Who was at fault?

In many cases who was at fault for an accident is fairly clear.  The other driver rear ended you, they were pulling out of a side street, or they ran a stop sign/red light and t-boned your car.  However, fault is not always as clear as it may first seem.  Cars can cut in front of you and you cannot stop to avoid the accident or both cars are merging into a center lane from opposite directions at the same time.  In cases such as these, fault is less clear and the insurance company is likely to deny any liability by their driver for the accident.  This is why it is important to get witnesses, take pictures of the damages, and take pictures of the scene of the accident.  Be sure to get pictures of the position of the vehicles from as many angles as possible.

How the accident happened is also very important when dealing with a jury.  Did the at-fault driver act in a way that was totally outrageous and reckless?  Will a jury want to award more to a plaintiff and punish the defendant because of that reckless behavior?  These are definitely factors to think about when evaluating a case for settlement.

How badly were you hurt?

There are a range of injuries that a person can suffer from when in an auto accident.  Most commonly victims will complain of aches, pains, and headaches after an accident.  Often times, these pains will often get much worse the next day.  This is why it is important to always see a medical professional as soon as possible after an accident.  I always suggest that victims go to the local Emergency Room.  This way they can be evaluated for any significant injury such as spinal injuries or concussions.  Victims can also suffer very traumatic and serious injuries in auto accidents.  Many of these people find themselves being transported to the hospital by ambulance.

A well-defined and objective diagnosis of injury is always preferable to a complaint of aches and pains by a victim.  Insurance companies love to argue that a victim was “not really hurt” or is “exaggerating.”  The value of your case can be greatly affected by getting a clear diagnosis of injury from a doctor as soon as possible.

Another tactic that insurance companies use is to argue that the victim had a pre-existing injury and the accident did not cause any new damage.  There is an old legal adage that applies in these types of cases; you take the plaintiff as they come.  This means that if the accident made the preexisting injury or condition worse, then the at-fault driver is responsible for the damages.  The worsening or exacerbation of an old injury is just as much the fault of the defendant as a new injury.  Don’t let the insurance company bully you!  Get an experienced auto accident attorney who knows how to handle insurance companies.

Your car does not look that bad?

How many times have you seen an accident and thought, “I hope they all made it out alive?”  Or driven past a simple fender bender and barely gave it a second thought.  Well, it is the common misconception that greater property damage equals bigger or more injuries to the victims.  In reality, a small fender bender can cause just as much, if not more, damage to a victim.  The fact is that all people are different and their bodies will react differently when outside forces act upon it.  Insurance companies regularly use the “The car does not look that bad” argument in order to justify a small offer of settlement in a case.  An attorney who is trained and experienced in handling auto accident injuries will know how to handle these types of arguments.

The Jury Hates/Likes Me

Jurors are people, just like you and I.  They all have feelings that they bring into a jury room with them.  Is the Defendant likeable?  Was he just a hard working person who got distracted behind the wheel by a crying baby?  Was he a drunk driver that has a number of arrests on his record?  Is the defendant a liar?  Convicted of perjury?  These are all factors to consider when evaluating a case.  How will the jury react to the plaintiff?  Is the person sympathetic?  How old are they?  Having an experienced auto accident attorney help look at these types of factors can significantly increase the likelihood of you getting what you deserve.

All of these factors are important to the value of your auto accident or personal injury case.  R. Christopher Leone is an experienced attorney with a proven track record.  The vast majority of the cases I handle settle before a lawsuit is filed.  And having an attorney who understands how the insurance companies handle these cases is vital to getting a fair settlement offer prior to filing a lawsuit.  However, if the case must go to court, then I am prepared to fight for my clients until the end to get them the award that they deserve.  For a free consultation call 443-994-4039, The Law Office of R. Christopher Leone, LLC is ready and willing to help you!