Why Would a Personal Injury Attorney Deny An Injury Case?
If your expectations of a personal injury claim were up to the few cases that make it onto the major media circuits, you probably believe that every time someone stubs their toe, they fall into a litigation gold mine. You may also get the impression that talented personal injury attorneys will be waiting behind the police or ambulance ready to grab your case. Unfortunately, neither of these beliefs is being true.
In reality, only a small percentage of the thousands of injuries suffered across Texas each year is worth pursuing as a legal claim, even fewer merit a formal lawsuit. This means you should come to a consultation with your lawyer ready for an honest assessment.
A personal injury attorney has to be selective in the cases they accept for a variety of reasons. They must examine each case brought to them and decide if you have a fighting chance, there are times they may deny an injury case. If fault for an accident is not clear, gathering evidence to prove fault will be hard or impossible, an attorney may decide to decline your case.
To offer you some insight, here are a few of the lesser known reasons why a personal injury lawyer might refuse a case.
Was Your Injury Caused by Negligent Actions of an Party?
Getting hurt on someone else’s property or a business’s premises doesn’t automatically qualify you to file a case. In order to qualify for damages, you have to show that your injury resulted from the negligence or intentional behavior of some other entity, either a person or a company.
If you were walking distractedly through the mall looking at your cell phone and fell down an escalator, it would be hard to prove negligence against the mall’s property management company. Many attorneys would pass on this case simply because it’s easy to prove you are at fault. Of course, there may be extenuating circumstances, but in general, an attorney would probably turn down your case.
In short, if you can’t prove fault you don’t have a case.
Insufficient Damages or Insurance Coverage
Pursuing a personal injury case requires allocating resources, such as clerical costs, deposition fees, professional analysis and testimony, filing fees and documentation fees. If your case isn’t viable, your attorney has to shoulder these costs with little hope of a settlement.
To be blunt, if there aren’t sufficient recoverable damages or the at-fault party doesn’t have the resources or insurance coverage to pay, then a lawyer may pass on the case.
Red Flags for Attorneys in Personal Injury Cases
Any good attorney will expect you to do a little shopping around for the right lawyer to handle your case. However, if they sense that you have talked to dozens of attorneys looking for the biggest guaranteed settlement, then they might be reluctant to take your case. By the same token, if they feel you have an exaggerated expectation of what your claim is worth, they might not want to become involved.