Personal injury suits are infamous for a reason: The high number of “ambulance chasers” and the possibility of a settlement from a big company entices many people, but rarely with the best results. Many citizens are not aware of the details behind a personal injury lawsuit or what it entails, so they make poor decisions regarding their injuries. Here are several important factors in every personal injury suit, and how they tend to affect the outcome of the case.
Little or No Fault:
The concept of “fault” is key in a personal injury suit. This is also referred to as negligence. The victim of the injury may or may not be at fault. If a client is to blame for the damages – as a result of a very poor decision, for example – it will be difficult to build a successful case. If a client is only partially to blame – say, a combination of a poor decision and faulty equipment – then a case can be made but winning the suit is doubtful and a settlement is usually for far less than a no-fault scenario. The best case is one in which the victim was not to blame in any way for the incidents leading to the injury.
Along with fault, assumption of risk is the other key factor in a personal injury lawsuit. How much risk did the victim knowingly assume? Engaging in high-risk activities like extreme sports comes with an innate chance of injury, and the law assumes that participants accept that chance. The more risk that the court believes the client accepted, the tougher the case will be to win. Of course, this depends a lot on the nature of the injury: Some injuries are directly caused by faulty equipment, which is not the sort of risk factor that people accept.
Proof of Damages:
Documentation is vital in a lawsuit. The injury, the response to the injury, the part that the defendant play, the hospital bills…everything must be backed by proof. The more documentation that a client has regarding the event, the more ammunition a lawyer has to win the case or reach a successful settlement. If all a client has is word of mouth, few attorneys will agree to represent the case at all – although multiple witnesses to the event can prove valuable. It is wise to remember that the scenario must be precisely reconstructed in court, using whatever information is available. The more accurate the information, the harder it is to dispute.
The Right Lawyer:
The more experienced and skilled the lawyer is, the better the chance of a successful outcome. This is one of the more challenging steps for a victim, since defendants are likely to employ expensive law firms while “ambulance chasers” are not known for their respectable history or aptitude. Researching an attorney’s history and specialization is an important part of a personal injury lawsuit.
The Right Time Frame:
Generally speaking, the longer someone waits to file a suit after an injury, the less chance the suit has of succeeding. Acting as soon as possible will help a client quickly establish the facts of the event. Witnesses are more credible, injuries are more apparent, and the whole suit looks more authentic. Waiting a year or two to file a suit is dangerous – unless new, serious symptoms recently appeared.
Willingness to Mediate:
Usually, the more willing a client is to settle, the better. A settlement can occur before a suit is even presented in court. A skilled attorney offer advice on mediation services and other alternatives that can end the suit but still resolve the issue to the satisfaction of all parties.
Adam Woods is a professional blogger that provides readers with advice for dealing with a personal injury legal case. He writes for Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., the top personal injury lawyers in the state of Georgia.