As an experienced Georgia injury lawyer, the question I get the most is, “I was involved in a car wreck in Atlanta, what is my case worth.” No answer to this question would be complete without first stating that if you have been involved in an Atlanta wreck, you should consult with an experienced Georgia injury lawyer who handles serious car accident cases. Since an initial consultation is normally free, there is very little downside to seeking the advice of an attorney based on the specific facts of your case. After all, knowledge is power, as they say.
With that said, there are a number of factors that Georgia car accident lawyers look at in analyzing the merits and value of a potential car wreck case. They are:
1. How serious are your injuries? The case value increases if you have sustained objective and serious injuries such as broken bones, herniated back disks, a concussion, a closed head injury or severe lacerations. The general rule (which should not come as any surprise) is: the more serious (and objective) the injuries, the more valuable the case. It is also helpful to note that the injuries that provide the most value to a case are the ones that are objective in nature. In other words, if there is a broken bone or a brain injury that shows up on an MRI, the case is much more valuable than one in which the only injuries suffered are those that do not show up on objective studies such as x-rays and other types of radiographic tests.
2. Were you taken from the scene of the accident to the hospital emergency room? The argument goes: seriously injured people are taken off in an ambulance, receive medical treatment at the emergency room, are transferred into the hospital from the ER, and then continue to treat with medical doctors and surgeons after they are released from the hospital until they achieve maximum medical improvement (“MMI”). While this may not always be true due to extenuating circumstances, this is the view that the insurance companies take. However, we understand that this is not always possible, and a lack of treatment can, many times, be explained and will not unduly affect the value of your case.
3. In which county does the person who caused the accident live? This is important because jury pools and judges vary by county. The more liberal the judges and/or potential jurors are in a particular county, the more your case is worth. When I am filing a new car accident lawsuit, I prefer to file in (in order of preference) Dekalb County, Fulton County, Clayton County, Gwinnett County and Cobb County. However, that is simply a general rule and there are many other counties that are interspersed with excellent jury pools and still many other counties whose judges are exceptional.
4. How much property damage is there to the cars involved in the wreck? This is important, because it is harder to prove serious personal injuries were caused by a wreck that resulted in little property damage. Conversely, if you are involved in an automobile accident and both cars are totaled, it is not hard to understand how the occupants in those cars could suffer severe injuries. Once again, this is a general rule and there are many cases that involved serious and debilitating injuries from a car wreck that does not result in a lot of damages to the cars involved. This type of situation can occur, and often does. If the plaintiff is credible, the medical care reasonable and necessary and the doctors’ testimony on causation is strong, this should not be a situation that would artificially keep down the value of your case. There is a famous legal theory of “The Egg Shell Plaintiff.” What this means is that you take your plaintiff as you get her. So, if there is a mild impact, but for whatever reason (it could be the aggravation of an existing injury or condition, or an elderly and frail plaintiff or simply an unusual result from a minor impact), the negligent party is responsible for all of the damages and injuries that flow from the negligence.
5. Was the other driver cited at the scene for causing the wreck? Clear liability cases are worth more than contested liability cases. However, clear liability cases that are contested by the Defendant on liability grounds are worth even more.
While this list is not exhaustive, it does include some of the factors that Georgia injury lawyers look at in evaluating a potential case. I hope this was helpful.
Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, bus accidents, car accident cases and construction site injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.