If you’ve been injured in an accident that may have been someone else’s fault, you will most likely want to get compensation for any property damage or injuries that you have sustained. It’s wise to consult a personal injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case and see if you have a claim that is worth pursuing. However, sometimes a personal injury lawyer may refuse your case for any number of reasons.
The Attorney Has a Conflict of Interest
All New York attorneys have a duty to act in their client’s best interest and cannot accept cases that will create any kind of conflict of interest. So if you are suing a person or company with whom an attorney has a relationship, they shouldn’t accept your case.
For example, you were injured in a slip and fall accident at a grocery store. If the attorney you seek to hire represents the grocery store on certain matters, they shouldn’t accept your case. It wouldn’t serve your or the grocery store’s interests, so you should seek counsel elsewhere.
Not Enough Damages to Pay the Attorney’s Costs
Generally, the more damages you have sustained, the more money you can potentially recover. If you weren’t injured in an accident or have property damage or any other financial losses, you won’t be entitled to receive any compensation.
Most New York personal injury lawyers get paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless they recover compensation in your case. If your claim is successful, the attorney will take a percentage of the total amount awarded.
The client doesn’t pay the attorney anything at the start of the case. Therefore, the attorney is responsible for covering the costs of pursuing your case. If there aren’t any damages, there is no incentive for the lawyer to take your case as they have no chance of getting compensated for their services.
Let’s say you do have some damages. An attorney might still pass on your case if they don’t think you have a very strong claim. Or, your damages may not warrant the amount of work it would take for you to have a chance of winning.
The Accident Was Largely Your Fault
If you were in an accident that was partially your fault, you might be entitled to receive less compensation as a result. New York is a pure comparative fault state, meaning the amount of money you can recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Consider an example where your car is hit by a driver who was distracted by an unrestrained dog in their vehicle. You had time to swerve out of the way but were driving while intoxicated, slowing your ability to react. A jury may decide that the injuries were 50% your fault and reduce your compensation accordingly. This would reduce the total amount you could recover, making an attorney more reluctant to take your case.
You Missed the Deadline to File a Personal Injury Case
You have a limited period of time to file a lawsuit if you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault. In New York, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is three years from the date of the accident.
Most lawyers will not take a case that cuts too close to the statute of limitations expiring or if the deadline has passed. The smartest move is to consult a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to ensure you easily meet all deadlines.
Ask a New York Personal Injury Attorney About the Strength of Your Case
After an accident where you’ve been injured or suffered some other damage, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your options. They will go over the facts of your case and assess your damages and the chances that you will have a successful outcome.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Queens, NY
We have two convenient locations in New York: