Here are some of the most common reasons why a personal injury lawyer won’t take your case:
Your Statute of Limitations Has Expired
The statute of limitations for most personal injury suits in the Sooner State is two years. This law means that if you suffered an injury in an auto accident in Oklahoma City, you must take legal action against the liable party before the second anniversary of your crash.
If your statutory window has already expired, the personal injury attorney you speak with is unlikely to agree to take your case – since the court will dismiss it as soon as any paperwork is filed.
You Carry Too Much Blame
Oklahoma has a comparative negligence rule on its books that allows you to recover compensation after an accident in which you hold less than 51 percent of the blame. However, the state does not permit you to claim any damages when you are more than 50 percent at-fault for the incident.
If the attorney believes that you hold more than half of the blame for the accident that caused your injury, they may refuse to represent you – since they will not be able to recover any compensation on your behalf.
The Defendant Has Limited Resources
Liable persons in personal injury claims almost always use their insurance coverage to pay for the damages of the victims. However, there are some situations under which an insurer may deny a case, leaving the defendant to cover the injured party’s costs out of their own pocket.
If your prospective personal injury lawyer does not believe that the liable person has the financial capacity to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses, they may refuse to take your case.
There is a Conflict of Interest
Lawyers in the state of Oklahoma must adhere to a set of strict guidelines when providing clients with legal advice and guidance. Should they fail to do so, they can lose their license to practice law. In particularly egregious cases, they may even face criminal penalties.
Because of the potential consequences of improper conduct, lawyers who think they may have a conflict of interest in your case are likely to suggest that you find alternative legal representation.
Your Case is Too Time Consuming
When personal injury attorneys evaluate your case, they don’t just look to see how much it is worth. They also try to estimate the length of time it is likely to take to resolve.
There are a wide range of factors that can impact the amount of time your case will take, such as:
- Whether the witnesses are in agreement on the course of events
- The time it takes for you to recover from your injuries
- Whether the insurance companies cooperate with the process
- The number of liable parties
- Whether one or more parties makes an administrative error
- The number of victims, and whether they are part of the same suit
If a lawyer is busy and thinks that your wrongful death or personal injury claim will be especially time-consuming, they might decline to represent you.
There Are Issues with Your Medical Care
The timing and nature of your medical treatment can impact the strength of your personal injury case. Your prospective lawyer may refuse to work on your suit if you:
- Sought medical care from an unlicensed practitioner
- Underwent any experimental medical procedures
- Waited a long time to seek medical attention
- Did not follow the advice of your physician
- Sought treatment from a doctor that has a history of fraud
To avoid having law firms refuse to take your case because of issues with your treatment, you would be smart to seek timely care from a skilled and fully-licensed physician. Doing so will also improve your odds of making a full recovery from your injury.
Your Case is Not Within Their Area of Expertise
Personal injury is a broad legal field that includes many types of accidents and injuries, including:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
- Nursing home abuse
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Bad faith insurance practices
If you sustained an injury in a car accident, but your prospective attorney primarily handles medical malpractice cases, they may decline to take on your case, believing that they do not have the necessary legal knowledge or experience to handle it with the care it deserves.
There Are Challenges with Establishing Liability
Recovering compensation after a fall or a car accident in Oklahoma is not as simple as filing some legal documents and waiting for money to arrive. No, if you want to secure a favorable outcome to your case, you will need to prove that the other party is liable for your damages. Most personal injury cases are based on the tort of negligence.
Proving negligence typically involves showing the court that:
- The other party owed you a duty of care
- The other party’s negligence breached that duty of care
- The other party’s breach of duty caused you to suffer an injury
- Your injuries are as severe or life-altering as you claim
If your prospective personal injury attorney believes that it will be hard or impossible to prove one of these four points, they might decline to handle your case.
The Anticipated Damages Are Too Low
Just about every personal injury law firm in the state of Oklahoma runs on a contingency fee basis. This billing policy means that you do not need to pay them any money upfront. They take their legal fee as a percentage of your eventual compensatory award – usually in the neighborhood of one-third.
Attorneys who operate on a contingent fee basis regularly decline to work on personal injury cases in which the anticipated compensation is too low. They do so because they will not be able to cover their costs with the cut of the payout that they receive.
If, for example, the expected compensatory award in your suit is $15,000, and your attorney would need to spend $6,000 pursuing it, they will have little choice but to decline to represent you. Their one-third portion would only pay them $5,000 – leaving them with a loss of $1,000.
Need More Info About the Reasons Why a Personal Injury Lawyer Won’t Take Your Case?
Do you want to learn more about the many reasons why a personal injury lawyer won’t take your case? If so, place a phone call to the experienced legal team at the McGuire Law Firm at your earliest convenience. We are always ready to assist our friends and neighbors in Oklahoma City.