Sometimes when a person who has had a personal injury contacts an attorney, the attorney ends up not taking the case.
Many times people might think that they have a valid case, but cannot find an attorney to accept it. There can be a myriad of reasons why an attorney might not take your injury case, and we will look at some of the main reasons for that.
First of all, the way the accident occurred makes a big difference. One of the first things that an attorney will take into account is how the accident actually took place. Because there must be a party to hold financially accountable, there has to be a breach of legal duty that caused the injury.
It may not be enough that an accident happen at a certain place, on someone’s property, etc. The severity of the injury may not even matter. Various states have different laws, and in some states, for example, school districts and government entities are exempt from personal injury claims.
It is up to each individual attorney to look at a case and judge the whether there was legal responsibility and to also gauge the likelihood that a settlement will be reached. If those two things are questionable, it is very unlikely that an attorney will accept the case.
Another reason why an attorney may choose not to accept a case is simply because the injury in question is not very serious. For example, just the fact that a person ‘could have been killed’ is generally not enough to warrant an attorney taking a case.
Personal injury attorneys have to prove damages in order to get compensation and the fact that a person ‘could’ have been damaged or lost their life does not qualify. Speculation is not part of personal injury lawsuits. How bad the injury truly was is usually the most important factor. Further more, even if you sustained injuries, if the injuries were fairly minor, then there may not exist the possibility for much, if any monetary compensation.
This makes the case not worth the time and trouble for the attorney, and probably not worth the time and trouble for the client either. This is many times because the cost of developing the testimony to prove your injuries needs to be factored in and it can be extensive and expensive. There has to be a reasonable amount of monetary compensation at the end of the road to make it worthwhile for all parties involved.
Speaking of monetary compensation, the economic reality of the situation must be taken into account. Many attorneys will accept cases on a contingency basis. This means that they have to take a wide variety of factors into account, which includes the amount of time that the attorney and their staff will have to spend on the case.
Sometimes the out of pocket expenses to develop the case and take it to trial, simply exceed the expected fee that may be the outcome of the case. While there may be an injury involved, and there may be financial compensation to go along with it, it may not be enough to make economical sense for the attorney to handle the case.
Strictly speaking, Defense attorneys require an hourly rate and most of the time a client must pay upfront most, if not all, of the fees associated with the case. In order for an attorney to take a case on a contingency basis, the eventual fees must be much higher than the fees that they would normally get by defending a client.
In other words,
“the more time and effort the attorney is willing to risk for a client on a contingency basis, the greater the reward needs to be.”
Sometimes that reward just does not exist in certain cases.
Another reason an attorney might turn down a case is because the potential client indicates that they have spoken to a large amount of lawyers. Of course it is important that a person selects the correct attorney for their individual needs and their individual case. However, many cases are turned down because the potential client seems to be hunting for an attorney based on the value of the case. The problem exists in these instances because it is virtually impossible for an attorney to give a client a value before they have delved into all the facts of the case.
This can include many facets, not the least of which is the insurance coverage involved in a given case. Because of this, victims should be wary of attorneys that promise a certain level of compensation after the first consultation. There is no way to no anywhere close to 100% of the facts after one consultation and a financial evaluation cannot really be accurately made at that time.
Another factor might be if a person has been dropped or ‘released’ by another firm. This will almost always cause an attorney to think twice about taking on your case. This could be the result of a liability perspective or just an unreasonable expectation perspective.
It is safe to say if you have been dropped by another attorney or firm, it will be harder to get someone new to take up your cause, especially on a contingency basis.
For a free consultation of your situation, get in touch with Mark Hilario today.