Every attorney is different, and every attorney will look at different things when evaluating your personal injury case. However, there are a few things that our firm looks at when evaluating a case to make sure it’s a good fit for us and for the potential client. Besides making sure that we do not have a professional or personal conflict in a case, we take the following in consideration when evaluating a case:
- Who is liable (or responsible) for the collision/accident? One of the first things we look at is the liability or responsibility of the parties in the accident. In the case of a car accident, if you are responsible for the crash, then chances are that you will need an insurance defense attorney to help you. We do not defend insurance companies, so we will inform you of this in our evaluation. If you were not at-fault or partially at-fault, then we will dig deeper into your case. For example, in our post about how fault is determined in a car accident, we discussed how comparative fault works and how that might affect a potential car accident case.
- What injuries did the person suffer in the collision and where did they get treatment? In evaluating any personal injury case, we must know whether or not a person is actually injured. One of the core values of our firm is to not take meritless cases. Therefore, we have to make sure the person we are representing truly needs our help. If the person is injured, then we will want to look at medical records and medical bills to see what treatment was provided and what the cost of that treatment was. Since most personal injury claims are driven by the type of medical treatment an injured person receives, this is an important part of our evaluation.
- What insurance coverages are available to cover the potential claims? In rare circumstances we see cases where the other driver has enough personal assets to cover your injuries and/or property damage claims. In most cases, we look to see what insurance is available to cover potential claims. This includes looking initially to see how we can help you resolve a property damage claim either through the your own insurance or through the other driver’s insurance company. We know that transportation is important, and we look to see how quickly we can resolve that part of the case for you. For your bodily injuries, we evaluate whether there is medpay, uninsured, underinsured, and liability coverage for bodily injuries. When we fully evaluate what coverages are available, we are able to have an honest discussion about options for our potential clients.
- What potential liens exist? When evaluating a case, we look to see if there are going to be claims by the client’s own health insurance (ERISA) carrier, by medicare/medicaid, or by the medical provider for reimbursement through a “lien” or “subrogation interest”. In order to properly evaluate a claim and explain what options are available, we have to know what potential liens/subrogations exist in a case and how those might affect the person’s right to recover compensation for bodily injuries.
- What do we know about the other driver? We will also look to see what information exists for the other driver. We may investigate the other person through net or social media, and we will look to see if the other driver received a citation for causing the collision.
- Is this a case that we will file a lawsuit on and will try to a jury? Ultimately, we are trial lawyers and we want the insurance companies to know that we mean it when we say we are willing to go all the way to trial in a case. One of our core values is that we will only take cases that we will try. That does not mean we will not take what some people consider “minor” cases or we will only take what some people would consider “large” cases. The truth is, we will take a case if we believe it has merit and if we are confident that we can file suit on it. This benefits our clients in a number of ways. Most importantly, the insurance companies know that we will try a case and we will not settle on the eve of trial because we are afraid of losing or going to trial. We send a message that the insurance company should pay the true value of the case (large or small) or we will hold them responsible. There are firms out there that do settle cases and will refuse to try a case. That is not who we are, and we consider that in every case evaluation.
When we evaluate your case, we will consider the above factors and potentially others depending on the type of case that you have and based on the facts of your specific case. More importantly, you get to evaluate our firm and the people in it. You get to learn about us, what we can do for you, what motivates us, and what our core values are. We know that personal injury cases can be difficult and trying, so we look at every case on its own merit. We also invite all of our potential clients to do the same with our firm.