What Does the Attorney Look for in Determining the Viability of a Personal Injury Case?

Interviewer: With some of the most common injuries that you see, for instance in auto accidents, what would be the factors that would be most important in determining if someone has a winnable case? What are you looking for as an attorney in a case?

Jack: You do like to see some visible damage done to the vehicles. This is because sometimes, there’s such a minor impact that no visible damage is resulting, and insurance companies tend to discount that any injuries can result from such minimal impact.

Injuries Sustained for Viable Personal Injury Case May Include Soft Tissue Damage, Blunt Trauma and Fractures

So, as the attorney, you do like to see some visible damage and a large number of injuries that you see are soft tissue, neck strains or sprains, back strains or sprains. Also the trauma to the knees or chest or head hitting hard objects in the car, dashboards or steering wheels or windshields; those injuries are considered blunt traumas. If the client suffered a fracture or required surgical intervention, that certainly enhances the value of cases.

What Are the First Steps in a Personal Injury Case? The Personal Injury Attorney Will Obtain Any Medical Documentation the Client Has Received

Interviewer: What the steps are to handling a personal injury case? Do you begin by having your client see a doctor or obtaining doctors’ paperwork that the client has already received? There may not be that much damage to a vehicle. It may even take a couple of days for an injury to present itself.

Jack: If they’ve gone by ambulance to a hospital, you obtain those records. If they’ve already started to meet with their own physician, you obtain those records. Now if someone comes to you and hasn’t seen a physician, I don’t send them anywhere per se, but if they’re looking to me for guidance, I can suggest physicians who are well regarded in that specialty and let them make their own choices.

Your Attorney Will Assist You in Recovering Property Damage

Interviewer: What are some of the other steps that you also take in handling a personal injury case that people may need to be aware of?

Do You Have Collision Coverage? Do You Need a Rental Car?

Jack: Right off the bat, you’ve got to try to help them with the property damage. I know the focus is on the personal injury, but your car may be damaged, it may be un-drivable, and you may not even have collision coverage, so you may need a rental.

Attorney O’Donnell Knows from Experience What Is Most Important to Clients after an Accident

There’s a whole number of issues right off the bat where you’re frequently judged by the client, especially if it’s a new client to you. They want to see action. They want to be in a rental car quickly. They want to have their car appraised and repaired quickly, so you like I said, you try to impress the client by working quickly on matters of that nature right off the bat.

A Personal Injury Case Will Take, at a Minimum, Six Months to Resolve

Interviewer: Speaking of how quickly things would progress in a personal injury case, what would you tell a new client how long they should expect that this is going to take to resolve?

It Is Difficult to Assess Any Long-Term or Permanent Injury for at Least 6 Months to a Year from the Date of Injury

Jack: I tell them a minimum six months. A lot of physicians feel like you can’t even be assessed for permanent injury unless six months lapses from the time of the accident. Orthopedics and other doctors feel a full year has to elapse before they’ll assess whether or not permanent injury as resulted.

This is why I tell them a minimum of six months, sometimes slightly more than a year. Potentially, some cases can take much longer than that; either because it’s a complicated case or there are questions as to the liability, whose fault the accident was.

By Jack O’Donnell

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