Brian White | December 22, 2020 | Personal Injury
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may believe you’re entitled to money to cover the cost of physical, financial, or emotional damages. Oftentimes, you’d be right—but not always.
There are several factors that affect an injured person’s eligibility for financial compensation, and it’s very possible that some part of your situation will prevent you from receiving a substantial payout.
If you believe you have a personal injury case on your hands but can’t find anyone willing to represent you, there’s probably good rationale behind it.
Here are five common reasons why an injury attorney may decline to take a case:
1. It’s Difficult to Prove Liability
Simply getting injured isn’t enough to warrant financial compensation. There would only be a case if someone else’s negligence caused your injury. A personal injury lawyer must consider who is at fault before accepting a client because that will determine the ultimate success and payoff of the case.
If an attorney finds that the person who has been injured shares a great deal of the blame for the incident, they’ll know right away that it’s going to be a dead end. That’s because Texas’ modified comparative fault rule states that if you’re found to be 51% or more responsible for the injuries you sustained, you’re barred from seeking compensation for damages.
Even if you strongly feel that you weren’t at fault for your injuries, an attorney has to prove that. If they suspect it will be difficult to prove another party liable, they may decline to take the case to avoid the risk of wasting time and resources.
The extent to which you’re deemed liable also determines the amount of compensation you’d receive. If the accident was very clearly someone else’s fault, you’ll recover more money than if you’re at least partly to blame. The grayer the area, the harder it will be to lock in an attorney.
2. It’s Too Late to Make a Case
There’s a statute of limitations when it comes to personal injury cases. In the state of Texas, you typically have two years from the date of a personal injury to bring a claim. It doesn’t matter if you slipped and fell, got into a car accident, were a victim of medical malpractice, or were struck by a vehicle—no matter the injury, the window to seek compensation for damages grows narrower with each day. After the statute of limitations expires, the accident is considered a thing of the past. Even the most willing lawyer won’t be able to help.
Even though two years is the legal window to sue a liable party, you should get things in order much sooner. Finding an attorney should be one of the first things you do after getting medical treatment for an injury. They will not only prevent you from saying something you shouldn’t and harming your chances of collecting damages, but they’ll help you stay organized.
You will need to provide all sorts of information about the accident in order to develop a case, and if you let too much time pass, you may forget important details or misplace vital evidence.
3. The Injury Is Too Minor
The goal of a personal injury case is to recover money equivalent to the damages caused in an accident. Because of that, the extent of your injury directly correlates with the amount of money that can be recovered.
It’s worth noting that damages aren’t only physical. You can seek compensation for emotional damages and other financial burdens associated with an accident, too, but even those are likely to correlate with the severity of your injury.
Say you get in a minor fender bender: You’re likely to require minimal medical attention, carry minimal emotional distress, and have minimal car repair costs. In return, you’ll have a minimal payoff.
Personal injury lawyers want to make sure the profit is worth the amount of work they’ll be asked to do. A person with minor injuries is unlikely to warrant a major return.
4. There’s Not Enough to Gain, or Too Much to Lose
Minor injuries are only one reason why taking on a case may be financially irresponsible for a personal injury lawyer. The harsh economic reality is that attorneys can’t afford to spend time on a weak or unprofitable case when they could be devoting that time to a solid or profitable case.
On top of evaluating the extremity of your damages, the attorney must consider the amount of time the case will require, the likeliness that they will succeed at securing a return, and the additional costs that come with gathering evidence, like deposing witnesses to get their testimony. If any of these factors point to the deal being a money-loser instead of a money-maker, the attorney probably won’t want to move forward with it.
Understand that personal injury lawyers are generally paid through contingency fees, meaning their payment is contingent on them successfully doing their job. In other words, they only get paid if you get paid. That being said, there’s a lot to lose if an attorney takes on a case that’s not guaranteed a financial return because their labor would potentially go unrewarded.
5. The Client & Attorney Aren’t a Good Match
Even if you approach a personal injury lawyer who’s experienced with cases like yours, there’s a possibility that they aren’t the right fit for you. After an initial consultation, the attorney may decline to take the case out of concern that the two of you wouldn’t work well together.
In an instance like this, the decision might have nothing to do with the facts of the situation or the potential payoff of the case—it’s because attorneys know that good rapport is key to a smooth lawsuit. Remember that this is in your best interest, too. You’re going to want an attorney that’s on the same page and enthusiastic about helping you recover the money you deserve.