One of the most common questions people call law offices to ask is if their accident merits a lawsuit. In order to determine if you have an arguable case, you will want to sit down with an attorney and go over several key points of the accident. Good research and preparation can lead to very large torts in the State of California.
Review of Accident Circumstances
It is important to bring the police report from your accident to your consultation with your attorney. You and your lawyer will look at the accident from the perspective of an insurance company. You must determine if the accident was caused by the negligence on the part of an individual or entity. Negligence is defined as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” Negligence is determined by four basic elements: Duty of care, breach of agreement, cause, and damages.
Duty of care is an understood agreement between parties. When a person obtains a driver’s license they have a duty to obey the traffic laws of the state. Breach of agreement occurs when one party neglects an understood agreement or law. When a licensed driver disobeys traffic laws, they have breached their agreement with the state and other drivers. Causation occurs when the breach of agreement has caused an accident or other kind of harm. Damages are any physical, emotional or financial losses a victim experiences as a result of the accident. Even if a driver did breach their duty of care agreement, there are other factors to consider before suing.
Weather and Road Conditions
If extreme weather conditions existed at the time of the accident, it may be harder to prove negligence. If the road was icy it may have been harder to stop at a stop sign. If the victim was walking or on a bicycle this may also influence a liability decision.
Defendant’s Driving History
The criminal record of the accident can be subpoenaed and used as evidence for either the plaintiff or defendant in a civil case. If an insurance company has chosen to provide insurance to someone with a poor driving record, this may increase your chances of a higher reward.
Your physical Injuries and financial losses
When you meet with your attorney, remember to bring all medical records associated with your accident with you. Your attorney may have you speak with a mental health professional to gain insight into your case.
Do you have Chronic Pain
If your accident left you with chronic pain an insurance company may be liable for any medical bills associated with treating you for that pain. This can get a bit tricky as it can take a while for chronic pain to become evident, and California has a statute of limitations of two years.
Medical Bills and Time off Work
You will also want to provide your attorney with any evidence of any wage you have missed from your job. If you are a caretaker for a child or an adult, day care expenses incurred when you had to go to the doctor may also be taken into consideration.
How to Find a Personal Injury Attorney
When selecting a personal injury lawyer, make sure to select one who specializes in personal injury, attended a good law school, and has an excellent standing with the state bar. You can get the money you deserve with the right preparation and representation.