Often, severe accidents warrant filing a lawsuit. However, it’s important to recognize when legal action is appropriate. Attorneys evaluate cases based on their viability, meaning your case has to be worth pursuing before they take it on. They’ll do so by looking at a number of factors.
Factors to Consider Before Suing
Lawsuits can be expensive to pursue, so your attorney will need to determine whether your case is worthwhile. The factors that need to be considered before filing a personal injury lawsuit include the following.
Level of injury
First, the viability of your lawsuit depends significantly on the level of injury you suffered. Typically, the more severe the injury, the more worthwhile a lawsuit would be since you’ll usually have higher expenses to cover. Medical expenses and noneconomic damages like pain and suffering both increase with the level of injury.
Fault is another factor. The party responsible for your injury needs to have both owed a duty of care toward you and failed in upholding that duty. In other words, they need to have been negligent in a way that caused injury to you.
If there is no fault, you have no case.
Additional damages may come into play as well, such as property damage, lost time from work, or lost earning capacity. These damages factor into the monetary worth of your case when determining whether it’s worth pursuing.
Civil Lawsuit Vs. Settling
When considering a lawsuit over an injury, it’s also important to think about settlement. In a personal injury settlement, you and the other party’s insurance company come to an agreement on how much you should be compensated for your injury without taking the case to court.
Settling usually comes first
One of the first steps after an accident is to contact the other party’s insurance company. From there, you and your attorney will discuss your case and attempt to negotiate a fair sum for your injuries. As such, settlement negotiations typically occur long before you start the process of filing a lawsuit.
Advantages of settling out of court
Settlement is usually preferred since you don’t have to go through the expense and stress of taking things to court. It’s also less risky—civil lawsuits are strictly win-lose affairs, whereas settlements leave more room for compromise.
The weight of litigation
On the other hand, you won’t have a lot of weight in your negotiations if you’re either unwilling or unable to take your case to court. The insurance company is trying to keep costs to a minimum, and if you can’t threaten a lawsuit, they don’t have much incentive to offer a favorable settlement.
Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
Before deciding whether or not your case is worth pursuing, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney to evaluate your situation. A competent attorney will consider the various aspects and nuances of your case and determine whether you should pursue damages. They’ll also represent you during negotiations, guide you on the best steps to take throughout the process, and take things to court if need be.
If you have been injured in Illinois, contact Hart David Carson LLP to determine whether you have a viable personal injury case.