If you were injured in a car accident, you might be debating whether you need to hire an attorney. Before making a final decision, you should interview multiple car accident attorneys. Not every attorney is going to be the perfect match for your case. Some firms may even decline to take your case. It may surprise you to know that personal injury lawyers don’t take every single client that walks in their door. Here are a few reasons why a car accident attorney might not take your case.
You Didn’t Suffer Injury
If you sustained little to no injuries in your car accident, there are no damages for an attorney to build a case. While you may deserve compensation for your small amount of medical bills, the claim doesn’t necessarily warrant an attorney’s involvement. The insurance company likely won’t dispute your claim, and you will receive only a small settlement, so why lose a portion of that to an attorney?
The Case Is Too Complex for the Firm
Not all car accident lawyers can take on very complex claims. If your accident involves multiple defendants, complex legal questions, a need to hire experts, etc., a sole practitioner or boutique firm may pass on your case. You may need to look at larger personal injury firms with multiple attorneys and additional financial resources to represent you.
Your Accident Was in Another State
Applicable personal injury laws will vary from state to state. An attorney in the state where the accident happened will be more familiar with the laws there. Further, if it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit in the other state, you would need to retain another attorney anyway. Attorneys do not maintain a license to practice in every state. If you live in Colorado and get into an accident while on vacation in Nevada, you need an attorney licensed in Nevada.
The Statute of Limitations Expired
If you wait too long to pursue a claim for damages, it may be too late. Each state has a statute of limitations that says a lawsuit must be filed within a specific time frame. For example, in Colorado, you must file a lawsuit within three years for an auto accident and two years for other personal injury accidents.
Failure to file a lawsuit before the deadline expires means the court will not accept your claim. There is no reason for an attorney to take your case, as there is no legal standing to pursue compensation. The only possible exception is if there are certain extenuating circumstances for why you missed the deadline. In those specific situations, some attorneys may be willing to consider taking your case.
The Accident Was Your Fault
To collect compensation for your damages, you need to prove the other party was at fault. Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state, which means if you are 50% or more fault, you cannot collect anything for your damages. If the attorney thinks you will be found at least 50% at fault, they will decline to take your case.
Other Attorneys Rejected the Same Case
If you’ve already met with four or five attorneys, any other attorneys may decline to take your case if that many other attorneys passed on it. It can raise red flags, as the other attorneys might have identified possible problems with your case. Be sure to ask why the attorney passed on your case, so you can let other attorneys know. Some attorneys may need to pass due to a conflict of interest or lack of time and resources.
How to Get an Attorney to Take Your Case
To reduce the risk that an attorney will not take your case, be prepared at your initial consultation. Bring all relevant documents, and don’t leave out any details when discussing the facts surrounding your accident. If an attorney thinks you are withholding information or embellishing particulars, they may decide to pass on your case.
If you’ve met with multiple attorneys and no one is interested in your case, it doesn’t mean you should give up entirely. You still might be able to hire an attorney for your case.
Unless you have missed the statute of limitations or are primarily at fault for the accident, you can still present a claim to the other driver’s insurance company.