One step to establish the defendant's liability is to establish causation. In low impact cases can be especially difficult when the property damage is less than $1,000. When there is not much damage, the defense will argue, "How could someone be hurt?"
Additionally, when there is contributory negligence issues, one has to be thorough in analyzing the scene and the factors leading up to the collision. This would lead one to go to the scene of the crash, and take measurements and photographs to document where the crash occurred.
Further, interviewing witnesses who either were involved in the crash or who saw the crash can be very important.
Damages - What are the economics or Special Damages?
First, one looks to the medical treatment bills. Provided these bills are reasonable, necessary and causally related to the crash, they should be granted to the injured party. However, items such as pre-existing conditions, whether or not they were treating can pose problems for the plaintiff.
Further, subsequent injuries can raise doubts as to the defendant's responsibility for the injuries as claimed. If the plaintiff is not at fault, the defendant must prove these other factors are the cause of the plaintiff's problems.
Future medical bills can be raised. Again, provided a health care provider can assert the treatment is reasonable, necessary and causally related.
Wage Loss and Loss of earning capacity are key factors in ascertaining a claim value. If one is an hourly worker, this can be easier to prove. A self-employed individual, or someone who works on commission, can have more difficulty.
Independently verifiable proof is required to prove these Special damages.
Damages - What are the Non-Economic Damages?
Non-Economic damages, such as pain and emotional distress, the loss of enjoyment of life, the disability one has, whether permanent or temporary, partial or total, need to be factored in. And the value for a scar or disfigurement can also drive up the value of the claim. More specifically, the following are Non-Economic damage elements:
o The nature and extent of the injuries.
o The disability, disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life experienced and with reasonable probability to be experienced in the future.
o The physical pain, suffering and inconvenience experienced by the plaintiff, and with reasonable probability to be experienced in the future.
How to bolster a claim
Screen cases. Don't let the client exaggerate. Find lay witnesses who can vouch for the injured person for honesty, work ethic, character. This will legitimatize the injuries. Find good treating doctors as experts. A jury truly relies on the treating doctor.
A Private Investigator's role
A Private Investigator can provide help to the personal injury claim. For example, they can perform the following:Asset checks; Service of Process either for Corporate service or personal service; Locating parties; Photography or videography of the scene or property damage and/or injuries; Witness interviews; Court file access.
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