Because tort proceedings are inherently complex—and no two accidents are exactly the same—there’s no way to predict a claim’s outcome with 100 percent certainty. That doesn’t mean, however, that a seasoned attorney can’t make an educated guess about the direction a car accident case might take or how much it might be worth.
In fact, making such guesses is the foundation on which every successful personal injury firm is built. When working on contingency, a lawyer must be able to determine which claims actually have a chance of yielding a payout. Otherwise, they could end up pursuing a lot of dead ends.
If you were seriously hurt in a motor-vehicle collision, you’re probably wondering whether an attorney will think you have a claim worth pursuing. Read on to learn about the kinds of factors that the lawyer will scrutinize in order to decide:
1. The Role You Played in the Accident
If you contributed to the accident in some way, you may not be able to seek compensation for all the losses you incur. Under California’s pure comparative fault rule, a plaintiff’s own negligence offsets the defendant’s liability.
That means if you’re deemed 40 percent responsible for the crash, you can only pursue funds for 60 percent of the resulting damages. Put another way, if you played a significant role in the wreck and your associated losses were minimal, taking action may not be worth it.
2. The Strength of the Evidence You’re Able to Gather
In order to recover a payout, you must convince the insurance adjuster—or, if your case ends up in court, the jury—of both liability and losses. Evidence that may help you do so includes dash camera footage, toxicology reports, eyewitness testimony, cell phone records, and statements from accident reconstruction experts.
If you’re able to gather all of the above after the accident, proving fault may be fairly straightforward. If, on the other hand, there’s very little compelling evidence that makes responsibility clear, your claim may not have the most favorable outcome.
3. The Amount of Time That Has Passed
If the accident in which you were hurt happened a long time ago, the filing deadline may have actually passed. Should that be the case, the insurance adjuster won’t have any incentive to settle because they’ll know there’s no chance they’ll have to go up against you in court.
In California, car accident victims typically have two years from the date on which they were hurt to file a formal lawsuit. There are several exceptions, however, so it’s advisable to commence the proceedings as soon as possible.
Speak with a Long Beach Car Accident Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Are you planning on filing a car accident claim in California? For strategic legal guidance at every stage of the proceedings, turn to the Law Office of Michael D. Waks.
Attorney Waks is a compassionate professional who’s committed to seeing every claim through to the end. Call (562) 206-1939 or submit the Contact Form on our website to set up a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Long Beach.
Download Our Car Accident Guide
Building a strong car accident claim starts at the scene. If you ever find yourself in another wreck, consult our free car accident guide, which includes detailed instructions for recording pertinent information in the aftermath of a crash. Download it HERE, and keep a copy in your glovebox so you always have it on hand just in case.