that duty of reasonable care, that is a tort. Many laws assume the injured person is entitled to compensation, even without proof of a wrongful act. Strict liability laws vary from state to state, but examples include laws governing dog bits, airplane crashes or social hosts that sell or give alcohol to an intoxicated person who then causes injury.
Determining Liability, Damages And Causation
The first inquiry is whether the defendant has committed a wrongful act. If the defendant is not liable, that is, responsible, the defendant cannot be ordered to pay any money. Second, just because the defendant committed a wrongful act does not mean the defendant caused any harm. This harm is called damages. Without proof of damages, there is nothing to compensate. Special damages are actual out-of-pocket expenses paid or to be paid by someone, often the plantiff’s health insurer.
The most common special damages are medical expenses and lost earnings. Invoices and records of past earnings are commonly used as evidence of special damages. Gathering proof of your actual medical expenses and lost earnings is critical because a meaningful evaluation cannot occur without this information.
Securing A Settlement Before Trial
Personal injury attorneys say approximately 97 percent of all cases settle without a trial. People settle for many reasons. New facts may emerge in the course of litigation, which make recovery uncertain. Policy limits can cap any potential recovery, so it might make sense to accept a settlement. Trails are expensive and litigation can cost a lot, so sometimes you hear “we can’t afford to win a case.” In many cases, the costs of to litigate eats up any expenses, so both sides may determine it’s better to settle.
Gut Instincts And Judgement Calls
All of us make judgement calls when we don’t have the complete information available, and often personal injury attorneys use their gut instinct when evaluating a case. When it comes to an injury, attorneys will look at how well the plaintiff can explain their story to a jury. Will a pool of likely jurors be sympathetic or hostile to the plaintiff? Some information may not be known until the case is tried, and jurors can be unpredictable, so attorneys have to look at all the variables in a case and make a judgement call.
When considering what a case is worth, attorneys review several areas. It’s not enough to know what juries generally award. Proper case evaluation is critical to achieving a satisfactory conclusion.