If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident resulting in a serious (what we in the law label “catastrophic”) injury, one of the most challenging conversations to have with an attorney is the potential for recovery in your case. The most important thing is for you to get better, and, at the same time, there is a need to honestly assess your ability to recover money for your injuries. How do you do that?
We often use the analogy of a three-legged stool. In order for a stool to stand, it needs at least three legs. Similarly, a personal injury case (regardless of it is a brain injury, trailer wreck, bike accident, spine injury, or fatal accident case) requires three things.
- Liability: The accident must be due to someone else’s fault. For most catastrophic injury cases, the other party is required to have done something wrong in order for you to recover. This is not true for certain products liability cases, where there is “strict liability” or liability just because the accident happened. But, in a typical Atlanta tractor-trailer accident, for example, the truck wreck must be caused by the truck driver for there to be a recovery.
- Damages as a Result of the Accident: The accident must have resulted in some injury to you. Having an accident, by itself, is not enough to recover financially from another party. There must be damages. In a personal injury case, this means there must be something physically that happens to you, as a result of the accident. For example, in an Atlanta brain injury case, the damage will be the diminished mental function, lost wages, medical expenses, and quality of life, of the plaintiff as a result of the accident.
- Solvency: The Defendant must have a resource that the plaintiff can recover. There is nothing sadder in our practice than when a person who is really hurt or a family of a wrongful death accident comes to us, and the Defendant has no source of recovery. Unfortunately, the Defendant has to have some funds (like insurance or property) for the plaintiff to a recovery.
If any of these three “legs” are not present, the personal injury case (like a stool) cannot stand. If you think you have a truck wreck, fatal accident, pedestrian accident, bike accident, or catastrophic injury case, a knowledgeable Georgia attorney needs to review it to tell you for certain what you can and cannot likely recover.