Reasons Why an Injury Lawyer Will Not Take Your Case
People often wonder why injury attorneys will not accept their case. After someone has been injured they may believe they have a case but cannot find an attorney who will accept the case. In order to help you understand why, we list below some of the things that may be helpful for your consideration.
How the Accident Occurred
One of the earliest considerations by a personal injury attorney is how the accident actually happened. In order to hold someone financially accountable, they had to breach a legal duty or in layman’s terms do something wrong that caused the injury. It is not enough that the injury happened on a premises or that the injuries are severe.
An example would be that in a car accident you were supposed to yield the right-of-way but the other driver impacted your vehicle.
In order to have a viable personal injury claim the injured person must be able to prove that the other party was at fault. If you may have been partly at fault, an attorney may decline your case because the monetary award will be reduced or eliminated depending on the extent of your fault.
In short, a personal injury attorney will analyze whether legal responsibility can be established and gauge the likelihood of success.
The Injury is Not Serious Enough
Attorneys hear all the time “I could have been killed”, that is not an element of legal damages.
Another saying that is a red flag to an attorney is “it’s a matter of principle”. Generally, that type of claim does not put any butter on the bread for the lawyer.
Personal injury attorneys are looking for damages as a gauge of the expected recovery for handling a case. Speculative damages whether financial or injury do not really help you obtain an attorney.
In personal injury cases, how bad you are hurt is the most important factor in a case. If your injuries are minor, an attorney may pass on your case because the expected monetary compensation will likewise be minimal.
Additionally, the cost of developing the testimony to prove up your injuries has to be factored into the analysis of the attorney. If the cost of the expected depositions exceeds the expected return on the case, an attorney most likely will not accept the case.
The Economic Reality of Pursuing the Case
Personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency fee basis. This requires the lawyer to make a business judgment on each case they agree to handle.
Factored into that business judgment is such things as, the amount of time that the attorney expects to spend on the case, the cost out of pocket for the attorney to develop the case and the expected fee.
The attorney must consider whether the time effort and money are “worth it” for the attorney to handle. The more experienced and successful the attorney the higher that number becomes.
To put this in perspective, defense attorneys are paid by an hourly rate for each minute they spend on a matter. The client also must pay upfront all of the case expenses and the defense attorney gets paid whether they win or lose the case.
Another situation that proves difficult is when the personal injury victim has substantial injuries and also huge hospital obligations for the treatment. This can come into play when the available insurance to cover the damages is insufficient and the hospital would receive the first money out of a case.
In short, attorneys who handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis must be business people and accept or decline cases after considering how much time and money they must expend to move the case forward balanced against the fee that they expect to receive should they be successful and the risks in the case.