When someone becomes a victim of serious injury at the hands of another, it is common for them to seek legal counsel in order to make a personal injury claim against the negligent party, seeking recovery from the negligent party’s insurance carrier. But is it possible for a victim’s claim to be denied by a law firm?
Continue reading to learn why a personal injury lawyer might choose to pass on a case.
How Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid
Many law firms that specialize in personal injury work on contingency, meaning they will represent a client and handle their case for free, initially, and only collect lawyer fees if they obtain a settlement for their client. If they cannot settle, and fail to recover a judgment in court, the law firm does not get paid and loses the expense money the law firm spent on pursuing the claim.
For this reason, it is important for personal injury lawyers to take on cases that have a strong chance at being successful. If a victim of a personal injury has a claim that is not strong enough to win a settlement or judgement in the attorney’s opinion, a law firm may choose to pass on representing that potential client, and in doing so, refer them to other sources.
On the other hand, if the client insists on pursuing a claim that they could win but is not as strong as other cases, a lawyer may agree to do so in exchange for an upfront, non-refundable fee. So what makes a case weak? And why do lawyers pass on certain cases and personal injury claims? There are several reasons why a personal injury law firm might decide to not take on a case or to take on the case but have the plaintiff pay some of the up-front expenses.
Accepting and Passing on Personal Injury Claims
In order for a victim of a personal injury to successfully win a settlement for their damages, they must prove that they were injured as a result of another’s negligence or carelessness, that person had a certain duty of care to prevent such accidents, and more. There are several laws and stipulations that regulate these boundaries of negligence and fault, all of which vary among states, and personal injury lawyers are extensively well-versed in each of them. If they review a case that seems to have flaws or holes within it or a case where the evidence that once existed no longer exists, they may not see value in representing the client because the case is weak.
For example, if a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident because the opposing driver failed to stop at a red light, they likely have a valid case at first glance. A lawyer will assess whether or not the injured driver followed and obeyed all traffic signals and laws; and in the case they did, a lawyer will most likely agree that they were injured as a result of direct negligence and is entitled to compensation for their damages. In this situation, a personal injury attorney would most likely accept this case and represent this client for free, only collecting lawyer fees if they recover a settlement. If there is a witness stating the opposing driver ran the stop light, obviously the case and evidence would be even stronger and worthwhile pursuing.
Speaking with Different Attorneys
If you call and discuss your potential case with an attorney and they decide not to represent you, it is important to speak with different attorneys for their thoughts on the pros and cons of you potentially pursuing a case. Some attorneys will only represent a personal injury claimant who has undeniable evidence of negligence of the opposing party. Other law firms will represent a personal injury claimant who has strong evidence but not undeniable evidence.