CAN A GOOD ATTORNEY ESTIMATE MY CHANCES OF WINNING A PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
Yes, they would be able to because that is different from predicting how much they might recover. When you first talk to an attorney on the phone and have a consultation with them, then the number and types of questions they will ask will be significant with regard to the issue of how the accident occurred, including the when, where and how of the dynamics and mechanics of the accident because they are trying to establish whether or not it is worth their time and trouble and the time and trouble of the potential client to take on the case.
The attorney has to be convinced that there is at least a 51 percent chance or better that the case will settle or will be won at a jury or a judge trial. If it meets the threshold test, and it is more than 51 percent likelihood of there being compensation at the end of the rainbow after handling their case. After a couple hours of conversation, asking questions and taking notes and reviewing the documents, police reports, the attorney should be able to tell them with quite good certitude whether or not they have a good and legitimate personal injury case that is worth their time and trouble and the attorney’s time and trouble to undertake and pursue.
WHAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF A PERSONAL INJURY CASE NOT WORTH PURSUING?
The rules of the road state that if I got struck from the rear, it is totally the other person’s fault, unless the person in the front vehicle is backing up, which means they won’t recover anything because they are partially at fault. Another type or class of case that is risky, difficult and has to be entered into with great caution are slip, trip and fall cases. When someone slips and falls on some type of substance on the floor at a grocery store or a mall, or someone slips in a parking lot, or steps in a hole or trips on a sidewalk, these types of cases that are very difficult to establish liability; just because someone slips, trips and falls inside or outside a store or in some private area, is not in and of itself a definition of liability for the property owner or landlord or a business owner.
Just having an accident does not mean the store owner is at fault because they are not an absolute insurer of one’s safety even if they invite them in to shop in their store. If a person falls in the store onto something on the floor, they can’t be expected to clean the floors every minute and they can’t post employees every five feet throughout the store to make sure someone doesn’t fall, so if kids come in with ice cream or something falls off the shelf or a grape falls off the produce stand and someone slips and falls on these hazards doesn’t mean the landlord will have to pay or is liable; the landlord must have reasonable notice and take reasonable precautions to address hazards on the floor.
Such cases are not an absolute, so slip and fall cases like this depend upon whether we can show there is actual notice that the property owner or the businessperson knew there was a hazard on the floor and hadn’t cleaned it up, which is almost impossible to prove, or constructive notice, which means the hazard was present for an unreasonable period of time and the business owner should have seen it and taken care of it, but didn’t. That is probably the riskiest type of personal injury case to take on.