As Fort Myers personal injury attorneys with a 20-year track record of success, experience has taught us that there is one thing we can count on when we are retained by a new client: No two motor vehicle crashes are ever the same.
A large percentage of motor vehicle accidents, 29% according the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, are ‘rear-ender' collisions, but that in no way implies that all of them involve the exact same set of circumstances. For motorcyclists, one of the leading causes of fatal crashes with another vehicle is the ‘left turn in front' scenario, where a motorist does not see the oncoming motorcycle, and turns left directly into the biker's right of way. Each of these accident situations may all be lumped under a certain category, but that's where any similarity ends – no two accidents involve identical circumstances or resulting injuries.
When a client comes to the Goldberg Noone Abraham law firm for help after being seriously hurt in a crash, there are certain questions that need answers. We are here to help people who, through no fault of their own, have suffered serious physical and financial harm as the result of an accident, and who need skilled legal counsel to get the justice they deserve.
"What's My Case Worth?”
That's one of the first questions we get from new clients. In evaluating and researching the facts involved in each and every case, our first job is to determine exactly who was at fault for the accident, (in many cases it can be multiple parties), so that we can assess and assign liability for the crash, or who is financially responsible. The financial value of your case depends on if someone else was 100% at fault for the crash, or if it is determined that you may have been found at least partially responsible, too.
Florida is a “comparative negligence” state, which means that if it is determined that you were 50% responsible for the crash, your financial award would be reduced by 50%.
Once clear liability has been established, a value needs to be associated with the amount of damages that resulted from the crash. There are two kinds of damages – economic and non-economic. Economic damages are financial losses that are a direct result of your accident and the resulting injuries. These can include monies spent on medical treatment for your injuries, damage to or the complete loss of your vehicle, and lost wages from not being able to work.
Non-economic damages are those that relate to your resulting pain and suffering after being involved in a serious crash, and what type of financial impact that will have on your life. And because no two accidents are ever alike, this is where intense and skilled negotiations come into play.
Suppose there are two accidents, both involving two cars. You may have a passenger in one vehicle who was a promising young athlete about to start his college career, his whole life before him. In the other car, an elderly woman has been seriously hurt while being driven back to the assisted living residence where she lives. In attempting to assess any non-economic damages they will have to pay as a result of their insured's causing a crash, giant insurance companies will initially offer you what they say is a “fair” settlement amount. The problem is most large insurance companies use computer software and so-called analytic data or formula to spit out a number that is supposed to compensate you for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
Our attorneys know that there can be no formula used when determining the value of an injury claim.
Are the injuries to the young man worth more than those of the elderly woman? Do the many remaining years of his life carry more financial value than those fewer remaining years that the elderly woman could be expected to live?
The severity of injuries suffered in a crash also are a factor in determining what your case is worth. Of course, a fatal crash in which someone loses their life would have a higher financial value than a crash in which the victim suffered a broken arm.
This is when you need an experienced, aggressive personal injury lawyer who is not afraid of tough negotiations with the armies of attorneys and claims adjusters representing an insurance carrier.
Insurance Coverage for the At Fault Driver
The type and coverage limits of auto insurance that is carried by the at fault driver can also affect the value of your personal injury claim. Our attorneys will look at the details of the at fault party's insurance policy to determine the limits of the liability and other forms of coverage they have to initially determine if there is enough to cover the costs of your injuries, pain and suffering, and lost wages if the crash left you unable to work.
But just because the at fault driver has a huge insurance policy does not mean a big financial settlement to you. Insurance companies do not like to pay out large financial claims on their insured drivers, so you can assume they will initially offer you a “low ball” offer in the hopes you'll be satisfied and go away.
In the event the at fault driver has no insurance or inadequate coverage to pay for your injury claim, you may still be entitled to financial compensation if you have Uninsured Motorist (UM) or under-insured motorist coverage. You can read more about that here.
Most Cases Never Make it to a Courtroom
In working with our clients to determine a value of a serious accident injury or the resulting loss of a beloved family member, we present the facts to the insurance company of the persons responsible, or liable, for the accident. This involves our team's detailed research and discovery of every single fact relating to how the accident happened, and the overall, life-long impact of the resulting physical injuries you have sustained.
At Goldberg Noone Abraham, we've spent over two decades fighting for justice on our clients' behalf, and the insurance companies know this. We do not back down, and we fully prepare for every case to go to trial. In reality, most personal injury claims are settled prior to going to trial.
But, decades of helping people put their lives back together after a bad crash caused by someone else have shown us that working on every case as if we were going to end up in court is the only way to maximize our value to our clients, and help them obtain the fair financial compensation they are entitled to under the law.
The true value of a personal injury case can best be determined by an attorney who has spent decades negotiating thousands of accident scenarios with the biggest insurance companies in the world. Our attorneys are always available to speak with you at any time, day or night, in your home or even the hospital. There is no cost to you for a no-obligation consultation with us to get your questions answered. This is the first step in getting on with your life after a serious injury, and we're here to help.
Call us at 239-461-5508, or just fill out and submit this simple form, and we'll reach out to you immediately.