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Why You Can’t Compare Cases that Appear to be Similar

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Folks who hire us will sometimes say that their friends or relatives have been involved in “the same kind of accident,” or that their neighbor got a “large amount of money” in her case. These “friends and family” scenarios often create unrealistic expectations. We remind our clients that no two cases are the same. The facts of each case make it unique and dictate an outcome specific to that case. In addition, laws change all the time and what was available or achievable three years ago may be different today. Sometimes for the better.

A traffic accident or a construction site collapse may be similar to another accident — but they’re not the same, and the difference is often in the details. For instance, if you’re hurt because of a car wreck and it’s the other driver’s fault, you should be compensated. But the amount of compensation depends on your circumstances. If you’re retired, you did not lose wages because of the accident. An injured person in another case could have been out of work for a week or more, and should get lost wages. Sometimes people are working but don’t record their earnings with the IRS or an employer. They get paid “under the table.” That makes it difficult to document later when seeking lost wages. As another example, a window washer can fall from scaffolding that’s one story high or five stories high, and the outcome could be dramatically different, even though they’re both work-related falls. Or a negligent party may have a lot of insurance in one case and little or none in another. The amount of coverage available makes a huge impact in your recovery. Accidents can also make an existing injury worse, and payment to the injured party could be less if there was a pre-existing medical condition.

There is no simple formula to predict an outcome in your case. It’s important for your attorney to know and discover everything possible about your case to give you the best chance for a successful outcome. Don’t try to forecast the results of your case based on what you think has happened to others. Rely on your legal team to communicate with you and to take the time to research and review the circumstances of your specific situation before a compensation figure can be determined.

This article was written by Chip Permar

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