When sitting down with a client to discuss the possibility of getting compensation, an auto accident attorney has to look at a lot of factors. If you're wondering what your chances of successfully pursuing a claim or a lawsuit might be, it's worth taking the time to examine four key issues that matter to an auto accident lawyer. 

Injuries and Damages

The very first question is whether any harm occurred, and if so, how much there was. Personal injuries sustained in cases are generally what attracts lawyers to them. It is possible to sue for damages to a vehicle, but a car would have to be massively expensive for there to be significant value in suing for its replacement. Most drivers in such circumstances would presumably have their own insurance in case they were hit by an uninsured driver.

Many states have laws that limit the pursuit of non-catastrophic damages for personal injuries. This is especially common in no-fault insurance states. If you live in such a state, you may need to prove that your injuries were catastrophic, meaning they have caused you permanent distress, pain, or deformity. In other words, they're probably going to have to be a lot worse than just a broken arm.

A Duty of Care

The circumstances leading up to an accident have to entail a legal responsibility to not let someone else come to harm. For example, a person making a left-hand turn has a responsibility to ensure there's no oncoming traffic before they start turning to cross a different lane. Another common example is the duty to ensure your car's most basic safety systems, such as the brakes and the tire tread, are in working order.


In the majority of states, it has to be shown that a third-party (in other words, not you) was at least 51% responsible for you being hurt. These states typically calculate damages as the percentage of fault multiplied by total medical expenses. For example, someone found at 75-percent fault for $1 million in damages would have to pay $750,000. Fault is largely grounded in whether there was a duty of care and whether the driver failed to fulfill it.


The failure of duty of care has to be meaningful in an incident. All more proximate causes, such as an ice storm, have to be ruled out as the most likely explanation for the incident occurring.