If another party causes you harm because of a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, medical malpractice, slip and fall accident, or another personal injury, you can pursue a legal claim for compensation. Los Angeles injury lawyers assist clients by negotiating settlements with insurance companies or filing lawsuits for damages.
Most California personal injury lawyers offer free consultations so that they can meet with you to discuss your case. They’ll analyze your case and provide an assessment of your legal options. They typically accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so hiring them does not cost you anything upfront.
However, there are some cases that personal injury attorneys will not accept. Four reasons why a personal injury lawyer might turn down a claim include:
The California Statute of Limitations Has Expired
Every state sets deadlines for filing claims and lawsuits. The deadline is called a statute of limitations. If you do not file a lawsuit before the statute expires, you lose the right to pursue a legal claim.
The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims in California is two years from the date of injury. However, there are exceptions.
For example, you must file a notice of claim within six months if you want to sue a government agency for negligence. Medical malpractice claims have a statute of limitations of one year from the date the person discovers the injury or three years from the injury date, whichever date is earlier.
If the statute of limitations has passed, the attorney will turn down the case. Some lawyers might not take a case if the statute of limitations is about to expire because there is no time to prepare for filing a lawsuit.
Talk with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident or injury to determine the filing deadline for claims and lawsuits.
There Is a Conflict of Interest
A personal injury lawyer has a fiduciary duty to act in the client’s best interest. If the attorney has a conflict of interest, it would be unethical for the attorney to take the case.
A conflict of interest arises when anything prevents the lawyer from “zealously” representing the client’s interest. For example, a conflict of interest could arise because the lawyer represents a party with interests that are adverse to the client. Accepting the case would mean the attorney could not protect the best interests of both clients.
A conflict of interest could exist because of current or former clients. The conflict might arise if the attorney serves on a board of directors, owns an interest in a company, or any other situation that would prevent the lawyer from putting the client’s interests first.
The Value of Damages Does Not Justify Taking the Case
Since personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, they might not accept a case with minimal damages. The lawyer’s fee is based on how much money the attorney can recover for the client.
The more money the lawyer recovers, the higher the attorney’s fee. If the lawyer does not recover any money for the claim, the lawyer does not receive payment for their legal services.
Therefore, if the value of your damages is low, the lawyer might not earn enough money to pay for their time in pursuing the claim. Taking the case might be costly for the law firm. In some cases, the lawyer might not earn enough fees to cover their time or overhead.
There Is a Lack of Evidence To Prove the Legal Claim
Most personal injury cases are negligence claims. Negligence is the failure to act with reasonable care to avoid causing death or injury to another person.
The injured party (plaintiff) has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence:
- Legal Duty of Care – The defendant owed you a legal duty of care to act with a certain level of care.
- Breach of Duty – The defendant acted in a way that did not meet the required level of care.
- Causation – The party’s breach of duty directly led to the cause of your injuries.
- Damages – Because of the party’s conduct, you sustained injuries, including non-economic and economic damages.
If you cannot prove each of the legal elements of the claim, you cannot recover compensation for your damages. An attorney might not believe there is sufficient evidence to prove your case. If not, the attorney might turn it down.
Other Reasons Personal Injury Lawyers Might Turn Down Cases
In addition to the four reasons above, there are other reasons a lawyer might decline to represent you in a personal injury claim.
Some reasons include:
- The attorney does not handle the type of personal injury law that applies in your case.
- The insurance company denied your claim, and the lawyer does not believe you would win a court case.
- You withhold information or lie to your personal injury lawyer.
- The lawyer lacks sufficient experience, resources, or skills to handle your case.
- The attorney does not have the time to devote to the case because of their current workload.
- The case is too complex for the lawyer to handle.
If a personal injury lawyer declines to take your case, ask for a specific reason. It might not be worth arguing with the lawyer about whether or not the reason is valid. However, knowing why the attorney turned down the case can help you when you seek another opinion.
Just because one attorney turns down your personal injury case does not mean you do not have a valid claim. You should always seek another opinion from an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. Another attorney might not come to the same conclusion or have a conflict of interest that prevents them from taking the case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers
You deserve compensation for your damages and losses after an accident or personal injury. Our legal team will fight to recover the maximum amount for your personal injury claim. Contact or call us at (877) 300-4535 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney from M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers.