Five Reasons Why a Personal Injury Lawyer Might Not Take Your Case
Ryan Zavodnick | September 24, 2019 | Personal Injury
Hiring a personal injury attorney can make a huge difference if you decide to file a lawsuit after you get into an accident. You’re much more likely to secure a meaningful financial payout with an experienced attorney on your side.
However, there might be times when an attorney won’t agree to take your case. Here are a few of the reasons why this might happen to you.
You Share Responsibility for Causing the Accident
In Pennsylvania, you might be able to recover compensation even if you’re partly to blame for an accident. However, under the state’s modified comparative fault rules, there’s a 51 percent bar to recovery. This means that you’re prohibited from getting money for yoru injuries if you’re primarily responsible for the accident that caused you to get hurt.
When you interview a personal injury lawyer, they’ll ask questions about the circumstances surrounding your accident.
Let’s say you got into a car accident in Philadelphia. Some of these questions a lawyer might ask could include:
- Were you speeding? If so, how fast were you going?
- Did you see the other car before the collision?
- Were your eyes on the road, or were you distracted by a phone, passenger, or the radio?
- Did you have anything to drink before you got behind the wheel?
- Were you wearing your seatbelt?
- Were all of the lights and signals on your car working at the time of the accident?
One of the reasons for these questions is to determine if you might potentially share fault for the crash. If the lawyer believes that you caused the accident, or that you’re more than 50 percent at fault, they might decline to take you on as a client.
Why? Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that they’re taking a risk on your case. They’re betting that you’ll win. If the attorney doesn’t recover compensation through a settlement or verdict, they don’t get paid. If it turns out that you’re allocated most of the blame for an accident, you’ll get nothing and your lawyer won’t get paid for working on your case.
The Lawyer Doesn’t Think The Amount of Work is Worth the Projected Recovery
Even if you are eligible to seek compensation after an accident, an attorney might decide that the amount of work that it would take to win your case isn’t worth the fee they’d recover. A personal injury lawyer working on a contingency basis will typically recover a set percentage of your financial award.
In order to determine if they want to take your case, an attorney might try to project what they believe (a) your case is worth and (b) how much money you’ll actually get. They might look at the extent of your injuries and the degree of fault you may share.
If, after crunching the numbers, the lawyer thinks you’ll only walk away with a small settlement, they might not want to take your case. Why? If you’re only awarded $5,000 and they get a small fraction of that, it might not make sense for them to spend time on your case.
Your Story Keeps Changing
There are a lot of reasons why attorneys offer free consultations. It’s not just an opportunity for clients to interview potential lawyers. It’s also an opportunity for attorneys to identify the strength of a potential case and assess a potential client.
Again, a lawyer will ask a lot of different questions. They might ask the same question but state it in different ways. One reason for this is to find discrepancies or changes in your story. If, during this initial consultation, an attorney thinks that you might be concealing important information or lying, they might think twice before taking your case.
Your personal injury lawyer will go above and beyond to get money that you need after an accident. They’ll put in long hours and do what it takes to make your case a success. You’ll need to be completely honest with them for that to happen. If you’re not clear about something or if you simply don’t remember, just be open and say that.
You Have a Case, But The Defendant Has No Money
There might be times when you have a legitimate open and shut case that’s worth a good deal of money. A lawyer would be crazy to turn that down, right? Well, just because your case is a slam dunk doesn’t mean that you’ll actually get a financial recovery. Why? There has to be a defendant who can afford to pay.
In many cases, insurance companies will be responsible for covering the costs of an accident. However, there might be times when you’re injured in an accident with someone who’s uninsured. In these situations, you’d have to seek compensation from the at-fault party directly. If that person didn’t have insurance, they might not have the means to cover your damages.
As a result, an attorney might decline to take your case if they don’t think that you’ll be able to secure a financial payout.
You Waited Too Long to Seek Legal Advice
When you get hurt in Pennsylvania, you only have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit. Generally speaking, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date you get hurt.
However, you might actually have less time, depending on the circumstances of your accident. If you wait too long to file a claim for damages, you’ll lose the right to recover any money, at all.
An attorney might decline to take your case because the statute of limitations applicable to your case has expired. In reality, this means that you don’t have a valid case anymore, at all. That’s why it’s critical to seek legal advice as soon as you can after an accident.