Following severe injuries, you want to maximize your compensation as much as possible. Ideally, you want to receive compensation for all of your financial losses related to the accident as well as compensation that will help you rebuild your life despite your injuries. Unfortunately, sometimes, you may struggle to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
What are your odds of winning a personal injury lawsuit? As with so many other things in personal injury law, your ability to win your claim may depend on several key factors.
How Do You Define “Winning?”
If you suffered injuries due to another party’s negligence, you may deserve legal compensation for those injuries. The compensation you can receive for those injuries, however, may depend on several key factors.
Most notably, how do you define “winning” your personal injury claim? For example, you may know that you deserve compensation for your losses, especially if you know that another party’s negligence caused your accident and contributed to those injuries. However, the amount of compensation you receive may vary. If you consider “winning” achieving a substantial amount in compensation for your injuries, especially a substantial amount over the money needed to pay for your medical expenses, you may struggle to achieve what you consider a win if you do not have an attorney on your side.
To be clear: After a serious injury, it’s hard to think of anything coming out of the experience as a win. Sometimes, the best the legal system can produce is to provide you with the money you need to pay for medical treatments and other goods and services made necessary by an accident. Again, a personal injury lawyer increases your chances of recovering that compensation.
What Can Influence Your Ability to Win a Personal Injury Claim?
While you may deserve compensation for your injuries, several factors can influence how much compensation you ultimately receive for your losses.
Factor #1: Are you working with an experienced personal injury attorney?
To maximize your odds of winning a personal injury lawsuit, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. An experienced personal injury attorney brings several advantages to your claim that can maximize your odds of securing a win.
- A personal injury attorney can help investigate your claim and the circumstances that led to your accident. An attorney will review all evidence associated with your claim to determine exactly who caused your accident, including what factors may have contributed to your injuries.
Suppose, for example, that you suffered a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident. At the accident scene, the police decree that the other driver bears liability for the accident. Upon further investigation, however, your attorney may uncover other factors that also contributed to your accident: a driver whose brakes suffered a mechanical failure despite the fact (or perhaps because of the fact) that they were replaced only days before. Due to negligence by the mechanic who repaired the vehicle, the brakes failed, leading to your accident. The attorney may, therefore, discover that the mechanic shares liability for the accident.
Each piece of evidence in your claim can help serve as vital proof of who caused your accident. That proof can help provide you with better odds of winning your claim. Not only that, evidence establishing that more than one party contributed to your injuries may leave you with grounds to file a personal injury claim against each involved party, which can maximize the compensation you receive.
- A personal injury attorney can help you better understand your legal rights. If you accept a low settlement offer from the insurance company that covers the liable party in a personal injury claim, you might feel that the insurance company “wins.” When you accept a low settlement offer, you alleviate the insurance company of further financial responsibility and ultimately reduce the compensation you can receive for your injuries.
By working with a personal injury attorney, on the other hand, you can get a better idea of the compensation you really deserve for your injuries. As a result, you can continue to negotiate with the liable party, increasing your odds of winning a resolution that fits your specific needs.
- A personal injury attorney can show that you plan to take your claim seriously. When you choose to go it alone as you file a personal injury claim, the insurance company or liable party may not take you seriously, especially if you have to deal with a large corporation with a highly experienced legal team. When you have an attorney on your side, on the other hand, you may significantly increase the odds that the company will take you seriously. In some cases, just having an attorney on your side can increase the offer the insurance company or liable party made.
- A personal injury attorney can fight for you. A personal injury attorney will take care of negotiations on your behalf. He will keep your best interests at the forefront of all negotiations and fight hard to help you achieve the settlement you deserve for your injuries. Often, injury victims find that turning over those negotiations to an attorney significantly increases the compensation they ultimately receive.
Factor #2: What evidence do you have to prove your claim?
To file a personal injury claim, you must establish that another party’s negligence led to your accident.
What evidence do you have of your claim? How can you prove what led to your accident or what factors contributed to it? For example, if you suffered injuries in an auto accident, evidence might include factors like photos of the two vehicles immediately after the accident, witness testimony, or even video evidence, including dashcam footage, that can establish which vehicle caused the accident.
