Without trying to sound like a lawyer who is dodging the answer, there are quite a lot of factors to consider. Here are a few that I tell my clients right up front at our first meeting to manage their expectations:
- Did you break a bone at the scene of the accident? If so, your case has more value due to the impact, your need for more extensive treatment, the pain and suffering from a broken boke, the possible limitations in range of motion from the broken bone and possibly due to limitations in work ability causing a substantial wage loss.
- Was your car (and the defendant's car) declared totaled after the accident? Pictures of mangled cars tend to demonstrate to the claims folks that genuine injuries resulted from the collision. Of course, this is not always true. Low impact collisions can cause huge injuries. It is just more difficult to prove or more difficult to convince others (adjuster, jury members) that the injuries were so extensive when you drove your car away from the scene of the accident.
- Did you begin treatment immediately after the accident? In other words, were you taken by ambulance to the local ER from the accident scene?
This is but one element of the extent of your injuries. This turns into a “money pit” when the local hospital performs every test known to man, then sends you a bill for $28,000 but you need no further medical treatment after the ER evaluation. This scenario does not have the elements of a “good case.”
Generally speaking, if you were not bleeding at the accident scene, not in pain, told the police office you were OK, refused to go to the ER, and you were able to drive your car away from the accident scene, you will find few lawyers that can turn this “sows ear into a silk purse.”