For the most part, you try to live as normal a life as possible. You wake up each morning, go to work, run errands, cook meals, clean your home, and fulfill countless other home and life responsibilities. But if you were involved in an accident and sustained an injury (or if someone else’s negligence caused you harm), life becomes less normal and more difficult to manage.
You work with nurses, doctors, and physical therapists to mend your injuries. Not only must you heal physically, but you may also need to recover emotionally and psychologically. And this recovery time becomes stress-ridden and worrisome if you take extensive time off work. Without a steady income, how can you pay your bills, support your family, or cover initial medical costs?
To receive fair compensation for your injuries and lost income, you know you need to hire a personal injury lawyer and file a suit against the offending party. But you wonder what factors lawyers and judges consider in a personal injury case.
Here, we’ll explain which elements affect the result of your case so you can spend less time worrying and more time healing.
- Liability or Negligence
One of the biggest factors that lawyers and judges consider during personal injury claims is who caused the accident. If you were at fault, then you likely won’t receive any compensation for your injuries and lost income.
However, if another person caused your injuries, then your lawyer works with insurance adjustors, the authorities, and any other necessary parties to prove the offending party’s liability. Additionally, if the other person’s negligence caused your injuries, you could receive a higher compensation. Keep in mind that your attorney must prove the offender’s negligence before you can receive fair restitution.
- Pre-Existing Injuries or Medical Conditions
To avoid paying for your treatment, damages, and lost wages, the liable party’s attorneys may use your pre-existing medical conditions or injuries against you. They look through your medical history to prove that the accident and their client didn’t actually cause you physical harm.
When you hire a personal injury attorney, inform him or her of any and all injuries or medical conditions you had prior to the accident. These conditions include:
- Back strains or sprains
- Fractures or broken bones
- Herniated or bulging discs
- Neck injuries
- Shoulder tears
- Vision and hearing impairments that require you to wear glasses, contact lenses, or a hearing aid
- Illnesses that could have impaired your judgment or focus
As you discuss these conditions or injuries with your lawyer, he or she can verify that they played no part in your current injury.
- Witnesses, Police Reports, Photographs, and Other Documentation
In personal injury cases, lawyers often find it difficult to prove the offending party’s liability without evidence. You can more easily show your attorney and the courts exactly who and what caused your injury if you have the following information to back up your claim:
- Witness testimonies
- Photos or videos of the incident
- Police reports
- Employer/employee injury reports
- Emails that document the accident
- Medical reports from EMTs or ER/hospital doctors
Remember that the type of proof you need varies depending on the type of accident you were involved in and where the incident occurred.
- Type of Injury
Personal injury lawyers look at the type of injury you sustained to determine an appropriate compensation amount.
Soft Tissue Injuries
These injuries affect your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. They include sprains, strains, minor tears, bruises, and whiplash. They often heal faster than hard injuries, so your settlement amount tends to be lower.
Unlike soft tissue injuries, hard injuries are more serious and require more recovery time. Hard injuries include broken or fractured bones. Such injuries usually require surgery, longer recovery time, temporary disability, or physical therapy. They may also lead to permanent disability, depending on the extent of the damage. Because hard injuries have a greater impact on your life, they tend to receive higher compensation.
Ask Your Attorney about These Additional Factors
Once your lawyer and the offending party’s attorney explore the four factors listed above, they’ll then use the following conditions and information to decide on a settlement:
- Any long-term or permanent damage
- Lost wages
- Medical treatment received
- Social media posts before and after the accident
- Your ability to participate in hobbies and activities after, and if, you recover
- Your age
- Your pain levels during your injury
- Your weight and physical fitness
Be sure to talk with your personal injury attorney to learn more about how these aspects influence the outcome of your suit.
As you work closely with your personal injury attorney, keep these considerations in mind throughout your case. If you have any questions or concerns about how larger elements affect the outcome of your case, be sure to ask your attorney. He or she will clarify any confusion and work to get you the compensation you deserve so you can continue to heal without additional stress.