If you’ve been injured or otherwise wronged while at work or in your own time, you may consider seeking legal compensation. But how do you know if your claim is strong enough to stand up in court, and how much compensation are you actually entitled to?
The best way to answer these questions is to meet with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney and have them evaluate your claim.
Personal injury law firms generally won’t put the time and effort into a case if they don’t think there’s a good chance of it succeeding.
Here’s what you can expect from an attorney evaluating your case.
Finding Evidence of Negligence
One of the first things an attorney considers when assessing the strength of a potential case is if there is clear evidence showing that the plaintiff’s damages are indeed the direct consequence of another party’s actions.
In most cases, this means finding evidence of negligence, but intentional misconduct, recklessness, or strict liability (wherein a party is liable even if not found to be at fault) can also be used as the basis for a claim.
Evidence of negligence can come in many forms, from eyewitness testimony to formal documentation. For example, in the event of a car accident, failure may be proven by a passenger in the defendant’s vehicle, revealing that the driver was not watching the road at the time.
Or, in the event of an injury in the workplace, i.e. job-site injury, safety inspections might show that an employer was lax in meeting regulatory requirements.
Conversely, if not outright invalidated, a case can be weakened if there is evidence that the plaintiff was injured due to their own negligence rather than that of another.
In some situations, both the plaintiff and defendant may be found to have acted negligently, in which case it’s a matter of figuring out who was more negligent and/or what degree of those damages suffered can be attributed to each party.
Determining the Extent of Damages
Just as important as finding evidence to back one’s claim is determining if the extent of damages is adequate for making a case in the first place. Then, if so, what remains is evaluating the degree of compensation a claimant may be entitled to.
That first point is often the easiest.
While frivolous lawsuits based on non-existent injuries have been tried (and subsequently dismissed), very few respectable attorneys will bother with them. Simply put, if an incident has caused harm to a person’s life, health, or income in a demonstrable way (i.e. medical bills, insurance costs, lost wages, etc.), the claimant likely has a case worth pursuing.
The second point is reliant on how severe the damages suffered have been
This involves calculating the total financial impact of ambulance transportation, hospital stays, surgical procedures, medications, losses of potential earnings due to missed work, replacements or repairs for damaged property. Plus, any other accommodations that must be made as a direct result of the incident (such as employing someone to do yard work because you are no longer able or having to install safety rails or wheelchair ramps in your home).
Only after these factors have been contemplated and weighed can a lawyer tell you how strong your case actually is. Be wary of lawyers who are quick to pursue your claim without properly evaluating it, as they may only be interested in an easy settlement and a quick payout.
There is no one right way or outcome for personal injury claims. The process dictates the outcome, and the points made here show you what’s required to get justice and a satisfactory outcome. See more on health and safety to prevent workplace injury claims.