June 22, 2018

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Personal Injury: How Lawyers Decide Whether or not to Take a Case

If you’ve been injured in an accident resulting from the negligence of another party, you may want to seek damages. Many people seeking compensation think about how much they can get out of the lawsuit. However, the first question on your mind ought to be ‘do I have a case?’

When you approach an attorney to help file your lawsuit, the attorney’s initial analysis will be regarding the merits of your case. This analysis will help him determine whether or not to take your case. Many people are surprised to find lawyers turning down cases that seem open and shut.

Following are some of the reasons why a lawyer may decide against representing you:

  • Cost vs. profit

Personal injury law practices are businesses. They need to make a profit in order to have a sustainable business. Most personal injury attorneys are paid contingency fees. This means that they are only paid when their client is awarded compensation. They receive a percentage of the compensation.

Lawyers have to make a business decision as to whether taking a case is likely to result in a profit for the firm. If an attorney thinks he will spend much more in investigation and other legal costs than he can recover at the end of the case, he may turn down your case.

  • Your injuries

The lawyer will also consider your injuries. If you do not have significant injuries, the lawyer may not view your case as worth pursuing. This is because even if you win, the lack of serious injury may mean that you are not likely to recover substantial compensation. Since the lawyer will receive a part of your settlement or award for his compensation, the fact that you are not likely to recover a significant amount of money may make him less likely to want to take your case.

  • No fault

Although some states’ no-fault laws impact this decision, one of the most important aspects of a personal injury case is proving the liability of the other party. If this cannot be done, then there is no case. A personal injury attorney will examine the evidence and try to determine who was at fault. If the defendant wasn’t at fault or if you are found to be partially at fault, the attorney may choose not to take your case because of the risk that you will not recover any damages.

  • It’s too late

Personal injury cases are subject to the statutes of limitations that bar the filing of a lawsuit after a certain amount of time has passed. This means that injured parties have a limited time within which they can file a case against the defendant. This period varies by state and the type of claim you are pursuing. If you fail to file your claim within this period, it would not be considered valid and may be thrown out by the judge. There is very little that a lawyer can do for you in this situation.

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