Interviewer: Is there any common type of person or circumstance that leads to an auto accidents or is it just truly a random thing?
Nicholas Lowe: It’s totally random. Unfortunately, people don’t forget to choose when and where somebody blows the stop sign or does not pay attention and rear ends them. So it’s totally random. We do see people who are on the road a lot, people who drive for a living, delivery people, people who travel, sales people who are out and just logging more miles on the road leading to a higher risk of an accident.
Auto-Accidents Can Generally be Categorized As Minor, Moderate and Major
Interviewer: Are most auto accidents pretty grievous or are they pretty light ordo you have different results?
Nicholas Lowe:You have minor accidents, you have moderate accidents and you have major accidents. Fortunately for people, severe injuries from severe accidents are less frequent but obviously when they do occur, they’re more dramatic and more impactful on the person’s life. The minor accidents and moderate accidents occur with more frequency and that’s really lucky for all of us.
The Elements That Constitute a Viable Auto-Accident Claim in California
Interviewer: What are the elements of an accident that makes it a viable case in regards to getting a settlement?
Nicholas Lowe: First of all, there needs to be clear liability. If the jury is not sure who’s at fault, even if you win the case and they find in favor of your client; they’re not as generous with their award because they’re not really sure that the person they’re giving money to didn’t cause the accident or didn’t have some fault in the accident. Clear liability is very important. The plaintiff himself or herself is very important. If you have a likable plaintiff, they sell much better, if you have somebody who’s not likable and who hasn’t told the truth, who’s inconsistent, who has a poor memory, all of those things negatively impact the case.
If the Plaintiff Has a Prior History of Accidents then it will Adversely Affect the Compensation Claim
When you’re looking at a car accident, if a person has a long history of prior similar complaints, if they’ve had problems with their neck and back for years and now they’re in another accident and they’re claiming damages for their neck and back, we can still get money on those cases but we get less because there is a preexisting history. If there is something aggravating in the case, if the person who runs into my client is a drunk driver, is on drugs, has felony arrest, convictions, is doing something that a jury might get angry about, we tend to get higher settlements and higher awards.
The Severity of Impact is Another Important Factor in Determining the Viability of an Auto-Accident Claim
The severity of the impact is important, juries struggle with whether somebody could be injured at extremely low speeds and when the cars don’t have any damage to either car or very slight damage, it’s very difficult to get a jury to believe the person was significantly injured. It doesn’t matter if they really were injured or not; what matters is can you convince a jury that they were in fact injured. When there’s very little property damage, that’s hard to do. So, the more property damages, the more cosmetic damage to the vehicles, the easier it is to prove the case.
The Visibility of An Injury Can be A Vital Factor in an Auto-Accident Claim
If the injury is something you can see, for example, a broken bone, we can stick an X-ray up on the screen and the doctor can see or the jury can see the broken bone, then that’s a lot easier to get money on than somebody who simply says, “My neck hurts”, and there’s no objective evidence supporting what they say. We still get money on those cases and they’re very common.If the client’s believable and if it’s a good impact, those cases can be settled for decent money and the jury, if you go to trial, would give you money.
The More Objective the Evidence is of the Injury, the Easier it is to Get Compensated
The more objective the evidence is of the injury the easier it is to get money. Another example would be a herniated disk. If the person has a herniated disk in their spine, that’s something we can put up on the screen and show the jury, the treating doctor can explain it but without that, it’s just more difficult.