In our blog we will try to provide you with general information regarding car accidents, motorcycle crashes, and personal injury cases, as well as updates in important cases and statutes dealing with family law in New Hampshire. This is not to be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and small facts can make a difference.
7 Factors Your New Hampshire Personal Injury Attorney Will Consider When Evaluating Your Case
Most personal injury lawsuits, including medical malpractice, slip and falls, and automobile accidents, will be settled before reaching trial. Determining the specific damages a victim is entitled to recover in a trial is a critical component of reaching the best settlement. There are a number of factors that must be considered when appraising a personal injury claim for settlement.
Case evaluation is an ongoing process. It starts with your initial meeting with your NH personal injury lawyer and continues throughout your case’s lifetime. Here is a list of 7 factors your NH personal injury attorney will use to determine 1) whether or not you have a case, and 2) the monetary value of your case during settlement negotiations as your trial date approaches.
1. Was the defendant negligent? Negligence is defined as the failure to use the degree of a car a reasonable individual would in a similar situation. If your injuries were caused by the defendant’s unreasonable carelessness, this strengthens your case. In a similar fashion, if it can be proven that your own negligence contributed to your injuries, this will weaken your case.
2. What are the “damages”? Damages, in legal terms, is defined as the potential monetary value of your case. Common examples of damages include medical bills and other out of pocket expenses, lost income and wages, and pain and suffering. The defendant’s negligent actions might be obvious, but if you did not suffer harm, then you do not have a case.
3. Can the defendant pay a judgment? If a jury gives a verdict in your favor, will the defendant be able to pay the judgement against him? If a defendant does not have the means to satisfy a judgement, both you and your personal injury lawyer will have devoted a significant amount of resources, time, and effort to the case for no reason.
4. Is a jury going to believe your witnesses? A case is only as strong as its evidence, and a considerable portion of your evidence will be made up of eyewitnesses. Ideally, your witnesses should be impartial (e.g. not family members or close friends) who can accurately describe how your injuries have negatively impacted your daily activities. This will make your case much stronger. If your primary care physician can testify on your behalf, he or she will make a compelling witness and can boost the monetary value of your claim.
5. What sort of insurance provider are you dealing with? If the insurance company you are dealing with has a reputation for fair-mindedness, the settlement value of your personal injury claim will be higher than if you are dealing with a tightfisted carrier.
6. Where will the lawsuit be filed? Just as some insurance providers are more conservative than others, jurors in some cities and communities will be more conservative than others. If the insurance provider refuses to offer a fair settlement, the location (also referred to as “the venue”) of your personal injury lawsuit will become an important component in evaluating your claim.
7. Is the law favorable to you? If your NH personal injury lawyer can cite other cases with facts that are similar to yours, this can favorably and significantly increase the monetary value of your claim.
If you have been injured in an accident in the Commonwealth of New Hampshire and believe you might have a valid personal injury claim, contact our law offices today. When it comes to personal injury claims, time is of the essence. The more time that passes, the less likely a jury will be to award you a significant monetary settlement, especially if your injuries have mostly healed and your daily life has mostly returned to normal. The statute of limitations in New Hampshire for filing a personal injury claim is three years from the date of your accident, so don’t delay.
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