Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when an individual suffers harm or injury due to another party’s negligence or intentional actions. These cases can encompass many situations, from car accidents to medical malpractice to slip and fall incidents.
The role of a personal injury lawyer is to represent the injured party, known as the plaintiff, and help them seek compensation for their damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Personal injury lawyers can also negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of their clients and advocate for their rights in court.
However, it is important to note that not all personal injury lawyers will take on every case. There are various reasons why a lawyer may choose not to represent a particular client or case, including issues with liability, lack of sufficient damages, or a lack of evidence to support the claim.
It is crucial for individuals seeking legal representation in a personal injury case to find the right lawyer for their specific situation. This may involve researching potential attorneys, reading reviews from previous clients, and scheduling consultations to discuss the details of their cases.
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of a case. A skilled and experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the legal process, ensuring that the plaintiff’s rights and interests are protected every step of the way.
At Fetterman & Associates, PA, we proudly represent accident victims. However, we also are transparent to clients who seek our services. If you have questions, contact our office to schedule a free consultation.
Reason 1: Lack of Sufficient Damages
Personal injury lawyers are often paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only receive a payment if they successfully obtain compensation for their clients. As such, one reason why a personal injury lawyer may choose not to take on a case is if there are not enough damages to make it worth their time and effort.
Types of Damages
Personal injury lawyers can seek various damages on behalf of their clients, including economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
The calculation of damages in a personal injury case can be complex and depends on various factors, such as the severity of the injury, the impact on the plaintiff’s life, and the extent of the defendant’s liability. In some cases, an expert may be required to testify on the damages’ extent.
For instance, if a plaintiff suffered a minor injury in a car accident that resulted in only a few hundred dollars in medical expenses, it may not be financially feasible for a lawyer to take on the case. Similarly, if the plaintiff was partly responsible for their injury, the amount of damages that can be recovered may be reduced or eliminated.
In such cases, a personal injury lawyer may need to see a reasonable chance of recovering enough compensation to justify the investment of their time and resources. An attorney can help determine if you have a viable case.
Reason 2: Liability Issues
One of the key factors in a personal injury case is liability or legal responsibility for the injury. A personal injury lawyer must establish that the defendant was negligent or acted intentionally in causing the plaintiff’s injury. If liability cannot be proven, the case may not be viable.
How Liability Works
Liability in personal injury cases is typically based on the legal concept of negligence, which means that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, harming the plaintiff. To establish negligence, the plaintiff’s lawyer must prove that the defendant had a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused the plaintiff’s injury.
Proving liability can be challenging, particularly in cases where the facts are disputed, or the evidence is unclear. For example, in a car accident case, the plaintiff may have to show that the other driver was at fault for the crash, such as by running a red light or failing to yield.
In some cases, liability may be unclear, such as in a slip and fall accident where it is difficult to determine whether the property owner was negligent in maintaining their premises. In other cases, the injured party may be partially at fault, which can complicate the question of liability and reduce the amount of damages that can be recovered.
If a personal injury lawyer determines that liability cannot be established, they may advise the client not to pursue the case. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to help the client gather evidence and build proof of liability.
Reason 3: Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a legal deadline for filing a lawsuit. In personal injury cases, the statute of limitations varies depending on the state and the type of case. If the deadline for filing a lawsuit has passed, the case may be unable to move forward.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is a time limit for filing a lawsuit. The statute aims to ensure that cases are brought promptly while evidence remains available and memories are fresh.
Impact on Personal Injury Cases
In personal injury cases, missing the statute of limitations can be devastating. If a plaintiff fails to file a lawsuit before the deadline, the case may be dismissed, and the plaintiff may be unable to recover compensation for their injuries.
For example, in Florida, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is four years from the date of the accident or injury. If a plaintiff was injured in a car accident on January 1, 2020, they typically have until January 1, 2024, to file a lawsuit.
If the plaintiff fails to file the lawsuit before the deadline, they may lose their right to sue. In some cases, the statute of limitations may be shorter, such as in medical malpractice cases, where the deadline may be as little as two years from the date of the injury.
As such, it is crucial for individuals who have suffered a personal injury to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that they take advantage of the statute of limitations and lose their right to pursue compensation.
Reason 4: Pre-Existing Conditions
Pre-existing conditions can be a complicating factor in personal injury cases. Insurance companies and defense attorneys may argue that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the accident in question, but rather by the pre-existing condition. This can make it difficult to prove that the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Impact on Personal Injury Cases
In personal injury cases, pre-existing conditions can impact the amount of damages that a plaintiff is able to recover. If the defendant can show that the plaintiff’s injuries were partially or fully caused by a pre-existing condition, the amount of damages awarded may be reduced.
Insurance Company and Defense Attorney Tactics
Insurance companies and defense attorneys may use a variety of tactics to argue that a plaintiff’s injuries were caused by a pre-existing condition rather than the accident in question. For example, they may request medical records from before the accident to look for evidence of the pre-existing condition.
For instance, if a plaintiff has a pre-existing back injury and is involved in a car accident, the defendant may argue that the plaintiff’s back pain is due to the pre-existing condition rather than the accident. This can make it difficult for the plaintiff to prove that the accident caused their injuries and seek compensation.
In cases where the plaintiff has a pre-existing condition, it is crucial to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can anticipate and address these arguments. A skilled attorney may be able to gather evidence and testimony to demonstrate that the accident worsened the plaintiff’s condition or caused new injuries.
Reason 5: Lack of Evidence
Evidence is crucial in personal injury cases as it is used to prove liability and damages. Without sufficient evidence, it can be difficult to make a strong case and recover compensation for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Importance of Evidence
In personal injury cases, evidence can take many forms, such as witness testimony, medical records, photographs, and video footage. Evidence is used to establish liability by showing that the defendant was at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries. It is also used to calculate damages by demonstrating the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and losses.
Impact on Personal Injury Cases
If there is a lack of evidence to support a personal injury claim, it can make it difficult to prove liability or damages. In some cases, a lack of evidence may even prevent the case from moving forward.
For example, in a slip and fall case, if there are no witnesses and the plaintiff did not take any photographs or report the incident to the property owner, it may be difficult to prove that the property owner was negligent and liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
In another example, if a plaintiff alleges that they were injured in a car accident but there are no witnesses or physical evidence to support their claim, it may be difficult to prove that the accident occurred or that the defendant was at fault.
In such cases, an experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to help the plaintiff gather additional evidence, such as by interviewing witnesses or conducting a thorough investigation. However, if there is insufficient evidence to support the claim, the lawyer may advise the plaintiff not to pursue the case.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyer for Help with Your Case
Personal injury cases can be complex and challenging, and not all personal injury lawyers will take on every case. However, if you have suffered an injury due to the negligence or intentional actions of another party, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine your legal options.
At Fetterman & Associates, P.A., our team of skilled attorneys can provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate the legal process and seek compensation for your injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help with your case.