As a personal injury lawyer in Alabama I am often asked how much is my case worth? In this article, I will attempt to answer this question generally, based on my years of training and experience in representing people in personal injury cases. However, keep in mind that each case is different and therefore must stand on the facts and circumstances and Alabama personal injury law that applies to that situation. Having stated that, I will discuss several factors that greatly impact the value of a case.
I. The extent of injuries and damages can greatly impact the value of a case. A person can recover the following damages under Alabama personal injury law depending on the facts and circumstances:
- Compensatory damages for economic loss and out of pocket expenses such as medical bills and future medical bills;
- Pain and Suffering;
- Mental Anguish;
- Lost wages, including future wages;
- Punitive Damages;
- Loss of consortium of a spouse
These damages and injuries must be proven and demonstrated. Therefore, it is vital and important to have an experienced Alabama injury attorney to work-up, properly prepare and evaluate your case. The greater the injuries and damages like neck, back, and head injuries, multiple surgeries, rehabilitation, hospital stays, medical bills and lost wages the more potentially the case is worth. However, just because you are treated at the emergency room and released does not always mean the damages are not great. As a personal injury lawyer in Alabama, I have a client that was treated at the emergency room twice, because of a head on collision. When he came to see me, I thought something was not quite right with him, so I had him evaluated by a psychiatrist and neuropsychologist, which revealed a serious head injury. This demonstrates the importance of receiving the proper medical treatment and being represented by an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer.
II. Liability or fault and the conduct of the party that causes the injury and of the injured person can impact the value of a case under Alabama personal injury law. If liability or fault is clear, generally the case is worth more. If liability or fault are an issue, that can diminish the value of the case. Further, if the conduct of the party causing the injury and damages is reckless or wanton then the case might generally have more value than if the party causing the injury and damages is just an accident or act of negligence. Also, if the conduct of the injured person contributes to the injury and damages, it can diminish the value or even preclude recovery in the case.
III. The medical treatment will affect the value of a case under Alabama personal injury law. For instance, as stated earlier, if the injured person has extensive treatment, surgeries, rehabilitation, hospital stays and outstanding medical bills, the case will generally have more value. If other sources of insurance have paid the bills that can affect the value of your case. If a person has little or no medical treatment or outstanding bills, then the case generally has less value. Gaps in treatment such as three to six months without treatment, not following up or receiving any treatment, or not following physician’s advice and orders can impact the value of your case. Again, the value of receiving the proper medical treatment for health, healing and recovery and for the value of your case cannot be under stated. Therefore, it is important for an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer to help monitor and sheppard the medical treatment.
IV. Pre-existing injuries or medical treatment can impact the value of a case under Alabama personal injury law. If the injured person has pre-existing injuries or ongoing medical treatment not related to the injuries sustained in the automobile accident, this can diminish the value of the case. As a personal injury lawyer in Alabama, I’ve represented injured people in car and trucking accident cases where they might have a neck or back injury as a result and a review of their medical records revealed that they had past neck and back injuries and some were even currently being treated for those injuries. This demonstrates even further the importance of an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer that knows how to deal with the issues of this nature and to determine if the current injury aggravated or worsened a previous injury. This is sometimes done with expert testimony.
V. The witnesses and evidence available, and the jury appeal of the case can impact the value of a case under Alabama personal injury law. If your case winds up in court, the liability, injuries and damages must be proven by witnesses and evidence. Therefore, the credibility of the witness, including the injured person, evidence and jury appeal of the case can impact the value of a case. One example of this is in a car or truck wreck case if the injured person’s vehicle suffers great damage that demonstrates the potential injuries and damages better than a vehicle that has little or no damage. It is often helpful to have an investigator and accident reconstruction expert to assist the Alabama personal injury lawyer in locating evidence and witnesses and evaluating the credibility and importance of the witnesses and evidence. Again, this demonstrates the value of allowing an experienced personal injury lawyer in Alabama to handle your case.
VI. When did the injury occur, where can the lawsuit be filed under Alabama personal injury law and which judge is assigned to the case can all impact the value of your case. Where the injury occurred, where the parties are from and do business all affect where a lawsuit can be filed and which Judge would be assigned to the case. There are some venues that are more favorable to injured people and will render higher awards. Consequently, great consideration should be taken into where the case will be filed and the judge that might be assigned to the case. Further, great consideration should be taken on the timing of filing a lawsuit. In some cases, it is best to immediately file a lawsuit, such as cases where there are extensive injuries and damages and a lot of insurance coverage. This allows the experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer to exercise the subpoena and discovery power of the Circuit Court in an effort to maximize the recovery for the injured person. In other cases, it is best to work it up, properly prepare and evaluate the case in an effort to resolve the case and maximize recovery for the injured person, without filing a lawsuit.
VII. Trial preparation and settlement negotiations can impact the value of a case under Alabama personal injury law. A case should be worked up and properly prepared from the beginning, as if it is going to trial. This is true even if a lawsuit is never filed. Again, in a personal injury case, liability and damages must be proven and demonstrated. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer properly prepare, work up, and evaluate your case in an effort to maximize recovery for the injured person. In some cases, this means utilizing the services of an investigator, an accident expert, as well as medical, economic and other experts. Further, it is important to have an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer with the time and resources to properly and thoroughly work up and evaluate your case before any settlement negotiations. Any negotiations should be from a standpoint of maximum recovery rather than settlement. If a lawsuit is filed and the case winds up in litigation and trial, it should be with the goal of maximizing recovery.
VIII. The available insurance coverage can impact the value of your case. This is a harsh reality, but the value of the case can be greatly affected by the amount of insurance coverage available. It is sad, but in some cases, a person might have extensive injuries and damages, but there is little or no insurance coverage available, such as a car wreck with extensive treatment but low available policy limits or no insurance or no uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Cases where there are extensive injuries and damages and adequate insurance coverage are generally worth more. It is important to have an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer to make sure all avenues of insurance coverage are explored in an effort to maximize recovery for the injured person for their injuries and damages.
IX. Honesty with your Alabama personal injury lawyer can impact the value of a personal injury case. It is best for an injured person to be honest with their Alabama personal injury lawyer regarding the above issues as well as any other facts and circumstances and issues that might relate to the case. Dishonesty can greatly diminish the value of the personal injury case and undermine the credibility of everyone involved in the case. It is also best for an injured person to follow the advice of their experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer. Generally speaking, if an injured person fails to follow the advice in this situation the value of the case is jeopardized.
Again, this is an overview of several factors that can greatly impact the value of a personal injury case. Each case is different and must be evaluated and stand on the unique facts and circumstances and law that pertains. Experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer Aaron Gartlan of Gartlan Injury Law take great pride in properly evaluating, preparing, and working up personal injury cases in an effort to maximize recovery under Alabama personal injury law.
Please do get more help now on our website with our free resources, and call to get a free consultation from one of our Dothan personal injury Lawyers when you are ready. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Learn more about our Alabama personal injury lawyers Aaron Gartlan.
Aaron Gartlan is a graduate of Troy University and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law who focuses his practice exclusively on representing those injured by the wrongdoing of others. He is member of the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. In addition to his legal practice, Aaron teaches Business Law as an adjunct instructor at Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business and serves as a field artillery sergeant in the Alabama National Guard.