Florida personal injury laws give injured parties the right to seek compensation for damages caused by negligence, intentional torts, and other types of wrongdoing. The best way to know if you are entitled to compensation is to meet with a Florida personal injury lawyer. Our law firm offers free consultations so that you can get answers to your questions.
Our lawyers carefully consider the factors of your case and provide you with an honest assessment of your legal options. However, there could be some cases that our attorneys must turn down. The reasons are not personal but are important for a variety of reasons.
Four common reasons why a personal injury lawyer will not take a case are:
Conflict of Interest
Conflicts are a common reason why attorneys will not take cases. An attorney has a conflict of interest when a situation prevents the lawyer from representing the client’s best interests.
Lawyers have a duty to “zealously” represent the interests of their clients. In other words, the attorney must aggressively pursue all legal avenues to achieve the desired outcome for the client. If the lawyer cannot do this, they have a conflict of interest.
The most common conflict of interest is representing a client or having a past client with an opposing interest. For example, an attorney represents a trucking company that owns the truck that caused your car crash. Therefore, the attorney owes a duty to his client to protect the client’s best interest.
Therefore, the attorney can’t protect both of your interests since you want to sue the trucking company for damages. In that case, the lawyer would need to turn down your case.
Statute of Limitations Has Expired
A statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a claim or lawsuit. Most personal injury lawsuits in Florida now have a two-year statute of limitations thanks to a new tort reform law passed on 3/24/2023. Before this law, accident victims had four years to file a negligence claim. If your accident occurred before the bill was passed, you will still be subject to the four-year deadline.
You cannot file a legal claim against the at-fault party after the statute of limitations expires. If you file a lawsuit, the court dismisses the case because time ran out for legal actions.
Therefore, the firm might not take the case if you wait too long to contact a personal injury lawyer. Even if the time has not expired yet, the attorney may not take the case because he would not have sufficient time to investigate the claim, gather evidence, and prepare a lawsuit.
It is always best to contact a lawyer after an accident or personal injury as soon as possible. However, the deadline to file personal injury claims vary. The type of case, the parties involved, and other factors could significantly shorten the filing deadline.
Insufficient Evidence To Prove Negligence
To establish liability for damages, you must prove the legal elements of negligence. The injured party has the burden of proving its case by a preponderance of the evidence. That means there is a greater than 50% chance that the allegations are true than untrue.
The legal elements of a general negligence claim are:
- Duty of Care – The other party owed you a legal duty of care. For example, drivers owe other people using the road a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely to avoid car accidents, including following traffic laws.
- Breach of Duty – The party’s actions or failure to act breached the duty of care. For example, the other driver was texting while driving.
- Causation – The party’s conduct was a direct and proximate cause of your injury. In our example, because the other driver was texting, they ran a red light. Their failure to yield the right of way caused the accident.
- Damages – The person’s breach of duty resulted in damages. Damages can include physical injuries, economic damages, and non-economic damages.
If you cannot prove each of the above legal elements by a preponderance of the evidence, you cannot recover compensation from the other party. The attorney factors the chance of winning the case based on the current evidence when deciding whether to take a personal injury case. If the costs of pursuing the claim outweigh the chance of winning, the attorney might not take the case.
Your Damages Are Minimal
Personal injury lawyers are paid on a contingency fee basis. They agree to accept a percentage of the amount they recover for your claim as payment for their legal representation. Therefore, the attorney has a strong incentive to recover the maximum value for your case.
However, if the value of your damages is minimal, it might cost the attorney more money than he would make to take your case. As a result, the attorney may decline to take your case because it would not be cost-effective for the law firm.
Other Reasons Why a Lawyer Might Not Take a Case
There are many reasons why lawyers do not take cases. Other reasons for turning down a case include:
- The lawyer does not handle that specific type of injury case
- The insurance company has denied the claim and the lawyer does not believe going to court would be successful
- The attorney does not have sufficient experience to handle a complex case
- The lawyer does not believe you have a cause of action to recover damages
- The attorney’s current workload would not allow sufficient time to devote to the case
- You lie to the attorney or withhold important information the attorney discovers
If an attorney rejects your case, ask for a reason. While it is not worth arguing about because the lawyer is not required to take the case, push for a specific answer. Knowing why the attorney turned down your case is important.
Don’t Give Up – Talk With Another Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
If one attorney refuses to take your case, meet with another accident attorney. Attorneys are not perfect. One attorney might not believe you have a case, but another attorney might see something the first attorney failed to discover.
Likewise, the reason one attorney turns down a case might not be an issue for another attorney. For example, another attorney probably will not have a conflict of interest, or the next attorney may have experience handling your type of case.
If an attorney turns down your case, call our law firm. Let us look at your case to see if there is something we can do to help.
Contact Us To Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers
You deserve full compensation for all injuries and damages caused by another party. Contact or call our law firm Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys at (813) 223-6200. We are here to help you receive a fair settlement amount for your personal injury claim.
We accept cases on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay any attorneys’ fees until we recover money for your claim.