Is Your Personal Injury Claim Worth Filing a Lawsuit? Here’s How to Check
The number of injuries reported each year in the U.S. is staggering. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, just over 30 million accidental injuries occur annually in the country.
You may be among the many people who are injured, whether due to an automobile accident, medical malpractice, or workplace accident. For millions of Americans, filing a lawsuit is the answer to seeking compensation for weeks of missed work, medical bills, and even psychological treatment.
But how do you know if a lawsuit is the right choice for you?
Here are some questions to ask yourself in determining if you’re a good candidate for filing a personal injury claim.
Can You Afford to File a Claim?
Filing a lawsuit can be a lengthy and costly process. There are many expenses to take into consideration. Some of these include:
- The costs associated with filing the lawsuit
- The cost of having a constable or sheriff serve your lawsuit
- Costs of medical visits to provide medical testimony from doctors
- Court reporter costs
These costs shouldn’t be an issue if you work with an attorney, as many law firms work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you only have to pay your attorney if they win your case.
Was Your Accident Severe?
Serious injuries, or “threshold injuries,” are most likely to receive some kind of settlement. For an injury to be considered serious, there must be significant damage, such as a limit on a person’s ability to perform daily activities for a period of time.
Threshold injuries also include fractures, dismemberments, a loss or limitation of an organ, and death.
A medically-certified impairment or injury that prevents you from living your life as you did before the accident will also fall under this category.
When filing a personal injury lawsuit, the insurance company and/or the court will look at the severity of the accident. They’ll consider the extent of the damage caused in the accident. If they determine that the damage is minimal or nonexistent, the settlement they offer could be very low. This is where having an attorney can make all the difference. Personal injury lawyers are well aware of the tricks insurance companies try to pull to minimize the suffering of injured persons, and will know when to fight back at an insurer’s unfair offer.
Sometimes, the simple act of having an an attorney representing you will result in a better initial settlement offer from the insurer.
Do You Have Any Witnesses?
Witnesses can make all the difference when filing a lawsuit. For example, if you and another person, such as a driver and a passenger, were involved in an accident, you have a witness to back up your claims.
The more witnesses you have, the better. It’s harder to prove that your injury occurred as you claim if there’s no one to back you up.
Of course, a lack of witnesses doesn’t mean you shouldn’t file a claim, but not having any might make it more difficult to convince a jury, should your case go to trial.
Can You Prove Your Credibility When Filing a Lawsuit?
It can be hard to prove if your injury is as serious as you say it is, especially if there’s no scarring or fracture. A complaint of pain doesn’t mean much to the court without a diagnostic test or X-ray to prove its root cause.
To maintain credibility, it’s important that you accurately report your symptoms and injuries to your doctors and physical therapists. Listen to your doctor’s advice and follow it accordingly. Be cooperative during your medical examinations.
Your lawyer can help you gather the relevant documentation needed to establish and maintain your credibility with the court. They can also compile expert testimony that outlines the extent of your injuries and explains their consequences.
Did You Have Similar Previous Injuries?
Your past medical records will come into play during your personal injury lawsuit. A big factor in settling your case will involve how your past medical issues tie in with the injuries you’re claiming as a result of your accident.
If you’ve been seeing a chiropractor for years regarding your back pain, and you’re then involved in an accident at work which injures your back further, the court will take your previous back issues into consideration before settling. The insurance company may try to offer you less than your case is actually worth because of your aggravated pre-existing condition, but a lawyer will know better. They can advise you on when or how to hold out for a higher settlement offer.
Do You Have a Reliable Attorney to Assist You?
Choose an attorney with a reputation for treating clients fairly and respectfully. Visit their website and see what previous clients have to say. You attorney should work on contingency and should do most, if not all, of the heavy lifting in your injury lawsuit. This gives you the freedom to focus on a healthy recovery instead of worrying about paperwork and insurance companies.
We’re Here to Help
If you have been hurt in an accident, the Birmingham personal injury attorneys of Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP can provide you with the legal representation you need to file suit against the responsible party. Our attorneys have many years of experience in serving clients with personal injury claims.
No matter the reason for your accident, we want to help you get back on your feet and receive the compensation you deserve. We’ll help you determine if filing a lawsuit is the right step for you, and guide you through the entire process.
Feel free to contact us to set up a consultation.
Read more frequently asked questions here.