5 Factors To A Personal Injury Case

| Read Time: 10 minutes | Written by: Blake S. Friedman, Esq.

A lot of times clients ask me if they have a good case. In general, there are 5 factors that make up a personal injury case. 

#1 Liability 

Who is at fault for the accident? 

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end car accidents are typically the easiest type of car accident when determining liability.

Usually, the vehicle in the rear is determined to be at fault.

However, circumstances may arise where the insurance companies attempt to place partial or full liability on a rear-ended vehicle.

Example #1: Multiple Vehicle Pile Ups (“The Two Impact Question”)

Imagine you are heading to work on Interstate 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada and you begin to slow down for traffic ahead of you.

Suddenly, you are rear-ended, and the force of the impact pushes you into the car in front of you.

To you, it is clear that the vehicle behind you is 100% at fault. All drivers exchange information and leave the scene without having the police come out. 

The next day, the insurance company for the vehicle behind you takes the recorded statement of the driver of the vehicle in front of you and tries to get them to agree that they felt two separate impacts.

If the driver in front of you says they felt two separate impacts, the insurance company for the vehicle behind you often times will place 50% liability on you, arguing that you hit the vehicle in front of you first, and then you were rear-ended and pushed into the vehicle in front of you a second time. 

To try and avoid this outcome, contact the police to come to the scene and do a full report, and attempt to get written statements or video recordings of the other drivers or witnesses at the scene.

Additionally, make sure to contact Las Vegas auto accident attorney Blake Friedman before contacting the insurance companies or giving any recorded statements.                

Example #2: Lane Change then Rear-End

Imagine you are driving down Charleston Blvd. in Las Vegas, Nevada in the middle lane. You check your side mirror, put on your turn signal, and safely make a lane change into the lane to your left.

You are fully established in your lane and proceed to drive in that lane for several seconds. Suddenly, a vehicle behind you who is speeding crashes into the back of your vehicle. 

Following the crash, the insurance company takes your recorded statement and tries to make it sound like you made an abrupt lane change and that the accident is your fault.

To try and avoid this outcome, contact the police to come to the scene and do a full report, and attempt to get written statements or video recordings of the other driver or witnesses at the scene. Additionally, make sure to contact experienced personal injury attorney Blake Friedman before contacting the insurance companies or giving any recorded statements. Friedman Injury Law may be able to obtain video footage from surrounding businesses in the area and the other driver’s phone records.

Running Red Light / Stop Sign Collisions

Imagine you are driving down Eastern Ave. in Henderson, Nevada, and crossing the intersection with St. Rose Pkwy. on a green traffic light. Suddenly, you are hit on your passenger side by another driver who ran a red traffic light.

The other driver apologizes sincerely at the scene, and you exchange insurance information without contacting the police or trying to gather witnesses.

The next day you discover that the other driver is lying to their insurance company claiming that it was you who ran the red light. Without any other evidence, you will have a tough time proving your case.

To try and avoid this outcome, contact the police to come to the scene and do a full report, and attempt to get written statements or video recordings of the other driver or witnesses at the scene. Additionally, make sure to contact the best Las Vegas automobile accident lawyer Blake Friedman before contacting the insurance companies or giving any recorded statements. Friedman Injury Law may be able to obtain video footage from surrounding businesses in the area and the other driver’s phone records.

Unsafe Lane Change

Imagine you are driving down Sahara Ave. in Las Vegas, Nevada in the right lane and suddenly you feel a strong impact on your driver’s side. It turns out the vehicle to your left was not paying attention and made an unsafe lane change directly into your vehicle. The other driver apologizes sincerely at the scene, and you exchange insurance information without contacting the police or trying to gather witnesses.

The next day you discover that the other driver is lying to their insurance company claiming that it was you who made the unsafe lane change into their vehicle. Without any other evidence, you will have a tough time proving your case.

To try and avoid this outcome, contact the police to come to the scene and do a full report, and attempt to get written statements or video recordings of the other driver or witnesses at the scene.

Additionally, make sure to contact the best personal injury attorney in Las Vegas Blake Friedman before contacting the insurance companies or giving any recorded statements. Friedman Injury Law may be able to obtain video footage from surrounding businesses in the area and the other driver’s phone records.

#2 Mechanism of Injury 

Is there enough force to cause injury in the accident? 

