Personal injuries can go from being minor to debilitating. In either case, the law is on your side. Having a solid personal injury case on your hands is essential to get the compensation you are entitled to.
Personal injuries can result from many situations, from car accidents to pedestrian accidents and even slip and fall accidents. It would help if you had a good lawyer on your side who can make the argument of a strong case and who can guide you with everything you will need to know about personal injury cases.
That being said, let us take a look at what makes a solid personal injury case in San Francisco:
What Is A Strong Personal Injury Case In San Francisco?
In the simplest terms, a personal injury case can be made when an individual experiences an injury because of another person or other entity’s negligence or ill intentions. Most personal injury cases are easy to settle because the events are easy to explain. Of course, proper documentation should happen, and there must always be enough evidence to rule the case in favor of the injured.
Because of their straightforward nature, many personal injury cases don’t go to trial. They are often settled outside of court. However, other cases may go to arbitration because the injured person is usually entitled to substancial compensation. During the arbitration, the two parties in question can come to a conclusion and settle the case.
Many types of personal injuries can make a strong case. These include automobile accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, medical malpractice, and others. You are even entitled to recovery if you have also suffered from property damages due to negligence.
To ensure that you get compensation for your injury, it is vital to have a strong case. Certain factors surrounding your situation can either make your case strong or weak. So first, let us take a look at what makes a weak personal injury case:
What Makes A Case Weak?
A weak personal injury case is one that you can lose quickly. The factors are only a few in your favor, and sometimes you might need a great attorney to get you any compensation at all. Other times, even if you win the lawsuit, a weak case might make you settle on terms only partially in your favor. Here are some factors which can weaken your case significantly and you should watch out for:
Little Or No Injury
Of course, if the injured person is not really injured or has suffered from something very minor, like a cut or a bruise that has no complications and will likely heal on its own, this makes for a relatively weak case. These minor injuries often include low-impact or soft-tissue wounds that heal independently with time.
One of the reasons for this is that some people with minimal injuries, or people who had injuries before the incident, and people who have not even faced significant property damage, are trying to scam insurance companies out of billions of dollars. Cases like these have surfaced repeatedly, and many people even exaggerate their claims and present excessive damages in court. Often, these exaggerated claims and schemes are also outed when the case is underway, making the situation even more complicated.
In these cases, where the individual has seemingly suffered from a minor ordeal, a attorney may present in court how the client did not have any pre-existing condition or how their seemingly minor injury can have significant repercussions for them and is, in fact, a big deal.
Medical doctors are called on board, a mediator is often needed, and a judge and jurors may also need to be present if the case becomes overly complicated and goes to trial.
No Negligent Party
Negligence matters immensely in any personal injury case. You can only have a strong chance if the negligence on the defendant’s end is significant. However, in many cases, the client may also be responsible for the injury.
According to California law, the client’s contribution to their own injury does count in the final settlement, and the compensation they receive is in relation to their negligence. So even if you had a small part to play in getting injured, you may not be able to receive the best terms you may have wished for. The damages you can recover are reduced by how much you were at fault.
On the other hand, sometimes an accident occurs, and no one is significantly at fault. These situations also weaken your case substantially, making it difficult to get a reasonable settlement.
Inability Of Negligent Party To Pay
If the defendant cannot pay you for the damages you are owed, it immensely weakens your case in term of actually receiving compensation. The attorney must determine if the defendant can pay for the personal injury their negligence might have caused. Even if they are proven guilty, you will find it challenging to obtain what you are owed if they are not financially fit to pay.
In many cases, seizing property, scheduling payments, and reaching out to the defendant’s employer can sometimes effectively cover up for the losses. This is especially true because, in many cases, the defendant does not immediately pay the sum to the client upfront; a plan is usually set up.
When the defendant does not have enough liquid assets or if they hesitate to liquidate their assets, the case becomes a little more complicated because the attorney has to do a lot more to get them to part with the money to pay the plaintiff, which is you.
What Makes A Case Strong?
Of course, many factors surround a personal injury case that can make it very strong. A strong case is easy to win and settle, and the settlement is usually very favorable for the client.
