HOW MUCH IS MY BOAT INJURY CASE WORTH?
There are two sides to every personal injury case: 1. Liability and 2. Damages. Liability is the question of why and how the incident occurred and who was at fault for the incident. In any personal injury case it is the obligation of the claimant to prove who was responsible for the incident. Without proving Liability, you never get to talk about your Damages. In a typical trial a jury is given a simple Verdict Form to complete at the end of a trial. The Verdict Form will generally have only 6 or 7 questions on it for the jury to complete. The very first question on the Verdict Form roughly says “Was there negligence on the part of the Defendant that caused injury to the Plaintiff?” If the jury answers that question: “No”, then it is game over. The claimant recovers nothing. In a boating injury case the jury gets to decide comparative fault to the determine if the claimant or the Defendant or even some third party was also responsible for the incident that caused injury.
Many people focus only on their injuries and avoid any discussion about Liability. This is a mistake. An injury lawsuit can be dismissed by a judge if the claimant cannot demonstrate fault on the part of an accused wrongdoer; or also the jury in a trial may answer that first question on the Verdict Form as “No”. To have an honest discussion about how much your boating injury case (or JetSki collision, or cruise ship injury case) is worth, you have to first realistically evaluate fault on the part of an accused wrongdoer. One more point is that the wrongdoing has to be provable. This is especially critical in cruise ship injury cases because those cases must be filed in federal court and it is where cruise lines are very practiced at trying to prevent disclosure of adverse information against them. You must not only have an at-fault actor, you must be able to prove their actions were negligent and caused you injury.
Damages are comprised of three basic elements.
- Medical bills. (In the past, and in the future if any.)
- Lost wages. (In the past, and in the future, if any.)
- Pain and suffering, and the injury itself. (Past and future.)
- Medical bills tend to be easy to demonstrate because an injured person generally has medical bills. A defendant can contest the reasonableness of an injured person’s medical bills, and contest whether the medical bills were caused by the incident complained about. For future medical bills it requires a qualified medical doctor to say if there will be future medical care—and how much care is expected.
- Lost wages tend to be a mostly mathematical formula based upon how much a person was earning before an incident and how long the person was out of work. Future lost wages requires a qualified doctor to say how the recovery of a person is expected to go. It can also sometimes require a vocational rehabilitation specialist to say what work an injured person is now capable or incapable of doing.
- Pain and suffering is awarded in whatever amount a jury says it is. It also includes more than just “pain” and more than just “suffering”. It can also include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. Pain and suffering damage is based less on math and more on what a jury feels is appropriate. There is no doubt that juries tend to award higher pain and suffering Damages where a claimant has high medical bills, and less pain and suffering Damages where the medical bills are low.
SUMMARY OF HOW TO KNOW THE VALUE OF YOUR BOATING ACCIDENT INJURY CASE
The value of an injured boating accident claimant is a based upon a combination of first the Liability situation, and then those factors of (medical bills + wages + pain/suffering) which combine to determine Damages. Some make the mistake of only looking at or only talking about their Damages, and forgetting they first have to prove what the other person or company did wrong. Unless the claimant can prove Liability they will not recover their Damages.
FOR YOUR BOATING ACCIDENT CASE CHOOSE AN ATTORNEY WHO SPECIALIZES IN BOATING ACCIDENT LAW
There is one other very important aspect to consider and that is hiring an attorney who knows maritime law and is qualified to handle your boating accident case, or JetSki collision, or cruise ship injury case. Cruise ship injury cases, and the overwhelming majority of boating and JetSki injury cases in Florida are governed by maritime law, not Florida law. What this means is that if you choose an attorney who handles car accidents and dogbites they are not likely to know maritime law.
At www.888BoatLaw.com we are successfully recovering for injured boating claimants for 25 years. We know the law that applies to your case. We know how to value your case. This is because we understand the law that applies to both the Liability and the Damages in your case. Contact us for a free consultation with our attorneys to discuss your case. Never a charge unless we win your case.
Contact us at 888-B-O-A-T-L-A-W (888-262-8529)
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