One of the most common questions I get from someone who’s been involved in a pedestrian accident is “what’s the value of my case?” I think it’s a fair question and is something I know is on the mind of anyone who has been injured, particularly when you walk into a lawyer’s office.
Let me tell you some of the things that drive the answer to this question. When looking at the value of any pedestrian case, two big factors are going to determine what the value of your case ultimately will be:
1) Can we prove the driver of the vehicle was at fault? Remember, Florida has comparative fault, so the driver’s insurance company is going to be looking at the pedestrian’s conduct. Can they prove fault on the pedestrian? One scenario would be that the driver is 100% at fault, total value on him. The other scenario is that they have evidence that the pedestrian may be 30% or 50% at fault in the accident for something they did that led to the accident. Every percentage of fault they believe they can put on the pedestrian is going to be reduce by that percentage.
2) What are the damages and injuries that were suffered? When looking at the value of a case, what was the nature of the injury? Is it something that someone gets treated and they recover from it. Did their injury require surgery? How many medical bills did they incur? If they got their treatment did they recover entirely or are they going to have continuing problems in the future that require more medical bills and limitations in their activities? These are all big factors that will drive the value of anyone’s case but something we’re not going to know the answer to until the medical treatment has been rendered and we get an opinion from the doctor as to what may be needed in the future. The other issue is going to be future medical bills, and the amount of wages you’ve lost in the past and what will you lose in the future.
So, the answer to the question “what is the value of my pedestrian case” when a client walks into my office is “I can tell you that when the medical treatment has been completed and we know exactly what the liability of the arguments are going to be, I will be able to tell you about what the value will be.”
I think it’s a fair question and an experienced pedestrian injury lawyer is not going to give you a specific answer to that question immediately after an accident. If they do, you need to be very suspicious of why they are going out on a limb and giving you that answer without being able to give all the information that I’ve just discussed. I hope this helps.