You slipped and fell at your neighbor’s pool party, and now want to sue them. To your surprise, the first personal injury attorney you met with declined your case. Does this mean that you don’t have a case at all?
Possibly, but not necessarily. Personal injury attorneys decline cases for any one of a number of reasons. Some of the more common ones are listed below.
- You were not seriously hurt
If you were lucky and suffered only minor bruising when you slipped and fell, then your injuries were likely not severe enough to have a significant financial impact on your quality of life. In other words, you did not suffer enough physically or mentally to warrant compensation.
- The accident is not legally a personal injury
A personal injury is the result of another party’s negligent or deliberate misconduct. If you meet with an attorney and they conclude that you weren’t hurt due to the potential defendant’s carelessness or willful malice, they won’t take your case.
- You were injured on government property
If you were hurt on public property, such as a sidewalk owned by the municipality, then the process is not as straightforward. You need to file a notice of claim and take action within the statute of limitations on claims against the government. Some personal injury attorneys don’t take cases involving a government defendant, so if you are refused once, seek a lawyer who advertises for such clients.
- You jeopardized your own case
Anything you say and do, especially on social media, can potentially damage your case. If you took partial blame for a car accident, failed to get medical treatment after an injury, or appeared on social media doing activities that are inconsistent with your claimed injuries, then most personal injury attorneys will see your case as “unwinnable” and refuse to take it.
- You were not honest with the attorney
Some would-be plaintiffs are so eager for representation that they will lie to or mislead an attorney to persuade them to take the case. If you admitted fault at an accident site, indulged in brief negotiations with an insurance company, or publicly discussed your case and the attorney finds out after the fact, then they will probably withdraw, even if the case is in progress.
Remember: no personal injury attorney is obligated to take your case. Like most other professionals, they can pick and choose their clients. If they don’t foresee a favorable outcome to your case, lack the practical expertise (e.g., they don’t do medical malpractice suits and you want to sue a doctor), or are even planning a lengthy sabbatical, then they likely won’t take you on as a client. Make an appointment with another attorney and, if they also decline, revisit the viability of your claim.
If you have any questions about a potential personal injury case, then contact Jayson Lutzky, P.C. Mr. Lutzky is an accident and personal injury lawyer with an office in the Morris Park area of the Bronx. Free in-person initial consultations are available and home or hospital visits may be available in the case of serious injury. Mr. Lutzky can evaluate your case using his 35+ years of legal experience and advise you on your next steps. Call 718-329-9500 to set up your appointment.