When you hear the term “car accident,” your brain probably paints an image similar to what you’ve seen on the news of a vehicle that has been completely destroyed. In those car crashes, nobody disputes the mechanism of injury.

However, the vast majority of motor vehicle accidents do not make the news, and many accidents do not involve a significant amount of property damage to the vehicles. 

Imagine sitting at a red light and suddenly hearing screeching tires, followed by a loud bang, and a significant force pushing your head and neck into your headrest, whiplashing you forward, and then back again. You are initially in a state of shock, but when you regain your senses and realize you have been rear-ended, you exit your vehicle to assess the damage. You expect the back of your vehicle to be destroyed, but to your surprise, there is relatively little damage to the back of your car.

Over the next few hours, you begin to develop a headache and neck pain. Therefore, you go to a medical provider to get checked out, and they recommend you get therapy. As recommended, you begin a course of physical therapy.

Two weeks later, the insurance company for the driver that hit you sends a letter stating they hired a “biomechanical engineer” who conducted a “biomechanical evaluation” and concluded that the collision did not expose you to an amount of force that could have caused injury and that they are denying your bodily injury claim.

An experienced car accident attorney like Blake Friedman can help you combat the insurance company’s “no mechanism of injury” argument and “biomechanical evaluation.” Oftentimes, the insurance company’s biomechanical expert reports are filled with inaccuracies, unreliable principles and methods of calculation, and a lack of substantive data relied upon. Blake Friedman can help prove that the insurance company’s biomechanical engineer’s report renders opinions with no way to test, verify, check, or in any way confirm that the method used to derive those opinions was appropriate, and that the data sources used were accurate and sufficient. Blake Friedman may also decide to hire a legitimate biomechanical engineer to rebut the false opinions of the insurance company’s hired gun.

The Best Personal Injury Attorney in Las Vegas Blake Friedman has successfully resolved thousands of low property damage car accidents. Refer to our website’s “Results” page to see some of Friedman Injury Law’s recent results on low property damage cases.

#3 Insurance Coverage 

Is there enough insurance coverage to pay for your injury claim? 

The other driver may admit to being 100% at fault for causing an auto accident, and there may be no issue with the mechanism of injury, but who is going to pay for your damages? Is there going to be enough money to pay for your vehicle to get fixed, your rental car expenses, medical expenses, lost wages, future medical bills, and your pain and suffering?

Many drivers on the road in Las Vegas are “judgment proof.” This means that they do not have enough personal assets to attach to a judgment to make a lawsuit financially viable. At-fault drivers may also attempt to file bankruptcy to avoid paying a judgment. Therefore, it is rare in a personal injury lawsuit to go after a tortfeasor’s personal assets.

The overwhelming majority of car accident settlements are paid by insurance companies. Therefore, an early analysis of available insurance coverages by Las Vegas Auto Accident Attorney Blake Friedman is crucial. There are different insurance coverages that may be applicable.

Liability Coverage

First, there needs to be an early analysis of all applicable liability policies. Liability insurance provides coverage to insured parties who are liable for causing injuries and damage to other people or property. Liability insurance is required for all drivers in Nevada. The minimum coverage is $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident, and $20,000 in property damage coverage per accident.

Can there be multiple liability policies?

Yes.

The primary liability policy (in most cases) is the policy that is covering the at-fault vehicle involved in the accident.  However, if the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, an experienced car accident lawyer like Blake Friedman will immediately investigate whether the driver carried their own separate policy, which would be secondary and in addition to the primary policy.

It is also important to investigate whether the driver was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. The at-fault driver may be driving his personal vehicle with a minimal 25/50/20 personal liability insurance policy but could be on the clock for a Fortune 500 company with millions of dollars in insurance coverage. 

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Second, there needs to be an early analysis of all applicable UM/UIM policies.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is insurance coverage that can pay for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other bodily injury damages caused by a motorist who did not have insurance.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage is insurance coverage that can pay for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other bodily injury damages caused by a motorist who did not have enough insurance.

These coverages are not required by Nevada law, but are highly recommended to protect yourself against other drivers on the road who carry no insurance or who carry minimal insurance. Las Vegas’ #1 Personal Injury Attorney Blake Friedman can help you quickly identify all applicable uninsured/underinsured policies and coverages.

Medical Payments Coverage

Medical Payments Coverage can generally be used whether you are at fault for an accident or not at fault. This coverage can help pay for your medical expenses following an accident and can help supplement your health insurance.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or destroyed in an accident with another car, regardless of who is at fault. If you use your own collision coverage to repair or replace your vehicle, you generally have to pay your deductible (which can be reimbursed if your claim against the at-fault driver is successful).

Umbrella Coverage

Umbrella insurance provides extra protection beyond the policy limits and coverages of the underlying liability policy. It is imperative that your personal injury lawyer determine if there is an applicable umbrella policy.

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#4 Injury 

What is the extent of the injury?

Injury is the most important factor. Do you have a small injury that is going to resolve within a few weeks? Or do you have a life-changing injury? This is going to significantly alter the value of your case. 

Neck and Back Injuries

The most common injuries to the human body in car accidents are injuries to a person’s neck and/or back. These injuries can be minor “soft tissue” injuries that can resolve within a few weeks with proper medical treatment. These injuries can also be major “discogenic” injuries where the discs in the spine begin tearing, bulging, protruding, or extruding to the point where they put pressure on the nerves in the spine, causing debilitating and life-changing pain and discomfort. If the injuries do not respond to conservative treatment such as chiropractic therapy, physical therapy, and pain management, spine surgery may be required. This is an extremely difficult and scary reality some clients must face, and it is not to be taken lightly. 

Blake Friedman understands the life-changing pain and suffering caused by spine injuries. Growing up, Blake watched his father undergo six (6) separate back surgeries. Blake also has a significant injury to his L5-S1, and understands the true nature of living with low back pain. Blake will fight to recover the entirety of your damages, which may include a future life care plan, a vocational rehabilitation assessment, and an economic impact analysis, among other things.

Traumatic Brain Injury

The first injury to get swept under the rug is a head injury, unfortunately. Without the proper treatment, traumatic brain injuries often go undiagnosed. That is why it is essential to understand your symptoms (i.e. headache, dizziness, nausea, memory loss, fatigue, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, light and sound sensitivity, changes to taste or smell, depression, mood swings, etc.) and to get to the appropriate medical providers for TBI testing and treatment.

If head injury symptoms are complained of at the hospital following an accident, often times the hospital will order a CT scan to look for fractures or hemorrhaging. The CT scan will often come back negative, but the client’s head injury symptoms persist. A good medical provider will do follow-up testing, which may consist of a high-powered brain MRI. On many occasions, Blake Friedman has seen clients who have negative hospital head CT scans, with subsequent positive brain MRIs showing traumatic brain injuries such as diffuse axonal (shearing) injuries. 

Other Injuries

  • Fractured Bones
  • Contusions
  • Shoulder/Knee Injuries
  • Hand/Wrist Injuries
  • Foot/Ankle Injuries
  • Hip Injuries
  • PTSD/Anxiety 
  • Etc.

#5 Credibility* 

Are you a credible claimant or plaintiff? 

Insurance companies and defense law firms often conduct background investigations to determine if you are a credible insurance claimant or plaintiff. 

Social Media Searches

Insurance companies are known to search a claimant’s social media pages soon after a claim is opened. They will search a claimant’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, etc. searching for inconsistencies. For example, if a claimant is claiming a neck injury following an auto accident, but the claimant posts a video on Instagram of him snowboarding one week after the auto accident, it will have a significant negative impact on the value of his claim.

ISO ClaimSearch Inquiry

Insurance companies will often run what is known as an ISO ClaimSearch on claimants to see discover their claims history. If a claimant’s ISO ClaimSearch report comes back with no hits or a minor prior claims history, it likely will have little to no effect on the claimant’s bodily injury claim. However, if the ISO ClaimSearch report comes back with two slip and fall claims and three auto accident claims in the last two years, it will likely have a negative impact on how the insurance company values the claim.

Background Checks

Insurance companies will often do background checks on claimants to determine things like their criminal history. If there is no criminal history or a minor unrelated history, it will likely have little to no effect on the claimant’s bodily injury claim. However, if the background check unveils significant felonies or crimes involving dishonesty like fraud, perjury, or embezzlement, it will likely have a negative impact on how the insurance company values the claim.

Consistent Medical History and Symptom Reporting

Insurance companies will check to see if you are reporting your past medical and accident history truthfully to your medical providers. They will also check to see if you are reporting consistent symptoms to all your medical providers. The more inconsistencies, the more it hurts your credibility. 

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