Although injury attorneys want to see every injury victim get their fair compensation, no attorney can take literally every case that comes to them. The following are some of the reasons a personal injury lawyer might decline your case.
In a personal injury case, the damages are the compensation you seek from the defendant. The compensation is meant to put you back to your pre-injury status, or as near to it as possible. Examples of damages are medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among others.
Lawyers typically handle personal injury cases on a contingency basis. This means the lawyer handles the case without initial monetary input from you. If you win, the lawyer takes their cut (fees plus expenses), and you get the rest. The lawyer doesn't make any money if you lose. The contingency practice means a lawyer will only take up a case that they believe has adequate damages to cover the legal fees, case expenses, and have something remaining for the victim.
Difficulty Proving Liability
For you to win a personal injury case, you must prove that the person you have sued is legally required to compensate you for your injuries. The manner in which you can prove this depends on the legal theory that makes the defendant liable for your damages. For example, if you want to pursue your damages under the legal concept of negligence, then you must prove that:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached this duty
- The breach was the cause of your injury
- You suffered actual damages
Failure to prove even one of these things means the defendant doesn't have to pay you anything. A lawyer who foresees insurmountable difficulties with proving liability is unlikely to take the case.
Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest arises if the lawyer is unable to represent you to their full ability because doing so would harm another client or harm the lawyer's personal interest. For example, it would be a conflict of interest for a personal injury lawyer to represent both the driver who caused an accident and the victim of the accident. Another example is if a lawyer represents you in a case against their child. Any lawyer who suspects a conflict of interest if they take your case will decline the case.
The reason for the decline will help you determine your next move. Most lawyers will refer you to another lawyer if you have a viable case that they can't handle, for example, due to conflict of interest.
For more information, reach out to a firm like Kilgore Smith LLC.