In some cases, you may have relatively little evidence from your accident. You might have your testimony or a few photos of the scene, but little else, especially if you suffered serious injury and had to leave the scene in an ambulance. In others, you may have considerable evidence that will help showcase exactly what led to your accident. If you have a great deal of evidence, it can prove much easier to win your claim than if you have only a little evidence showing who caused your accident or what factors contributed to it.
In addition to evidence like photos collected at the scene of the accident or testimony from witnesses, an attorney may help collect other types of evidence that can help tie the liable party to the incident.
For example, an attorney might look into:
- Past lawsuits against a specific entity. A driver has a strong history of drinking and driving and has faced several convictions and personal injury claims in the past. A hotel has suffered several accidents on its pool deck due to lack of maintenance, but has failed to take care of the problem. As those injuries and past lawsuits add up, they can show the company or individual’s lack of knowledge concerning the situation and serve as vital evidence that can help establish your claim.
- The company’s records. Some companies have a strong history of accidents. A construction company, for example, might skimp on safety on its job sites, or a trucking company might require its drivers to drive in unsafe conditions or to exceed the number of hours they can safely spend on the road each day. An attorney can go through those records and assess the company’s contributions to your accident, including looking at what other accidents the company may have contributed to in the past.
- Others who have issued complaints against a company or entity. Sometimes, despite multiple complaints, a company might not end up on the news or even paying out a personal injury claim. The company may, for example, pay out a relatively minor settlement, or cover up potential damages. You may then have suffered injuries although the company knew about those hazards. An attorney can look into those issues and provide a full assessment of what complaints others may have made against the company, which may help establish grounds for negligence at the time of your accident.
Factor #3: What type of insurance coverage does the liable party carry?
Unless you find yourself injured by the negligence of a big corporation, most often, the liable party will not pay out for a personal injury claim directly. Instead, most of the time, the claim gets paid out by the insurance company that covers the liable party. The average driver, for example, does not typically have the funds needed to provide you with coverage for your medical expenses. The driver’s insurance company, on the other hand, may pay out the maximum amount of that insurance policy. Likewise, most property owners carry premises liability insurance. That policy will kick in to provide coverage for serious injuries suffered due to the property owner’s negligence.
Not every accident, however, will end up with a personal injury claim paid out by an insurance company. As many as 26 percent of Florida drivers, for example, do not carry car insurance, although Florida law requires both liability and personal injury protection coverage of its drivers. Likewise, not every property owner will carry premises liability insurance, and not every doctor will carry medical malpractice insurance, despite the potential implications for both the business and the individual if a disaster does occur.
If the liable party carries insurance, you can likely receive coverage through that policy for the injuries you faced as a result of that party’s negligence. On the other hand, if the liable party does not carry insurance, it can prove much more difficult to get the payment you deserve for your injuries.
Likewise, the extent of the liable party’s coverage can influence your compensation following an accident. Suppose, for example, that you suffer a spinal cord injury and end up with $500,000 in medical expenses in the first year after your accident alone. If the liable party’s insurance policy does not include that much coverage, you could struggle to pay for your injuries.
Factor #4: Who caused your injuries?
In some cases, you can clearly establish who caused your injuries. Many entities will not fight the claim, especially if you have clear evidence that establishes exactly what led to your accident. In other cases, however, you may struggle more to prove that the liable party caused your injuries and that, as a result, you deserve compensation from that party.
If a large corporation or company with an aggressive legal team caused your injuries, you may also struggle to maximize your compensation as much as possible. That company may fight harder to minimize the payout it has to make for your injuries. Having an attorney on your side during that process may prove vital to your claim. Likewise, if you must file a claim against a government entity, you may have more trouble receiving the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.
How Can You Maximize Your Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you need to file a personal injury lawsuit, follow these steps to maximize the compensation you can receive for your injuries.
- Get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can give you a better idea of how much compensation to expect and your odds of winning a personal injury lawsuit.
- Collect as much evidence as you can at the scene of the accident. Take pictures, if you can.
- Listen to your doctors and take steps to maximize your recovery so that the liable party cannot claim that you worsened your own injuries.
- Provide your attorney with accurate information about your claim. Do not lie to your attorney, since this can slow down the process and prevent you from acquiring the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Do You Need a Florida Personal Injury Attorney?
If you suffered injuries due to another party’s careless or negligent actions, an attorney can help. Get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon after your accident as possible.