If you have decided to enlist the expertise of a personal injury attorney and gone through the process of selecting the best one to represent you, you may be stunned if they reject your case. You may ask yourself, “Why don’t they want my business?” or “What now? Will any attorney take my case?”
Don’t take it personally if a personal injury attorney declines your case. There are a number of factors that could influence their decision, and many of them have very little to do with you as a person.
Here’s a look at some of the reasons that attorneys might turn your case down:
- Too few damages. The person filing the case (plaintiff) seeks compensation for damages that they have suffered. These may include lost wages, lost earning potential (due to injuries that compromise one’s ability to work), medical bills, property damages, and, in some cases, pain and suffering. The final settlement will potentially be shared by three parties: the plaintiff, the attorney, and medical providers. Attorneys need to feel comfortable that they will be able to get a fair settlement that can cover their own expenses while also ensuring reasonable compensation for the client and healthcare providers (if applicable).
- Plaintiff negligence or lack of defendant liability. If you (the plaintiff) were negligent in a case, you might only be eligible for a small award. For example, if you stopped your car needlessly in the middle of the road and then were rear-ended by a texting motorist, you would both have fault in the accident, and your compensation could be significantly limited. In addition, if an attorney knows that he or she will have trouble proving that a defendant is liable, or at fault, for your injuries, they may not wish to take the gamble of accepting your case. This situation may arise in cases where there is no police report (or other documentation) or witness reports that specifically cite the other party as liable.
- Too costly. Your attorney’s job is to present your case in a way that gets you the maximum benefits. They research, gather documents to serve as evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies to reach a fair settlement. If a settlement can’t be reached, your case may have to go to trial, and your attorney will need to take depositions, prepare documents for discovery, prepare exhibits, and hire medical experts. If an attorney feels that your case will burn through more assets than it will bring in, they may have to decline it.
- Unfamiliar. If there is something unusual about your case that your attorney hasn’t dealt with before, they may turn you away or refer you to another attorney because they think it will take too long to get up to speed on the particulars of your case.
- Too late to file. In Las Vegas, you have two years to bring a personal injury lawsuit. If you don’t file your claim within this timeframe, the statute of limitations will expire, and you will be left without recourse. Even if you have a very compelling case, if an attorney can see that you have waited for too long to file, they will turn you away rather than fighting a losing battle.
- Conflict of interest. Lawyers must adhere to a high ethical standard in order to remain in good standing with licensing organizations. Thus, if they have a moral conflict with your case or if they have previously represented the opposing party, they may reject your case.
- Lack of coverage. In order to file a claim, there has to be some sort of coverage available. Usually, this will come from the insurance of the person who was responsible for the accident. In the event that this person didn’t have coverage or only had minimal coverage, it will need to come from the client’s own uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance. Without coverage available, there is no case.
If you are turned away by a personal injury attorney, make sure to ask why. Some reasons, such as filing after the statute of limitations expires, cannot be overcome by any attorney, but other reasons are subjective. Another attorney may see your case from a different vantage point or have the resources to take your case on, even though it may be costly. Don’t get discouraged, and seek out second and third opinions from reputable accident attorneys in Las Vegas.