5 Reasons Why a Lawyer Might Not Take Your Personal Injury Case
After a car accident or dog bite in Texas, you might want to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries. Hiring an attorney can make a massive difference in the ultimate success or failure of your case. However, just because you’ve gotten hurt doesn’t mean that an attorney will agree to help you pursue compensation. Here’s why.
You Didn’t Mitigate Your Injuries
After an accident, you have a legal obligation to mitigate your injuries. Mitigation simply means that you have to take reasonable steps to prevent your injuries from getting worse. You can typically accomplish this by seeking medical treatment soon after an accident and following your doctor’s orders. If you fail to mitigate your injuries, they could potentially get worse.
This can make it really difficult to recover compensation. Why? The at-fault party (and/or their insurer) will point to your failure to mitigate and say that there’s no proof that your injury was caused by the accident. Even if you can prove that the injury was a direct result of the accident, it might be too difficult to determine the extent of the injury that’s attributable to the defendant in your lawsuit. How much of the injury is their fault, and how much of it is a result of your failure to mitigate?
When an attorney sees this, they might decide that there’s just too much risk in taking on your case.
You Share Fault For Your Accident
In Texas, fault is apportioned between everyone who is responsible for causing an accident. This includes victims who may have suffered an injury. Sharing fault won’t automatically bar you from recovering compensation. However, you will not be able to recover money for your injuries if you’re allocated more than 50 percent of the blame for an accident.
When you meet an attorney to discuss your case, they’ll probably ask you a lot of questions about the circumstances surrounding your accident. One reason for this is to determine your role – if any – in causing it. If the lawyer believes that you are primarily responsible for your own injuries, they might decline to take you on as a client.
The Potential Fee Isn’t Worth the Effort
Personal injury attorneys in Texas work on a contingency basis. Simply put, you typically don’t pay your attorney until they secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf. This means that your lawyer is taking a risk by agreeing to handle your case.
They’re essentially betting on their skills and the strength of your case. If you don’t win, your attorney gets paid nothing. If you do win, your attorney recovers a (previously agreed-upon) percentage of your winnings.
An attorney might decide not to take your case if (a) they don’t think it’s a winner or (b) the potential payout is too small to justify the effort of litigation.
There’s a Conflict of Interest
Attorneys in Texas are required to comply with certain ethical rules. One of these rules deals with conflicts of interest. This means that an attorney has to consider how taking your case – or taking you on as a client – would affect their other clients.
For example, let’s say you were injured in a slip and fall accident at a local business. You go to Attorney Z and ask to have them handle your personal injury case. You didn’t know that Attorney Z represents that local business in various legal matters. It wouldn’t be right for Attorney Z to take your case because of their relationship with the business. As a result, they may have to say no when you ask for help.
You’ve Been Turned Down By Other Attorneys
During a free consultation, a personal injury attorney might ask if you’ve brought your case to anyone else in the area. If you mention that you’ve met with a few other lawyers, they might begin to wonder why you’re still shopping your case. It’s one thing to ask for a second (or even a third) opinion. It’s another to meet with several attorneys and have them all turn down your case.
An attorney, knowing that others have declined to take your case, might be afraid that you’re not telling them something or that your case simply can’t be won. They, too, might tell you that you’ll have to seek legal assistance elsewhere.