5 Factors that Affect the Value of a Virginia Car Accident Injury Case
The first major factor is liability. Liability is basically who was at
fault for the car accident or for the injury. Since Virginia has
, most insurance companies will not quickly concede liability. In fact,
it is not often conceded until days before trial. The following are two examples:
If you are a passenger in a vehicle that is sitting at a stop sign and
are rear ended, then liability will likely not be an issue.
The accident occurred at a stop light and you were and another driver
claimed you both had a green light. If there were no independent witnesses,
then establishing liability will be more difficult.
If liability is difficult to establish then the value of the case is diminished.
If you lose on liability then you make no recovery. If a Virginia insurance
company believes that they have a chance to show you were partly at fault
for the collision, even if their insured was negligent, they will be more
likely to want to try your case to a jury. Since they believe they have
a certain chance to prevail at trial their offer will be less because
they have a chance to pay you nothing if the case is tried and you are
found partly or totally at fault.
The next major factor is damages, or your injuries and what affect have
they had on your life. If a car accident causes you to sustain a neck
sprain or back sprain that hurts for a few days or weeks but does not
have much effect on your life or work, then you will likely only make
a modest recovery; a fair outcome given that you had only modest injuries.
Obviously, if a car accident leads to a herniated disc in your neck that
requires a cervical fusion surgery and permanent injuries, then your damages
are much more significant.
It is important to understand that just because you have an injury that
requires surgery does not mean that the injury is completely related to
the accident. In many cases, the treating physician relates the injury
that the plaintiff is claiming to the collision. Many times the insurance
company will hire a doctor to give an opinion that the injury was either
not related to the car accident or was only partially due to the collision.
Likewise if you make a claim that you are no longer capable of doing your
job and claim future lost wages, the defense can argue that you could
go back to work and that they are not responsible for the future wages.
Regardless of what the dispute is as to damages, how strong the evidence
is for each element will affect the value of the case.
Venue is where the case may be permissibly filed. While in the eyes of
the law it does not matter where the case is filed, from a practical standpoint
it can make a difference. While most attorneys would probably agree that
most venues in Virginia are conservative, there are some that are less
conservative than others and a very few that could be considered favorable
to personal injury victims.
4. Personality of the Plaintiff
The plaintiff is the injured party and while it may not seem fair that
the personality of the plaintiff matter, it does. It does not matter from
a legal standpoint but from a common sense standpoint. If the injured
party is a hardworking individual that is sincere to the jury, he or she
will make a better recovery then one who is seen by the jury as making
a “mountain out of a mole hill” or trying to get something
for nothing. You can be sure the insurance company understands this and
the offers to settle the case will reflect whether the plaintiff is credible
and will make a good impression with a jury..
The attorney can absolutely make a difference in the value of the case.
If injured party is represented by an attorney does not regularly try
personal injury cases and has a reputation for settling cases, the insurance
company will likely take this into consideration when making offers. If,
however, the attorney regularly handles these types of cases and he understands
how to try a case and is willing to try a Virginia car accident case to
a jury, then the insurance company is more likely to be concerned which
may be reflected in their evaluation of the case.