Personal injury attorneys recover damages or monetary compensation for an injury to a person or a person's property that was the result of another's negligence. But not all cases of personal injury will be accepted and taken on by personal injury attorneys.
There are a variety of reasons personal injury attorneys turn down cases. To win a personal injury case, victims must prove that the injury was completely the fault of another person and that the victim had no fault in their own injury. A personal injury attorney may turn down a case if they suspect that some fault remains with the victim, or if evidence is lacking.
Here are 7 reasons why a personal injury attorney might turn down a case:
1. No Substantial Injury
Personal injury attorneys cannot take on cases of “possible injuries”. It is not enough that another person “almost” caused serious harm or that a negligent action by another person resulted in a minor injury. A near miss by another car and a rude remark by another person do not count as personal injury claims.
2. Expired Statute of Limitations
The “statute of limitations” is the legal term for the amount of time a victim has to file a personal injury claim. Statutes of limitations vary by state; in Maryland victims of an injury have three years to file the case before the statute runs out.
3. Defendant Not At Fault
To file a personal injury claim, victims must be able to prove that the injury was the result of another person's negligence. If a pedestrian was hit by a car while running across a street of cars that had a green light, the fault does not lie with the accused driver. Personal injury attorneys will not take cases that implicate the victim for fault in the claim.
4. Government Immunity
If the personal injury claim is against the government, like a slip and fall injury that occurred on government property, the government may be immune from liability. The government can claim immunity in certain planning decision cases and for specific discretionary decisions. If a personal injury attorney believes the government is immune, the attorney may reject the case.
5. No Insurance
If the defendant of the case lacks insurance, victims might not be able to recover the damages they require. If a victim sustains substantial injuries from a car crash when another driver ran a red light, but that driver has no insurance, then the driver would be required to pay compensation out of pocket and the victim might not even be able to recover basic economic damages like medical bills.
6. Type of Injury
The term “personal injury” covers a wide variety of injuries from car accidents to defective products to defamation. Not all personal injury attorneys specialize in all types of injuries.
7. Attorney Discretion
There are a variety of other reasons personal injury attorneys might turn down cases. Ultimately it is up to the personal preference of the attorney to decide whether a case is a right fit for them.