If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, naturally you want to obtain justice. You should always contact a personal injury law firm under these circumstances because you have nothing to lose and potentially much to gain. But keep in mind that an attorney may not always be able to assist you, even if you're hurt through no fault of your own.
Here are some common reasons why a law firm may not be able to take your case.
You’re not injured, or your injuries don’t meet the criteria.
When an attorney files a personal injury lawsuit, usually they’re seeking to recover lost wages, medical expenses, and compensation for pain and suffering. If you haven’t missed any work or had any medical expenses, you can’t recover either of the first two types of damages.
Regarding pain and suffering, many states require that the plaintiff have what’s called a threshold injury, meaning one that is permanent or severe. You can have an injury which leaves you in significant pain and affects your life short-term, but it may not be considered serious enough (in a legal sense) to allow for pain and suffering damages. For example, if you've only seen a chiropractor and taken over-the-counter medicine, your medical expenses won't be very high, and there won't be much an attorney can recover on your behalf.
Attorneys can’t recover expenses that don’t exist. If you don’t have some combination of these damages, it will be hard to pursue a case.
The other party wasn’t responsible for your injury.
To recover compensation from another party’s insurance company, that party must have acted negligently in a way that caused or contributed to your injuries. For example, if you slipped and fell on someone’s property, your attorney would need to prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition (such as a puddle or ice patch) that caused your injury.
In situations where no one was at fault, it’s not clear who was at fault, or where you were responsible for your own injuries, it’s tough if not impossible to prove that you are entitled to compensation. For this reason, a law firm is likely to turn down your case.
The at-fault party doesn’t have insurance.
Most often, personal injury attorneys file lawsuits against insurance companies, not individuals. Unfortunately, sometimes the amount of insurance coverage that the other party has is not enough to cover the injured person’s medical expenses, or to fully compensate them for their injuries. In these situations, a lawyer may not be able to pursue a case because there is no way to recover what the injured party needs and deserves.
If the person responsible for your injuries is uninsured, or has extremely limited coverage, a firm may regrettably be unable to help you.
A law or statute forbids it.
There are scenarios in which attorneys are legally prohibited from filing a personal injury lawsuit, such as the following:
- Conflict of interest: A lawyer can’t represent both sides in a car crash, for example.
- Government immunity: Often attorneys are unable to sue the government, or at least have a very narrow window in which to do so. There are exceptions, such as a police officer crashing into someone when they’re not pursuing a criminal, but these are rare.
- State or local laws: Every state has its own laws that determine if and when a lawsuit can be filed. Some of these laws may seem unfair, but if they block someone from pursuing a case, the attorney’s hands are tied.
- Statute of limitations: Every state also has its own statute of limitations — a deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed. (Usually this is two, three, or four years after an incident has occurred.) Attorneys can’t file a case after that deadline except in rare circumstances. Additionally, because they need time to investigate a potential case before filing a complaint, if the deadline is too close they may have to turn the case down.
Even considering all of the factors above, you should never assume you don’t qualify for a lawsuit. Always speak with an attorney to find out for sure.
Plus, even if you haven’t been physically injured in an auto accident, slip-and-fall, or another incident, we may be able to help you with one of the following:
- Business interruption
- Business litigation
- Data breach
- Defective products
- Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Insurance disputes
- Product liability
- Social Security/disability
- Unpaid overtime
- Whistleblower/qui tam
- Workers’ compensation
- Workplace discrimination
As America’s largest personal injury law firm, Morgan & Morgan has over 500 trial-ready attorneys who may be able to help you recover the compensation you need to put your life back together. Over the past 30 years, we’ve recovered more than $7 billion for our clients. Best of all, it costs nothing up front to hire us, and we get paid only if you win.
Don’t miss your chance at justice. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.