You might have come across advertisements for personal injury law firms on television, in magazines, or on the radio. Many of these ads could lead you to believe that attorneys are desperate for new clients.
However, this is a misconception. Reputable personal injury lawyers do not accept every potential case that is available to them.
There are many different reasons why a personal injury attorney might decline a specific case. If you believe that you have a valid personal injury claim, consulting with a legal professional is critical.
But it is also important to understand the reasons that they might not accept your claim. Below, we will examine four of the most common reasons why a personal injury lawyer might not take your case.
Reasons Why an Attorney Might Decline a Case
Not every type of personal injury claim is viable. Sometimes, an attorney knows that the case is invalid or is unwinnable.
Some tort cases are disqualified because of time limits, deadlines, and other procedural requirements. Attorneys will decline other claims because of the unique facts of the situation.
It can be very frustrating to have your personal injury claim turned down by an attorney. However, most tort lawyers are paid through contingency fees. In other words, these legal professionals only get paid if they recover compensation for their clients. This approach allows injured clients to pursue lawsuits even if they can’t pay their attorney right after an accident. Agreeing to take unwinnable cases is not a sustainable approach to tort law.
Some of the most common reasons why an attorney refuses to take a case include:
Circumstances of the Accident
When they are reviewing a potential case, an attorney will consider how the incident occurred. To hold someone responsible in a personal injury case, that person must have breached a legal duty.
In other words, the responsible party must have done something wrong to cause harm to the victim. The mere existence of a severe injury is not enough to prove that someone else is liable.
For example, suppose that you were involved in a car accident and sustained a severe back injury. If it is unclear who is at fault for the accident, the fact that you were injured is not enough to successfully pursue a claim.
Proving fault or negligence is a critical element of any successful personal injury case. If an attorney examines the facts of your accident and does not believe that they can prove that another party was responsible, they may turn down your case.
A lawyer might also determine that your case would take too long to pursue. This is especially true if the case is highly complex.
Whether an attorney decides to represent you will depend heavily on the specific circumstances of your accident or injury. However, keep in mind that you can always get a second opinion from another attorney.
The Injuries Are Not Severe
When someone has sustained very minor injuries, a tort claim may not be appropriate. Many injury victims feel that they deserve compensation no matter the circumstances.
While this is understandable, it can be nearly impossible to pursue financial recovery for negligible injuries.
Personal injury attorneys use the victim’s damages to estimate the expected financial recovery in a case. The more severe a person’s injuries or financial damage are, the more a particular claim will likely be worth. Minimal injuries often translate to a very small amount of compensation.
Because attorneys are paid through contingency fees, the return on cases involving minor injuries is often too small for the work required. If this is the case, the lawyer will likely refuse to accept your case.
Statute of Limitations Prevents Filing a Lawsuit
The “statute of limitations” is the name for a legal time limit. Personal injury cases are subject to these limits.
If your accident occurred too long ago, you will not be able to successfully pursue a civil lawsuit. Specifically, injury cases involving the concept of “negligence” are subject to statutory deadlines.
Negligence cases include:
- Car accidents
- Dog bite cases
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice cases
- And more
Under Georgia state law, personal injury victims are required to pursue a claim within two years of their accident. If an attorney sees that you were injured over two years ago, they will probably decline your case.
Even if the statute of limitations has not passed, they may decide that it would take too long to pursue settlement negotiations before filing a lawsuit. That is why it is so important to speak with a legal professional as soon as possible after you have been injured.
Consulting with an attorney is important, regardless of when your injury took place. Some cases involve unique factors that can alter the statute of limitations.
The Defendant Lacks Money
Even if you have a very strong case, the defendant will need to have access to money that can be used to pay for your damages. If the defendant has no resources to compensate your attorney, a lawyer may decide that your case is not worth the investment.
Suppose that you were hit by a motorcycle while walking. You sustained several fractured bones and incurred sky-high medical bills. If you pursue a legal claim, a court might rule in your favor.
Following a positive verdict, suppose that the motorcyclist owed you $100,000 in damages. A positive verdict does not automatically result in payment. If the defendant’s assets are insufficient to pay your judgment, you will be unable to collect the damages that you are owed.
In many personal injury cases, the plaintiff recovers money from the liable party’s insurance provider. But some cases involve defendants who are uninsured or underinsured, which can make it more difficult to obtain the compensation that you deserve for your injuries or property damage.
If this is the case in your claim, an attorney may decide that the case is not worth the investment. Personal injury firms often select cases where the defendant is sure to have adequate assets.
Contact the Skilled Team at Hawk Law Group
The compassionate lawyers at our firm have decades of experience securing successful verdicts and settlements for our clients. Whether you need a second opinion on a case that’s been turned down or you simply want top-quality legal representation in Georgia, reach out to the skilled team at Hawk Law Group.