What’s my case worth is one of the more frequent questions we get in our 18 wheeler accident law firm?
At the outset, let me say that is almost impossible for an attorney to give a value on a case before a complete investigation has been done and all of the medical records and bills have been reviewed with a fine tooth comb.
It is true that commercial vehicle accidents involve much higher numbers than a typical car to car crash. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, the main ones being that trucking companies carry commercial insurance policies and 80,000-pound vehicles tend to create more severe injuries.
There are many factors that can influence the value of a personal injury claim stemming from an 18 wheeler crash. Here are a few of the main ones.
Factors That Influence the Value of a Trucking Accident Injury Claim
Cause of the Wreck
How the crash occurred, can have an impact on the value of the case even when the other driver receives a ticket. Texas is a mutual responsibility state meaning that if someone is found partially at fault, their monetary damages are reduced by the judge by their percentage of fault. If the party is more than 51% at fault, in Texas they are precluded from recovering damages.
Therefore, the accident factors need to be analyzed even when one person get a ticket.
Trucking companies all carry commercial insurance policies and are very quick to defend claims made against them even those that are crystal clear liability wise. Early investigation of a trucking accident is always a good plan.
Aside from liability, one of the biggest factors in a trucking accident case is the medical help received by the injured person. What a qualified doctor has to say in the medical records goes a long way toward establishing the human damages from a trucking accident.
Lapses in treatment and the specific medical providers involved also can have an impact on the value of the case. Juries tend to undervalue the testimony and opinions of chiropractors yet take specialist such as orthopedic doctors which more seriously.
Along those lines, what your medical doctor has to say about your injuries, diagnosis, and prognosis for the future are critical in valuing a case.
Severity of Impact
The severity of the impact is another factor that can affect the value of the case. If the crash looked to be a minor fender bender, it is more difficult to prosecute than one where the jury can look at a photograph and say while they’re lucky to be alive.
For this reason, if you are involved in an 18 wheeler accident, getting photographs before your vehicle is totaled or repaired usually is a good idea.
If you have injured the same area previously or have had problems with the same part of your body in the past, this can affect the value of the case. Some defense doctors will always opine that the injured person had a pre-existing spine condition. Some injuries are more susceptible to this type of defense than others.
It is important to note that even if you have had a pre-existing condition if the crash aggravated the condition such that further medical treatment was necessary you still may have a case.
Your Legal History
Your legal history can also have an impact on the value of the case. If you’ve had previous personal injury claims, they may or may not come into evidence in a case. If you have had trouble with the law that also may be admissible in court.
It is important when speaking to your attorney that you make them aware of your complete legal history.
The Value of Your Attorney
It is a simple fact that insurance companies do not treat unrepresented claimants the same as those who have an experienced and qualified attorney. Insurance companies are in the business of making profits and the less they pay you for your case, the better off they are.
Insurance companies do not want you to retain an attorney because they know they will end up having to pay real value for the claim and if the case does not settle, a jury can resolve the matter.
Who your attorney is also matters. Insurance companies retain records on each attorney when evaluating the value of the case.
Highly rated attorneys with substantial trucking accident experience are taken much more seriously than attorneys that “need the money.”
We advise personal injury victims to research the attorneys they consider before signing any paperwork.