There are a few situations in which a personal injury attorney may not accept your case. Many lawyers offer potential clients a complimentary case evaluation or free consultation to get a better idea of the legal issue at hand and it’s during that initial consultation where a lawyer will decide whether or not to take on the case. This decision usually has nothing to do with liking the potential client. It’s not personal. The attorney just doesn’t feel it is the right fit.
A trustworthy personal injury lawyer should be in the business of practicing law for the people, not the profit. While having an established law firm with many successful cases is what every lawyer strives for over the course of their career, financial reward should never come before client. Brad says, “We only take selected cases that we believe in. We are not interested in taking every injury or insurance case that comes our way simply to settle as fast as possible. We are clear and upfront with you from the start as to the likelihood of success. If we take your case, we are committed. Being selective in the cases we accept allows us to focus on your case and provide the type of legal representation that we would want for our own families.”
Here are the five most common reasons why a personal injury attorney may not accept your case:
- Your Case Isn’t Strong Enough
If a lawyer doesn’t see enough evidence to establish liability, then the case might not be worth their while. The attorney may also determine that the facts of the case are clearly not in your favor. If it looks as though you are fully at fault—or nearly fully at fault—for an accident, a lawyer might not take your case. Brad says, “In instances where someone failed to follow the instruction of medical professionals after an injury caused by an accident, an attorney may refuse their case because they know how the jury will perceive that.”
- There’s a Conflict of Interest
In some situations, conflicts of interest can arise from a lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a client from the past, or a third person. There are specific ways in which conflict of interest situations are handled. If a conflict of interest exists prior to representation beginning, the lawyer must decline working for a client. Conflicts of interest can be related to personal matters or business issues.
- The Statute of Limitations Has Expired
Texas has filing limitations on personal injury actions. These deadlines are called statutes of limitations. Most personal injury claims have a two-year statute of limitations, including wrongful death claims, automobile accidents, medical malpractice, product liability claims, and premises liability claims. However, there are exceptions to statutes of limitations that could shorten or extend the statute of limitations. Therefore, it is always best to talk with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a personal injury or accident. A lawyer can’t accept your case if the statute of limitations expires because the person cannot pursue a legal claim for damages at that point.
- There isn’t Significant Damage or Financial Incentive
The extent of your injury directly correlates with the amount of money that can be recovered. The compensation a personal injury lawyer receives may depend on how big the financial damages rewarded are. They consider several factors when trying to determine how much money a certain party will receive. The financial reward may account for medical costs, pain, and distress as well as punitive damages. Keep in mind that planning and eventually pursuing a case does not come cheap for legal professionals. They could spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the ball rolling on a particular case. If they don’t win, they lose valuable time and money that they can’t get back.
- It’s Not the Attorney’s Specialty
Within every area of law, there are many specializations. For instance, an attorney listed as a personal injury lawyer might focus mainly on automobile or slip and fall accidents. When an attorney says that he or she doesn’t have the expertise your case needs, take them at their word. Rather than arguing for them to accept your case, ask for a referral to someone with the correct specialty.
At Parker Law Firm, we speak to people every day who fall into one of these five categories — but we never turn them away without first hearing their story, listening to their facts, and doing our best to point them in the right direction to move forward if we are unable to help them. Even if you have a case that our firm won’t take, we still encourage you to give our office a call because we will provide you with resources and referrals to find another attorney who handles your type of claim and may be able to accept your case. Brad even wrote a book called, How Do I… Settle It Myself, for this exact reason. If you have any questions at all about your claim, give our office a call at 817-440-3888 or fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation.