This is one of the most common questions that we receive. It is our expertise and our pleasure to talk with you about the details of your situation and to give you an answer. There is no cost for you to talk with one of our experienced trial attorneys who can answer this question.
There are a vast number of different types of legal cases. I cannot address all such cases, (for instance we do not take cases involving: divorce, child custody, child support, contract disputes, property disputes, business disputes, and criminal defense). We specialize in injury claims. Although we do specialize in Social Security Disability cases, and workers’ compensation cases, this blog will address a few other areas of injury cases, also known as liability injury cases, personal injury liability cases, and malpractice injury liability cases.
If you find yourself injured and you feel your injuries are the result of someone else’s actions, then you should consider calling an experienced trial lawyer for a free consultation to determine if you in fact have a winnable case. In determining the answer to that question, the analysis will first exam the actions of the person that caused the injury. The analysis must consider the legal rules of court. Some factors that you may feel are relevant may, in a court room, not be considered or allowed. For instance in a car accident, often the injured party will say: “the other party was given a ticket, so he is liable.” This is not a proper analysis. In most cases, the fact that one of the driver’s was given a ticket by a police officer is not allowed to be disclosed to the jury. The jury will decide the case NOT knowing that a ticket was issued. Although you may disagree with this notion, there are strict rules that govern the rules of evidence in our court system. So, a careful examination of the provable actions of the defendant is very important. An accident involving someone running a red light with no witnesses is different than a case involving an accident where someone runs a red light and there are multiple witnesses. Are the witnesses obtainable or believable? In one case, the only witness was a homeless man. Because of his condition and his status, the jury did not consider his testimony with much weight.
Analyzing the actions of the other person is much more complicated in a medical malpractice case. Often medical expert witnesses must be consulted in order to determine if the actions of the doctor where negligent. Analyzing the actions of the owner of a dog who bit a child requires applying different rules of evidence and different laws. Slip and fall injuries require a different analysis when examining the actions of a property owner where someone fell.
Another level of examination of the actions of the other party is to look at the level of intent of the other party. These are typically categorized as actions that are either, intentional, negligent, careless, reckless, and punitive, or aggravated negligence. Cases involving intentional and punitive actions to harm are treated completely different in a settlement than are negligent, careless and reckless actions. Most intentional actions to cause harm are not covered by insurance, and therefore although you may have a very good case, there may never be an insurance settlement offer or payment. In order to really know if you have a case, you will have to bring the specific facts of your case to an experienced trial attorney.
After analyzing the actions of the other person, we must examine the strength of the evidence proving that the actions CAUSED a certain degree of harm. This often is complex when dealing with someone who has a long term back injury and then they are the victims of a car accident. We may be able to prove convincingly that the other person caused the accident, but it may be problematic to prove the degree of damage that was caused over and above the pre-accident back condition. Often people who have suffered physical injuries will also have psychological effects as well. Many people are more susceptible to psychological effects. Only experienced trial attorneys who are working with experienced psychologists or counselors and therapists can determine what damage was actually caused by the negligent acts of another.
Once you can prove liability based on the actions of the other person, and you can prove that the actions caused damages, then you likely have a case. The next thing to be examined would be the value of the case. Cases involving death and paralysis are obviously going to be larger in value than a whiplash case. There are some instances where you may have a valid case, but it may still not be advisable to pursue. Then, it must be analyzed whether you are able to collect damages. In many dog bite cases, the negligent dog owner has no insurance, no assets, no job and no ability to pay a settlement. Although, the injured victim does technically have a valid liability case, it may not be viable to pursue. The topics of this last paragraph will be the subjects of other blogs. In summary, the only way to know if you have a case is to call an experienced and successful personal injury law firm and consult with a trial attorney. We are eager to consult with you and offer these consultations at no charge.