You’ve suffered an injury and believe you have a valid personal injury claim. You speak with several attorneys only to find that they won’t take your case. If this describes your situation, it’s understandable that you are likely frustrated and confused about why you can’t find a lawyer willing to represent you.
While every case is different, there are several common reasons why a personal injury lawyer may decline to help you with your claim. It’s important to understand these reasons as you evaluate your options moving forward.
You Don’t Have a Valid Case
Being hurt in an accident doesn’t necessarily mean you have a valid personal injury case. In order to recover compensation, the following factors must exist:
- Your injuries were caused by the negligent actions of another
- Your injuries caused you to experience financial damages
Proving fault is crucial to a successful personal injury claim. If it isn’t clear that your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, it is unlikely that your case will be successful. Sometimes no one is at fault for your accident, or your actions were the primary reason you got hurt. In these situations, it’s unlikely that a jury will decide in your favor.
Similarly, your injuries must have resulted in financial damages. If you slipped on a wet floor in a grocery store, you might be entitled to damages if the store was negligent by failing to take care of the wet surface or by inadequately warning you of the hazardous conditions. However, if your slip and fall accident only resulted in a few minor scrapes on your knee that didn’t even require medical treatment, there are no financial damages that require compensation. In these situations, you are unlikely to be awarded money for nothing.
Your Damages are Relatively Minor
While it’s impossible to estimate the exact amount of money you’ll recover in a lawsuit, most attorneys can identify whether a case has a decent chance to be lucrative. For example, a brain injury that will require a lifetime of ongoing care due to your diminished ability to function will likely yield a much larger settlement than a car accident case where you suffered relatively minor injuries that healed in a matter of weeks.
It’s possible that a lawyer will agree to take the car accident case with minimal damages, but the high potential that you will only receive a small settlement may impact the attorney’s willingness to invest the time and effort required of your case. Keep in mind that personal injury lawyers work on contingency fees. They usually invest all of the upfront costs for your case including filing fees, witnesses, investigators, and other preparation expenses. In addition, they will only receive a fee if you recover compensation.
The attorney must weigh the time, effort and expense required to handle the case with the amount of money likely to be recovered. In some instances, the likelihood of a low damage award may cause a lawyer to pass on your case.
The Scope and Complexity of the Case are too Large for the Lawyer
Sometimes you may have a valid case with a strong likelihood of a large damage award, but a lawyer may still decline to take your case. This may be due to the fact that the case is highly complex and costly.
A solo practitioner may not have the staff and resources to handle certain big cases such as complex medical malpractice claims or pharmaceutical injury cases. In these instances, a lawyer may recommend that you work with a larger firm with the staffing and financial resources necessary to give your case the attention it deserves.
Your Actions Strongly Contributed to Your Injuries
Florida has adopted pure comparative negligence laws. This means that you will be entitled to recover damages even if you are primarily at fault for the accident. However, your final damage award will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to your actions.
If you were only deemed to be 10% at fault for an accident, you will still be entitled to recover 90% of your damages. In a big case, this can still potentially amount to a significant amount of money. But if you were 60-70% at fault for the accident, you will only be able to recover a much smaller portion of damages (in this case, 30-40%). In these situations, the time, effort and expense of the case may not justify the small recovery you’re likely to receive due to your own negligent actions.
Too Much Time has Passed
The longer you wait to contact an attorney, the harder it will be to win your case. Over time, evidence can be misplaced and witnesses may forget what happened during the accident. When this occurs, it can potentially jeopardize your ability to achieve a successful outcome.
In addition, there are certain time limits, called statutes of limitations, which govern personal injury claims. In Florida, most personal injury cases must be filed within two years of the date the injury occurred. If you wait to contact a lawyer until this deadline has passed, you may no longer be able to file a claim to recover the compensation you deserve.
Schedule a Complimentary Case Evaluation
At Syprett Meshad, we offer complimentary consultations for all personal injury cases. During this meeting, we will listen carefully to your story and evaluate the merits of your claim. If we believe you have a valid case, we will advise you as to the best way to proceed.
In order to get the most out of this case evaluation, it’s crucial that you bring all medical records, documentation of injuries, evidence from the accident scene and any other information you have regarding your claim. This will allow us to present you with all of your legal options.
Please contact Syprett Meshad using the form on this page or call 941-365-7171 today to schedule a complimentary personal injury consultation. We serve clients in Sarasota, Bradenton and the surrounding areas of Florida.