Compensation Woes: 5 Ways to Help Ensure Your Injury Case Gets the Best Outcome Possible
All successful personal injury claims are based on solid evidence. There must be sufficient facts to support the victim’s position as to both liability and damages. Without either foundation, the case will almost certainly fall.
Evidence alone is not enough. Personal injury lawyers must also use legal theories that are easy for the jury to follow. These theories must serve as a pathway to fair compensation. Without a good roadmap, even the most diligent jurors lose their way and become confused.
While every negligence case is different, here are a few pillars that are common in many successful claims.
The police accident report is an excellent place to begin collecting witness statements. But it’s only a starting point. This document only contains the contact information for witnesses who saw the entire incident and voluntarily agree to come forward. An attorney, sometimes working in partnership with a private investigator, can usually find additional witnesses. Moreover, a good attorney knows how to promote positive witnesses in court and attack the credibility of adverse witnesses.
Camera footage is a lot like eyewitness testimony, with one major exception. It’s impossible for insurance company lawyers to challenge a camera’s credibility, in most cases. So, intersection red-light cameras, amateur videographers at the scene, and narby surveillance cameras often yield tons of great information.
Government regulators passed an Event Data Recorder mandate in 2008. Since then, every new car sold in the United States has had one of these devices under the hood. Much like a commercial airplane’s black box flight recorder, the EDR captures and records important data like:
- Vehicle speed,
- Steering angle,
- Brake application, and
- Engine acceleration.
Strict privacy laws apply in this area. So, an attorney normally needs a court order to download this data. A highly experienced attorney is even more critical in commercial truck crashes, due to the additional complexity of these EDRs.
The Electronic Logging Device mandate, which took effect in 2018, also applies in this area. ELDs keep track of service hours in commercial vehicles. That’s especially important in the many fatigued truck driver cases that personal injury lawyers handle.
First Party Liability
The evidence in a case is like the colors on an artist’s palette. They are only globs of red, blue, yellow, and other colors until an artist (or an attorney in this case) uses them to paint a picture. In negligence cases, that picture usually involves a theory of the case, such as:
- Alcohol impairment,
- Drowsy driving,
- Speeding, or
- Distracted driving.
Typically, legal compensation under any one of these theories includes money for both economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Third Party Liability
In some cases, vicarious liability gives the victim/plaintiff an additional source of recovery. Negligent entrustment is one such example. Owners who knowingly allow incompetent drivers to use their vehicles are partially responsible for damages if that incompetent driver causes a car crash. Special rules apply in commercial negligent entrustment cases which involve rented vehicles.