When you have been injured in a Texas auto accident and need to hire a personal injury lawyer, you may be surprised and disappointed to find that sometimes a personal injury lawyer will not take your case. It is even worse when one or more lawyers decline to take your case but offer no explanation as to why.
There are several different reasons why a lawyer may turn down a case. Sometimes it is as simple as having too many clients and not enough time. The fact that one lawyer turned down your case does not mean you do not have a good claim. It is possible that you may have to consult with a few different lawyers until you find one that is a good fit for your situation. In searching for another attorney, it may also help to know some of the most common reasons why a Texas personal injury lawyer may decline to take your case.
1) Your Case is Very Complex
In most cases, when a personal injury lawyer agrees to represent a client, the attorney is paid on what is called a contingency fee. This means the lawyer does not receive payment unless they are successful with your case. This puts a lot of risk on the attorney which requires the attorney to be confident they are going to be compensated for the time they are putting into a case.
The more complex a personal injury case is, the more time and effort the lawyer has to spend putting together a case. He or she will also have to invest money out of pocket for court costs and other necessary expenses for your case to be successful. The lawyer will need to weigh the potential for recovering this investment of time and money, particularly if reimbursement is likely to take several months or even years. After considering all aspects of your case, a lawyer may decide to avoid taking the risk or investing the necessary time. This does not mean, however, that you do not have a case, but rather is a business decision made by the attorney.
2) Liability Will Be the Primary Battle
In order to win a personal injury case, the lawyer must prove that the liability for the accident falls primarily on the other party. There are times when a person is injured, but their injuries were not actually caused by the negligence of another party or they were partially responsible for the accident. If the lawyer must put a heavier than normal focus in order to prove liability, that is less focus that goes towards your injuries. This will affect the amount of money recovered either by a settlement or at trial.
In Texas, your contribution or level of fault for the accident needs to be less than 50%. If your level of responsibility for the accident is found to be 50% or more, you will not be able to recover damages. Further, for every percentage point a jury finds you to be at fault, that percentage is deducted from the total recoverable amount. If liability is not reasonably clear and gathering evidence to prove liability will be difficult or not likely to be found at a high percentage, the lawyer may choose to decline your case.
3) Your Injuries Are Not Severe
Every person’s injuries suffered in a car wreck will have a negative impact on that person’s life. However, high settlement amounts are typically rewarded when a victim’s injuries are both very severe and life-altering. While your injuries impact your quality of life, a jury may not be willing to compensate you for injuries which the jury views as not being objectively severe enough. If a lawyer feels your injuries would not appear severe in the eyes of others, he or she may not want to take your case. A lawyer has to weigh the costs of developing a testimony with the expected return on the case. If the costs exceed the expected return on the case, a lawyer will most likely decline your case.
4) Distance is a Consideration
If you have an accident but you actually live in a different state, this creates a complication that may make a lawyer hesitant to take your case. If a client or a defendant has to be flown back and forth, or if the lawyer has to fly back and forth for a deposition, there is a significant increase in expenses. Distance is a factor which may make your case unattractive to particular attorneys.
5) Your Medical Records Tell a Different Story
At times there may be disagreement between lawyers and potential clients. Rapport may be hard to establish, and this is especially true if a potential client’s medical records do not match up to the facts given to the lawyer.
You may also give the impression that your injuries are not severe if there are large delays or gaps in your medical care, or if you did not follow the instructions given to you by your doctors. If you seem to be dishonest about the severity of your injuries or the facts in your medical history, it will damage the prospects of recovering a successful claim. If a lawyer thinks certain details are being omitted or distorted, he or she may choose to turn down your case. If you cannot convince a lawyer about your injuries, the lawyer will not be able to do their job in convincing a jury.
6) The Lawyer Has a Different Area of Expertise
Personal injury lawyers do not necessarily practice every aspect of personal injury law. Some specialize in medical malpractice while others specialize in road accidents and injuries caused by a premises defect. A personal injury lawyer whose area of expertise is not related to your situation may not want to take your case. In the long run, you will be better off with a lawyer who has successfully represented clients whose cases were similar to yours.
7) Conflict of Interest
Sometimes a lawyer turns down your case for reasons that have very little to do with you. One example of this would be a conflict of interest. For example, the lawyer may have already agreed to represent someone else involved in the accident. In other cases, he or she could be related to or personally know the other driver. In either of these situations, the lawyer will not be able to provide the level of service which you as a client deserves.
8) The Other Driver Lacked Insurance Coverage
If the person who injured you had no insurance coverage (and if you had no coverage for uninsured or underinsured drivers), it is not often that the other driver has the means to compensate you for your injuries. When someone does not have the means to pay a claim, they typically file bankruptcy to avoid it. If there is a low likelihood to recover any money, an attorney may choose to turn down your case.
9) You Waited Too Long to Consult a Lawyer
If you spend weeks or months trying to handle your case on your own, you may be causing potential evidence to be lost. Actions a professional attorney would take early in a case may not be able to be taken later. The longer you wait to consult a personal injury lawyer, the more likely you might make mistakes that could harm your case, such as saying the wrong thing on social media or having gaps in medical care. Waiting until the last minute to hire an attorney is one of the most damaging things you can do for your claim.
Moreover, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Texas is two years. If it has been over two years since your accident occurred, you will not be able to take legal action for your claim. In cases where you have waited too long, and an attorney believes you have damaged your case, the attorney may decline to take it.
Getting a Second Opinion
If you have consulted one personal injury lawyer and been turned down, it is a good idea to get a second opinion. There are many reasons for turning down a case that may not have anything to do with the case itself.
At Patterson Law Group, we have made it our mission to provide access to justice for all those who have been injured, regardless of the severity. Our team is ready and willing to fight for you, and if we cannot, we will be sure to explain why. Fill out the form on this page or call (817) 784-2000 to have your case reviewed by our attorneys for free. A member of our legal team will get back to you very soon to discuss your case and see if we can help.