The Real Reasons Why Attorneys Aren't Taking Your Case
They’ll tell you they’re "too busy" or your case just isn’t a “good fit” for them, but here’s the real reasons why a personal injury firm might be giving you the cold shoulder:
1: Fault is hard to prove
A case that is based on your word versus someone else’s word is usually not going to end well. Whether it’s you claiming the light was green while the other driver claims it was red, or you slipping on a wet spot in the grocery store but there’s no photos or witnesses who saw it, or you being burned by a curling iron that you claim was defective but now works just fine. These are types of cases that insurance companies typically fight the hardest because they usually win. That’s because, as unfair as it might be, in this day and age most people are very skeptical about people blaming someone else for their injuries and then asking them for money. To most insurance companies and juries, your word isn’t worth much. However, if you contact an attorney early enough they might be able to tip the scales in your favor by obtaining evidence that supports your word, such as witness statements (including first responder / EMT statements), photographs, video surveillance, transcripts of 911 calls, product testing, etc. The more evidence you have on your side the stronger your case will be.
2: Too many pre-existing injuries or multiple accidents.
It may not be your fault but these things complicate your
case. For example, if you were already seeing a chiropractor for neck and back
pain and then get in an accident and claim more neck and back pain, it might be
difficult to tell how much of that pain is from the accident and how much was
already there. Or if you hurt yourself in an accident and then get in another
similar accident, it might be difficult to tell which accident is really
responsible for your ongoing pain and suffering. These circumstances usually
require an attorney investing more money into your case to sort this stuff out.
3: Unrealistic client expectations.
When a client expects $100,000 but their case is only worth
$10,000, an attorney might decide to pass on the case rather than dealing with an inevitably frustrated and unhappy client. This problem is getting more and more common with the current state of attorney advertising. We’ve all seen the commercials: “My attorney
got me a check for $200,000.” What they don’t tell you is how much of that money
ends up in the client’s pocket after paying attorneys, doctors, hospitals, and
even health insurance companies (they have a right to be reimbursed for the
treatment they paid on your behalf).
Here’s the way it works: personal injury cases settle for a lump sum settlement amount, but the client only gets to keep what is left after subtracting attorney fees, case costs, and unpaid medical bills. So if a client settles for $200,000 but has $100,000 in unpaid hospital and medical bills (very easy to do if they had a surgery), and has to pay the attorney $70,000 in fees and case costs, then the client is only left with $30,000 to put in their pocket. But having a commercial with a client saying “I only got to keep $30,000 out of a $200,000 settlement” clearly doesn’t have the same ring to it.
4: Not enough meat on the bone.
You might have a legitimate case that makes you legally
entitled to compensation, but it may not be big enough for an attorney. Attorneys need to spend time and money investigating and negotiating even small cases. So if an attorney is going to spend
months reviewing and summarizing medical records, talking to doctors and witnesses, drafting letters,
and negotiating with insurance companies, they need to be fairly sure that it will be worth the time and money. With
big injury cases, having a good experienced attorney investigate and negotiate
your claim is almost always worth the attorney fees that you will have to pay in the end. But
with minor injury cases, there is less room for negotiation and therefore even a good attorney can't add much value to your case. In those situations, it will usually save you some money to try and settle the case yourself (Gama Law Firm is happy to provide you with free advice about how to do this).