Reasons Why an Accident Attorney Won’t Take Your Case
An accident attorney will always confirm whether a client is a suitable fit or not prior to signing a case. Here are some of the most common reasons why an accident attorney may not take your case:
- The case is not viable: An accident attorney will not take a case if the case is a bad investment, or the potential payout is too low. The accident attorney will typically consider the expenses involved with the case as well. It does not make sense for an attorney to spend time on a case if the expenses of a potential case are high with minimal payout. For example, a car accident case will cost a minimum of $5,000 upfront, and attorneys only get a percentage of the settlement, so if the case is not high value enough, the attorney will not recoup the investment.
- Minor Injuries: A major reason for turning down a case is because the plaintiff only suffered minor injuries. The more serious the injuries, the higher the value of the damages. Even if there is a clear case of negligence, an attorney will not be prepared to invest the money in the plaintiff’s case if he/she is not guaranteed a return.
- Liability is at issue: An accident attorney may not take a case if the plaintiff is placed at fault or if liability is disputed. Even if the case is high value because of the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries, if it is difficult to prove fault, the plaintiff is unlikely to have a case at all. This is because the requirement of a personal injury lawsuit is to prove that plaintiff’s damages were caused by the negligence of another person.
- Statute of Limitations: If the statute of limitations has already passed on the case, then the plaintiff has forfeited his/her right and will not be able to file a lawsuit at all. The statute of limitations is two years in California, so the plaintiff/attorney must act fast to file a lawsuit. No matter the excuse for the plaintiff’s inability to file the lawsuit within the statute of limitations, the plaintiff’s case will not be considered.
- Defendant is uninsured or does not have any money to go after: Even if a case looks strong, if the defendant does not have the money to pay for legal compensation, then an attorney may not think it is worth the investment. This can be a difficult one because even a judgment from the court does not automatically mean the plaintiff gets paid. The court does not do anything to enforce the judgment; it is just a piece of paper. If a defendant’s money and assets do not amount to the amount of the judgment, then the plaintiff will not be able to collect the judgment. In most cases, plaintiff would collect the judgment from the defendant’s insurance company, but if the defendant does not have any insurance and no assets, then the case is a bad investment for an attorney.
- The plaintiff failed to follow the doctor’s orders: The at-fault party is typically responsible for paying the plaintiff’s damages. In other words, negligent people are responsible for the damage their actions cause. That doesn’t mean the plaintiff is completely without responsibility. A plaintiff has a legal duty to mitigate his/her injuries. That means the plaintiff must see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. The plaintiff must also follow the doctor’s orders to prevent his/her injuries from getting worse. Insurance companies don’t simply hand over compensation. They’ll conduct their own investigation and challenge the plaintiff’s right to compensation based on the plaintiff’s failure to prevent the injuries from getting worse. That’s a lot of risk for an attorney to take on and some might shy away from plaintiff’s case because of it.
- Conflict of Interest: Attorneys in California are subject to a strict code of ethics. One important rule requires them to avoid conflicts of interest. If representing a client would result in a conflict with the interests of another client, the attorney must refuse the case.
Consult with an Experienced Attorney Today
As always, it is best to consult with an attorney to see if you have a case or not. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, our team of attorneys can effectively evaluate your case, asses your losses, and point you in the right direction. Contact our firm at (888) 529-3111 for further assistance.
Remember, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim under California Law. Do not waste time, your victory starts here!