Injury claims are referred to also as tort claims. They are matters, other than contracts, in which a civil wrong has caused someone damages.
The most familiar personal injury claims are those involving vehicle accidents. These involve a negligent or reckless driver that cause an accident in which you are injured. However, there are a large number of other torts. Examples, but by no means all, are:
These are claims arising from ownership or use of land. There are several classifications for those who are on or using another property. These classifications effect the degree of duty owned for the safety of others and anyone injured in someone else’s property should consult competent legal counsel.
There also are very technical claims when you are injured while using a machine or other instrument and a qualified lawyer should be consulted.
These claims usually involve financial as opposed to bodily injury. Alabama law has several species of fraud actions depending on the particular facts and context of the individual case.
Again, this is a claim involving financial as opposed to bodily damages. It is based on the unlawful or wrongful taking, use or control of another’s property.
These claims have two basic divisions of proof. First, establishing liability – i.e., that the other party is legally responsible and secondly, proving the wrong led to damages and what those damages are and what they are worth in money compensation.
There are many others as I said. In all cases using an experienced attorney will be a good first step.
Insurance Company Tactics
Insurance companies want you to avoid involving an attorney and some will tell you that you will go home with more if you don’t hire one. Don’t fall for this. The insurance company knows you are not experienced in the claim process nor in what will be required in court if you don’t settle. Expect the offer to be less than the best you can do. Also, to “sell” their offer the following are some of the common tactics:
- Claim your injuries were pre-existing conditions.
- Claim you weren’t cooperative with treatment and are responsible for not being well
- Undervalue pain
- Drag things out so you will give in and take less.
What a Personal Injury Lawyer Must Evaluate Before Taking Your Case
- What caused the accident
Not every accident occurs under facts that result in the other party being legally/financially responsible. There must have been a basis to find the other party breached a duty. In auto accident cases, in Alabama, the other party must be solely at fault.
To recover, no matter how negligent the other party was, it must have resulted in actual damages. Injury or financial loss must be real, not speculative.
- Realistic Expectations.
The value of a case is very much dependent on the severity of the damages. They must be supported by some objective evidence. Every case is not worth a fortune. A broken finger is not the same as a crippling injury. A client with unrealistic expectations and demands will not be a good outcome.
- Economic Feasibility. Personal injury lawyers generally work on a contingency fee (a percentage of the recovery). They will have to weigh the expense and collectability of obtaining a judgment against the time and costs of handling the case.
When you are meeting with a potential attorney, he or she is not being negative when they question you about the circumstances and details. Be honest and open with your lawyer. You don’t do either of you any good to try to “sell” him on your case. He wants to have a good case already but needs candor to give you a sound opinion.