Sometimes, personal injury attorneys have to turn down cases. That may happen for a series of reasons, many of which may not be easy to explain.
In this article, we attempt to focus on five common factors attorneys will take into consideration. If an attorney turned your case down, then perhaps it may be due to one of these reasons. But if you’re considering looking for an attorney to represent you, this list might be particularly helpful.
1- The Statute of Limitations Has Expired
In the state of Washington, victims should remember that there are statutes of limitations. That means you have a time frame to take legal action. If you are the victim of an accident and you want to take action, you must do so within three years. While certain cases allow for action outside the given time frame, most cases do not.
2- Personal Injury Might Be Soft Tissue Or Not Serious Enough
Personal injury attorneys look for damages so they may better understand how long the victim will take to recover and how much medical attention they will need. And since injuries are important factors in any personal injury case, you are not likely to expect any monetary compensation if injuries were superficial, minimal, or inexistent.
Attorneys will also turn down cases whose deposition costs exceed the expected return. In this case, no personal injury in their right mind would take the case, as they would go out of business.
3- If The Victim Is To Blame For The Accident
Some accidents are serious, but if the other party is not to blame, the victim may not have a case. For instance, if the victim must yield the right-of-way but fails to do so and crashes, it doesn’t matter that the victim’s car was badly damaged because he or she is also at fault.
4- If The Accident Victim Is “Shopping Around” For Attorneys
An attorney may turn you down if it sounds like you’re just shopping around. That means that you talked to too many lawyers because you’re looking for a feedback that you like.
While it’s important to find an attorney who will work well with you, many victims end up trying to find an attorney who will promise them a goldmine. It’s nearly impossible for a serious attorney to give a client a correct case value estimate. But if the potential client insists, the attorney may turn them down solely because they don’t want to deal with their expectations.
In addition, if another law firm dropped your case and you’re looking for a new attorney, the lawyer you’re contacting may think twice before taking you in.
5- The Costs Of Pursuing A Case Exceed The Potential Gains
For a personal injury attorney working on a contingency fee basis, clients only pay legal fees once the attorney wins their case. But some cases are more expensive than others.
Before an attorney can say yes, he or she must look at how much time they will spend on the case, how much money will cost them to develop the case, and then how much they believe they could recover the client. If the effort is “worth it” then the answer will be yes. Of course that, depending on the size of the firm, attorneys will have more cash flow to work on cases that might be more complicated. However, they still must factor all these costs before accepting a new client.
In some cases, injuries are so serious and cost of treatment is so high that the hospital obligations may exceed how much is available through insurance. Attorneys must make difficult decisions in these cases, and clients will sometimes not like what they hear. However, it’s important for them to understand that not all accidents are good personal injury cases.