Why A Personal Injury Lawyer Might Pass On A Case

One of the hardest choices a personal injury lawyer has to make when initially examining a case is whether to take it or not. For clients, it can be helpful to understand why a personal injury attorney might say no to a case. Let's consider four times that might occur.

Bad Skills Match

While injury law is a fairly broad area of practice, most lawyers eventually start focusing on smaller pieces of it. A lawyer might be really good at piecing together slip-and-fall cases, for example, while they struggle with product liability claims. It's a disservice to the client to take on a case if an attorney doesn't feel they're the best person for it. Fortunately, most lawyers will be happy to refer prospective clients to other professionals who might be more able to help them.

Not a Large Enough Settlement at Stake

A personal injury lawyer is in this to make money, and most people in the field work on contingency. That means they only get paid if the client wins, and then they take a percentage of the settlement.

If a case is only going to settle for $10,000 and an attorney is paid 30% of the settlement, the lawyer has to ask if they're going to do more than $3,000 worth of work. Likewise, clients have to think about how the lawyer's fees will come out. If the filing costs, paperwork, and paying for expert witnesses is going to drive the cost over the value of the settlement, it's not wise to go that direction.

The Statute of Limitations Has Expired

Nothing worries a personal injury attorney as much as the possibility that the statute of limitations on a claim is close to expiring or has expired. Most jurisdictions give folks between two and three years to formally file a case, although there are usually some exceptions for ones involving chemical exposure, birth defects, and sexual abuse. If the statute has expired, then the client typically can't pursue the case, even if it's a slam dunk.

It's Not an Injury Case

Not all cases that involve injuries are legally considered personal injury cases. The most obvious examples would be workers' compensation claims. Most folks hurt on the job are required to address their concerns through that part of the legal system. Unless the matter involved one of a handful of exceptions, such as gross negligence, there isn't much a personal injury lawyer can do.

To learn more, contact a resource like the Law Offices of Kevin R. Hansen.