One thing you must remember about a strong case is that all three factors must co-exist for the case to be settled smoothly. You cannot have one without the other.
Here are the three main factors that ensure that the case is strong enough to get a reasonable settlement:
Large Damage Or Injuries
Significant damage can include fractures, spinal cord injuries, any level of permanent damage, paralysis, or something that affects your quality of life. If the other two factors are present and the extent of the damage is evident enough, it is straightforward to settle the case.
If the client has suffered from significant damage that is clearly visible, and there is clear liability, as there is one whose negligence caused this act, then there is a case.
This is why it is essential to determine who is clearly responsible for the act, and the client should hopefully have a minimal portion of the blame, if any at all.
Lastly, the case is strong if the defendant has deep pockets and is able to quickly pay the claims and settle the issue.
Deep pockets are essential because hefty medical bills come with a significant injury. So if the defendant is at fault, they should pay for those medical bills, especially if they have the ability to pay.
Suppose the liable party has the means to pay hefty medical bills even after all medical treatment has been provided. In that case, the client will be able to receive compensation from the defendant, and their ability to pay makes the case strong.
Therefore, all three factors must be present for a solid, strong case, and it’s more likely you will be able to receive the settlement that you are owed.
Importance Of Evidence And Witnesses
Evidence and witnesses are absolutely integral in a personal injury case. Evidence for the case should be immediately collected as soon as the incident occurs. The injured person, someone around them, or a close person should immediately start by taking pictures or video of the incident and the person who suffered from the injury. People who’ve seen the accident should be contacted as witnesses of the incident so they can be called upon.
But all the evidence and witnesses you have might only be sufficient if you have a competent attorney. The attorney should aim to get you what you are owed and do what is right with the evidence you have collected.
However, there are other ways to collect evidence as well. For example, you can find video footage from a surveillance camera nearby, or if the incident involved an automobile, its camera (if they had one) may be retrieved for the data as well, and a lot of other evidence can be collected from the site of the incident as well. A reasonable attorney will know exactly what to look for.
In the case of automobiles, the attorney will also be able to examine the vehicle to ensure that it is in perfect working condition so that nothing of the sort can be a help against the client in settlement matters.
Keeping A Journal Of Events
Keeping a journal of events is essential during these situations to keep track of everything that is happening. The attorney can refer to the journal to understand the chronology of events, what doctors, hospitals, departments, and other authorities you have visited, and when. The diary can also be used to keep track of all the expenses you have incurred as well.
The records kept in the diary can be for personal reference and to ensure that the doctors, lawyers, and other personnel present during the accident can recall the situation. In some cases, diaries can also be presented in court and help make a strong case.
If the injured person cannot maintain the diary, someone close to them who is witnessing the whole situation should do it for them.
Why Do I Have To Fight For What’s Right?
Every time clients believe they have been wronged, and they ask why they must fight for what is right. If the liability was present, the client has been injured, and the defendant can pay up; some complications may arise and make things difficult.
Remember that you, the liable person, and anyone else nearby were the only people genuinely aware of what transpired in the event. Everyone else, including your attorney, the judge, any organization involved, doctors, and insurance companies, is only going by hearsay. To give you what you deserve from the incident, they need to prove that you have indeed sustained personal damages and are entitled to your claim.
The defendant might have to empty their pockets to pay you; despite their negligence, it might take a massive toll on them. So they are also entitled to a good lawyer who, even if they cannot remove the charges entirely, can minimize the cost the defendant has to pay up for the injured person’s ordeal.
Therefore, even if you have been wronged, it is essential to remember that only making a solid case and presenting it is the way to go about the situation.
A solid personal injury case is when the three most important factors are present: significant damages or injuries, a clear liable party, and deep pockets. Only in the presence of all three do you have a strong case against the defendant. Otherwise, you will need a lot of evidence and an excellent attorney to fight your case.
If you have questions about whether your case is strong, contact the injury lawyers at Phoong Law. They have the experience to get you the compensation you deserve, and the initial consultation is free. Schedule an appointment today and get the peace of mind of having your case handled by the experts at Phoong Law.