There are certain general "rules of thumb" in injury cases that lawyers use to quickly determine whether a case has merit or not. Most attorneys use these "rules" whether they recognize it or not. If you have had the experience of a lawyer losing focus when he should be listening to how you were injured, rest assured that he probably heard a bad fact which caused him to determine that your case fits a certain profile.
While these "rules" generally apply, we recognize that the individual facts of each case can turn what would normally be a bad case into a good case. Our attorneys at Anderson Hemmat will listen to the facts of your case before making any premature determination about the merits of your case. We recognize that every case, just like every person, is different. We also recognize that in trial, the subtle differences of each case can make a world of difference in the ultimate outcome.
As a public service, we present this blog as part of a multiple week series of blogs: "Calculus of Personal Injury from A to Z." We hope this will help you better understand a lawyer's thinking process. Consider this article another example of Anderson Hemmat giving away the trade secrets. We are certain that some of these viewpoints will surprise you. For this week, we will present the first three "rules of thumb."
A) AUTO/PEDESTRIAN INJURIES = Generally Bad Cases
This is usually a big shock to people who grow up believing that "pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way." Forget what you learned in Drivers Ed., pedestrians usually don't have the right of way.
That being said, we have been very successful in representing hundreds of pedestrians involved in these accidents. Surprisingly though, most drivers who hit pedestrians do not get ticketed. Often it is the pedestrian who gets the ticket. While pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way in the crosswalk, an injured pedestrian is often out of the crosswalk (or at least they are after the vehicle popped them fifty feet down the road). Also, while the pedestrian is often not able to tell their story at the scene and usually is rushed to the hospital, the negligent driver usually has the advantage of talking to the investigating police officer for a half hour or more. It's not too difficult to imagine how an investigation can stray from what really happened when the cop only hears one side of the story.
So, if you're wondering why lawyers you are calling aren't too "gung-ho" about your case, this is probably why. However, don't give up! Just continue calling law firms until you find someone willing to listen attentively to your story.
B) HIT AND RUN / Never Found Driver = Ok case
Surprised? These cases are brought against our own client's uninsured motorist coverage. They usually are decent cases, but the insurance company will often call into question the curious nature of the accident, or even if an accident occurred at all because, after all, the other driver is gone. Often, it is this uncertainty that results in the insurance company low-balling offers of settlement. But don't let the insurance company do that to you!
C) HIT-AND-RUN / Police Find Driver = Exceptionally great case
These cases are great! They allow us to sue the actual hit-and-run driver. There is never a good explanation for leaving the scene of an accident, so usually this allows us to add punitive damages into the mix and often involves multiple insurance policies. There is often a lot of leg work involved with these cases, but a good attorney should be more than willing to go the extra mile.
At Anderson Hemmat, we believe that each case deserves individual attention and evaluation. If other attorneys are telling you that they just don't have room for your case right now, what they are really telling you is they didn't listen to your case and don't want it. We will listen and take the time to explore the merits of your case to give you an honest evaluation. Call us today to speak with one of our attorneys.