Many injury victims understandably worry that meeting with a lawyer may be a waste of their time. While some personal injury cases result in multi-million-dollar verdicts, not every injury scenario is legally actionable in a truly viable way. What if an injury victim meets with a lawyer only to discover that their case is either not worth much or is not actionable at all?
These are valid concerns. Everyone’s time is precious and time can be a particularly precious commodity when someone is trying to balance the stresses and demands of life while recovering from a significant injury. Yet, it remains important to explore one’s legal options in the wake of a scenario that may be legally actionable.
Failing to invest an hour or two of one’s time in attending a risk-free legal consultation means that the question “What if?” will never be answered satisfactorily. If you’ve recently been injured and you may have a case to make, it’s possible that your case isn’t worth much or isn’t viable. But you won’t know for sure until an attorney objectively assesses your circumstances. Because it is also possible that your case is both viable and worth a significant amount. Lawyers are often able to spot the value in cases that injury victims don’t have the professional experience to immediately perceive.
How Personal Injury Cases Are Valued
As an experienced personal injury lawyer – including those who practice at Yearin Law Office – can explain in greater detail, actionable personal injury cases derive their value from the losses that an injury victim has sustained. Although certain specific personal injury case types are held to slightly different legal standards, a case is generally considered actionable if a victim can prove that another party:
- Owed them a legal duty of care
- Breached that duty by engaging in intentionally dangerous, reckless, or negligent conduct
- Directly caused or contributed to the multiple causes of the injury victim’s physical harm
Once the actionability of a matter has been determined, fault must be portioned. Meaning, if there was more than one party at fault for what happened, a degree of fault must be assigned to each party. In some states, if an injury victim is partially to blame, they aren’t permitted to pursue damages from other responsible parties.
In states like Arizona and California, victims aren’t barred from seeking compensation if they are partially responsible for their injuries. The value of their compensation is simply reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. For example, if they are 30% to blame and their harm is valued at $100,000, they can still pursue $70,000 from other responsible parties.
Finally, the value of the injury victim’s losses must be clarified. Personal injury damages can be “economic” (objectively calculated), such as medical bills. They can also be “non-economic” (subjectively calculated) like pain and suffering. Some states impose caps on non-economic damages and other states do not impose any such restrictions.