A personal injury claim seeks compensation for damages resulting from an injury. Personal injury cases involve all types of negligence claims, including car accidents, truck accidents, and slip and fall accidents. Claims may also involve strict liability for defective products and intentional acts like assault.
Personal injury lawyers represent accident victims and their families in their cases against a party that injured them. They negotiate settlements with insurance companies. They also file wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits when insurance providers deny liability or refuse to negotiate a fair settlement amount.
However, there are times when a personal injury lawyer won’t take your case. Below are four reasons why an attorney might decline your case.
Table of Contents
The Attorney Has a Conflict of Interest
Previous attorney-client relations might create a conflict of interest in your case. Lawyers owe their clients a duty of care to put the client’s best interest first. If the lawyer represents a client with adverse interests, the attorney cannot act in the best interest of both clients.
Attorneys could represent clients with a concurrent conflict of interest if:
- The clients provided informed consent in writing;
- The lawyer believes he can provide diligent and competent legal representation to both clients;
- The representation does not involve one client asserting a claim against another client; and,
- The law does not prohibit the lawyer from representing both clients.
Turning down a case is generally the best option for the client if a lawyer has a conflict of interest. You want a lawyer who can devote undivided attention and loyalty to your case.
The Statute of Limitations Expired
Texas enacted filing limitations on personal injury actions. These deadlines are called statutes of limitations. The statute of limitations depends on the type of personal injury claim and the facts of the case.
Most personal injury claims have a two-year statute of limitations, including wrongful death claims, automobile accidents, medical malpractice, product liability claims, and premises liability claims.
However, there are exceptions to statutes of limitations that could shorten or extend the statute of limitations. Therefore, it is always best to talk with a Dallas personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a personal injury or accident.
A lawyer turns down a case if the statute of limitations expires because the person cannot pursue a legal claim for damages.
Most personal injury lawyers accept cases on a contingency fee basis. The client does not owe any attorneys’ fees unless the lawyer recovers money for the case.
Because most personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, any attorney may decline to take a case if the damages are minor. The potential fee they would receive for the case might not justify the time and expense of pursuing the case.
Most injured parties can recover economic damages, including:
- Past and future medical bills
- Long-term and in-home nursing care
- Past and future lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Diminished earning capacity
- Cost of personal care and help with household chores
In addition to the monetary losses, injury victims are entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. Non-economic damages can include:
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical suffering and pain
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish and emotional suffering
- Decreased quality of life
In a few cases, the court could award punitive damages. These damages do not compensate the injured party for losses. Instead, punitive damages “punish” a defendant for gross negligence, fraud, or malice.
The value of your claim depends on the facts of your case. The severity of your injuries directly impacts the value of your damages. The strength of the evidence proving fault and the availability of insurance coverage also affect how much money you receive for a personal injury case.
You Are Partly to Blame for Causing Your Injury
Texas is a “fault” state for personal injury cases. You must prove that the other party was negligent or strictly liable for tortious acts (acts that cause injury to another person).
Generally, an accident victim must prove the other party:
- Owed them a duty of care to avoid causing accidents and injuries
- The person breaches the duty of care through their acts or omissions
- The breach of duty caused the victim’s injuries
- The victim sustained damages because of the breach of duty
If you cannot prove causation, fault, and damages, the other party is not liable for your damages. Therefore, if the attorney does not believe there is sufficient evidence, they may turn down the case.
However, a personal injury lawyer might not take your case if you are partially to blame for the cause of the accident because of the legal theory of comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence applies when both parties are partially at fault for an accident or injury. The theory states that each party is liable for the damages they cause. Therefore, if you are 45% to blame for the cause of your injury, you can only receive compensation for 55% of your damages.
Texas adopted a modified comparative fault law. Under this rule, your injury does not bar you from recovering damages. Instead, your compensation is reduced by your percentage fault. However, if you are 51% or more to blame, you cannot recover any compensation from the other party.
A lawyer could turn down a case if it appears that you could be more than 50% to blame for your injury.
What Should I Do if a Personal Injury Lawyer Won’t Take My Case in Dallas?
Ask the lawyer to explain why they will not take your case. There could be other reasons for turning down a case other than the reasons listed above. Then, schedule an appointment with another lawyer for a second opinion.
Just because one lawyer turns down your case, it does not mean that another attorney will not take the case. Personal injury attorneys generally provide free case evaluations. Therefore, it should not cost anything for you to meet with another attorney for a second opinion.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer
Did another party cause your injury? If so, you could be entitled to compensation for injuries and damages. Call our law firm to schedule a free consultation with a Dallas injury attorney.