How Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Decide to Take My Case?
April 9, 2019 Published in Personal Injury
If you recently experienced an incident in which someone else’s actions caused injuries to you or a loved one, you may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits can provide you with valuable relief from the medical and financial burdens you suffered as a result of your injury. However, even if you believe you have a solid case and should pursue compensation for your injuries, each lawyer retains the right to take on your case or deny assistance.
Before you schedule a slate of free consultations, it is important to determine how likely an injury lawyer is to accept your case. This post will provide a list of factors our Springfield personal injury lawyers take into consideration when evaluating potential cases.
Who Caused the Incident?
Liability is the number one factor in any personal injury case, and refers to the fault assigned for the incident. Refer to documentation regarding the incident, including police reports, witness reports, statements by the other party, and your own recollections of the incident. Potential lawyers will use all of this information to determine which party an insurance company, judge, or jury is likely to consider at fault.
If documentation states that you caused the incident, most lawyers will decline to take your case. Logically speaking, if you caused the incident, you likely caused your injuries. As a result a judge, jury, or insurance company will reach the same conclusion and award you no compensation.
If you and another party share fault for the incident, a lawyer may take your case if he or she believes you stand to receive a fairly large settlement worth the time and effort of litigation. Since Illinois is a comparative negligence state, you may pursue compensation for your damages even if you accept 99% of the fault for the incident. However, the courts will reduce your compensation by your percentage of fault. For instance, if you are 80% at fault for injuries resulting in $100,000 in damages, you only receive $20,000 in compensation.
If the documents state that the other party assumes fault for the incident, a lawyer is more likely to take your case. Cases where liability clearly rests with the other party often result in the plaintiff receiving full compensation for injuries sustained.
Did the Incident Cause Significant Damages?
Personal injury lawyers often work on a contingency basis, meaning your lawyer will only receive payment when you receive a settlement for the damages you incurred. Typically, contingency fees average about 33%, meaning that a $10,000 settlement results in a $3,300 payment for your lawyer. If your injuries, medical bills, and other damages are minimal, you may experience difficulty getting a lawyer to take your case, since minimal compensation results in minimal fees for your lawyer.
Does Your Claim Seem Legitimate?
Often, lawyers will look at your behavior after the incident to determine whether your claim will read as legitimate to a judge or jury. If you failed to obtain medical treatment within a reasonable time after the incident – usually about 72 hours – a lawyer may conclude your injuries did not warrant treatment. If you failed to continue follow-up treatment or otherwise ignored your physicians’ advice, a lawyer may see your case as at risk for dismissal.
Will Your Case Require Time and Costly Resources?
If your case involves multiple defendants and more than one insurance company, litigation will prove time-consuming. Similarly, cases requiring a great deal of expert testimony, such as medical malpractice cases, require additional time and fees to secure the witnesses. If your case does not result in a sufficient settlement amount, a lawyer may refuse your case.
Overall, our Illinois personal injury lawyers accept cases with minimal risk for sufficient reward – a high settlement. If the circumstances of your case are in doubt, if your damages present minimal reward, or if your fault level presents a high risk, you may experience difficulty finding a lawyer to accept your case.