According to Philadelphia car accident attorneys, Zavodnick / Zavodnick & Lasky, car accidents can be complicated, and that’s the reality. Even if you think you have a clear case against someone for causing your injuries or harming you in a car accident, there are a lot of steps in the process and different factors that can affect your outcome.
The following is an overview of the potential outcomes of a personal injury case, as well as the common reasons cases are lost.
Possible Outcomes in a Personal Injury Case
The following are some of the possible outcomes in a personal injury case:
- The case is dismissed or dropped. A plaintiff can opt to drop a case if they no longer want to pursue it for any reason. This might happen for example if the plaintiff realizes they just don’t have a chance of winning. The defendant can also have a case dismissed if they can show there’s a problem with the claim. This could mean perhaps no legal grounds for liability or the statute of limitations has passed.
- The most common outcome for personal injury cases is that it settles before it goes to trial. This happens during pre-trial negotiations, and it’s the least time-consuming and costly option, so it’s usually preferred by both plaintiffs and defendants.
- If a case goes to trial, the plaintiff might win, meaning the court finds the defendant liable for the harm or injuries. Then the plaintiff is awarded damages based on what’s considered fair by the jury or judge.
- Another outcome is that the defendant wins, meaning the plaintiff doesn’t receive anything. In some cases, the plaintiff may even have to pay some of the costs incurred by the defendant.
- A case can be appealed as well, if either the plaintiff or defendant feels there was an error in the first ruling. Appeals aren’t very common in personal injury cases.
Losing would mean perhaps that as a plaintiff you were found at fault for the accident, or the defendant wasn’t found to be at fault at all.
Not Having Representation
Dealing with the claim process for a personal injury case can be complicated, time-consuming, and ultimately, very bureaucratic. It’s important to have representation to guide you through the process. Otherwise, it increases the likelihood you’ll lose your claim.
An attorney can help make sure you get all the necessary paperwork filed on time and correctly, and they can also work on the negotiation process which increases the likelihood you’ll settle with the insurance company.
If you don’t have counsel, you may not know when to file what, whereas an attorney knows how to navigate the system. Also, if you have a good attorney and the opposing insurance company knows that they may be more likely to settle.
Not Having Experts
Expert testimony can be really important to show negligence, but if you don’t have that on your side, you’re more likely to lose your case.
For example, there was a case in New Jersey that highlighted this. A father sued a mall because his daughter was injured by an escalator, but he lost partially because he didn’t have an expert opinion to describe exactly what happened and caused the accident.
There aren’t many injury claims where the situation is viewed entirely as one party’s fault. In most cases, there’s split responsibility. If the claimant is found to be more responsible than the defendant, then they won’t receive compensation for damages. Even if a defendant is found to be more responsible, your level of responsibility can still affect the amount awarded or the amount you can realistically settle for.
If you’re considering filing a personal injury case, you should be very careful about your use of social media. Despite how pervasive social media is in most of our lives by now, there are still a lot of people out there who simply don’t understand how their recklessness in posting could affect legal proceedings, including a personal injury case.
If you’reout and about and posting pictures, you may end up getting your case thrown out because it could be used to show you aren’t experiencing pain and suffering. Or, it could be painted that way at least.
It’s not just social media that can impede the success of your case. Your character is important, and you have to keep that in mind. If there is a potential for the opposing legal team to try and show that you have poor character, they’ll take advantage.
As part of the importance of character, you should always be truthful and reliable. If you misrepresent anything, you’re going to run the risk of losing.
Lack of Documentation
When you’re in an accident, from the very second you’re able to, you should make sure that you’re documenting everything. This starts when you’re hurt and you call the police, and they file a report. That gives you the official record of what happened.
From there, keep notes for yourself of your injuries, the care you need, and how those injuries are affecting your daily life.
If you’re in an accident, the insurance company might initially have you speak with a claims adjustor. If you talk too much with the adjustor it may ruin your potential for a case. Don’t try to speculate on anything or try to assume what someone’s motivations are.
Only say things you know to be a fact, or if possible, decline to comment at all until your lawyer can represent you. It’s better for things to go at a slower pace than for you to say the wrong things.
Most of thecommon reasons for losing a personal injury claim can be remedied if you work with a good attorney. Your attorney will help you understand the process, so you don’t make mistakes that mean you end up losing.
A good attorney will also be honest with you about your chances of winning upfront rather than misleading you.