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Finding the right lawyer after an injury can feel overwhelming. While you know you deserve compensation, lawyers aren’t always able to take every case. Here’s a deep dive into some common reasons for personal injury lawyer case rejection

1. Unclear Liability

Lawsuits are all about proving fault. In a personal injury case, your lawyer needs to demonstrate that the other party’s negligence caused your injury. This can be straightforward in situations like car accidents with clear evidence of fault. 

However, things get trickier when the cause of the injury is less evident. Imagine a slip and fall in a grocery store. Did you trip on a spilled liquid the store negligently failed to clean up? Or did a faulty sandal cause you to lose your footing? If there are no witnesses or security camera footage, proving the store’s liability becomes difficult. 

This lack of clear-cut fault can make lawyers hesitant to take the case, especially since they often work on contingency fees, meaning they only get paid if you win. Without a strong chance of proving negligence, the case becomes a financial risk for the lawyer.

2. Limited Damages

Lawyers are businesspeople as well as legal advocates. They typically operate on a cost-benefit analysis when deciding whether to take a case. This means they consider the potential payout you could receive compared to the time and resources they’d need to invest in your case. 

If your injuries are minor, like a few sore muscles after a fender bender, and the anticipated medical bills are low, the potential compensation might not justify the lawyer’s time and effort. In such cases, the lawyer might recommend alternative solutions, such as negotiating directly with your insurance company for a settlement.

3. Time Limits

Each state has a deadline (statute of limitations) for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Missing this deadline can have serious consequences. If you wait too long to pursue legal action, you might be forever barred from seeking compensation for your injuries. 

The time limit can vary depending on the nature of the injury and the state you’re in. Some states have a one-year window, while others allow for two or even three years. The key takeaway? Don’t delay! Get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury to ensure you don’t miss the critical filing window.

4. Shared Responsibility

Even if someone else caused the accident, your own actions can affect your personal injury case. This is known as comparative fault. Imagine you’re speeding on a wet road and rear-end another car stopped at a red light. 

While the other driver was clearly stopped, your speeding might be considered a contributing factor to the accident. In such cases, the jury or the insurance company might assign a percentage of fault to you. 

This can significantly reduce the amount of compensation you receive. For instance, if you’re found 20% at fault, your total compensation might be reduced by 20%. 

Lawyers are wary of taking cases where the client shares a high degree of fault, as it weakens the case and reduces the potential payout.

5. Missing Proof

Case evaluation criteria hinges on solid evidence. This can include medical records documenting your injuries, police reports detailing the accident scene, witness statements corroborating your story, and even photographs of the damage or your injuries. 

Without this evidence, it’s hard to prove what happened, who’s to blame, and the extent of your injuries. Imagine a slip and fall accident at a friend’s house. 

If you didn’t seek medical attention right away and there were no witnesses, proving the severity of your injuries becomes an uphill battle. The lack of evidence can make a lawyer hesitant to take your case, as it significantly reduces the chance of success.

6.  Conflicting Priorities

Lawyers, like most professionals, juggle multiple clients and cases at any given time. If a lawyer already has a heavy workload with cases with legal complications and demanding a lot of time and attention, they might be unable to take on your case, even if it seems promising. 

They might prioritize cases with a higher likelihood of a larger payout, as these can generate more income for their firm. This doesn’t necessarily mean your case lacks merit, but it highlights the importance of finding a lawyer who has the bandwidth to dedicate sufficient time and resources to your specific needs.

7.  When Taking a Case Feels Wrong

Lawyers are bound by a code of ethics that ensures they uphold the integrity of the legal system. This means they can’t take cases they believe lack merit or have a high chance of being frivolous lawsuits. Imagine a situation where you claim injuries from a minor bump in a grocery store parking lot. The lawyer might be skeptical of the extent of your injuries and believe the case is more about seeking a quick payout than genuine damages. 

Additionally, if the lawyer suspects you’re exaggerating your injuries or tampering with evidence, they are ethically obligated to decline representation. This protects both the lawyer’s reputation and the fairness of the legal system.

8. Your Financial Resources

Winning a lawsuit is only half the battle. You also need to be able to collect the compensation awarded by the court. If the party responsible for your injury has no money or assets, a judgment against them might be a hollow victory. 

Lawyers won’t take cases where fee arrangements seem unlikely. For instance, if you’re injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver with no significant assets, the lawyer might advise you to pursue an underinsured motorist claim through your own insurance company. 

9. Your Expectations

Having a clear understanding of your case and realistic expectations about the potential outcome is crucial. Lawyers typically can’t guarantee a specific amount of compensation, as several factors influence settlements and court awards. If you go into the process with unrealistic expectations of a massive payout, it can create friction with your lawyer. 

A lawyer might be hesitant to take on a client who seems overly focused on a specific dollar amount, especially if that number is far out of line with the realities of the case. Open communication and realistic expectations are key to a successful lawyer-client relationship.

10. Geographical Constraints

Lawyers are licensed to practice law in specific jurisdictions, typically the state where they passed the bar exam. If your injury happened outside the area where the lawyer is licensed, they might decline your case, even if they specialize in personal injury law. 

Additionally, even if the lawyer is licensed in the right state, they might be unfamiliar with the local laws and court procedures specific to your area. This lack of familiarity can put them at a disadvantage when representing you in court. In such cases, the lawyer might recommend you seek out a lawyer who practices in the specific jurisdiction where your case will be heard.

Final Thoughts

While there are many reasons why a lawyer might decline your personal injury case, it shouldn’t discourage you from seeking legal representation. Understanding these reasons can help you better prepare your case and find a lawyer who is a good fit for your specific situation.

 

About the Author

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Husain Law Firm

Nomaan K. Husain is the founder of Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C., a Houston-based law firm specializing in Litigation, Immigration, and Aviation. He is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law, with law licenses in Texas, New York, and other jurisdictions. Mr. Husain serves in key community roles, including as Commissioner on President Biden's White House Commission on Fellowships and Chairman of Houston's Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Board. He's been recognized with several awards, such as the Global Leader Award from the Houston World Affairs Council.

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