An unfortunate part of the way our legal system is setup is that in some instances there is “legal redress” for victims. What this means is that while someone may be injured, there is either no vehicle for them to be compensated in the law or it is very difficult and costly to do so. Being the victim of someone else’s negligence should certainly mean that someone has to pay for it.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case for a few reasons. Many people are unaware of how lawyers handle contingency cases or the law that relates to the claim. The following are a few reasons why a car accident lawyer may not take your case.
Evaluating the Case
Among others, a car accident attorney will look at three main things to determine whether or not to accept your case. These are 1) liability; 2) damages; and 3) collectability.
First and foremost, a car accident lawyer must determine who is at fault, or if it can be proven who is at fault. If you’re the at fault driver and there is no negligence on the part of the other party, then there is no case.
Lawyers will determine if the plaintiff can meet the burden of proof, if the defendant can be held responsible under the law, facts of the case, actions or inactions of the party, and if the law favors or disfavors the victim. Situations where there is a dispute about a green or red light can be more difficult to prove compared to a rear end accident. All of these considerations must be weighed by the lawyer before taking a case.
There is a common misconception that any injury means compensation. If you’re the at fault driver, then you’re the liable one. To have a proper car accident claim, you can’t be at fault.
Damages is the next step. Even if you’re not at fault, if you don’t have any actual and provable damage or injury, then your claim has little value. Damages are things like medical bills, lost wages, lost property, and mental and physical pain and suffering. Simply because a dangerous situation existed doesn’t mean you’re entitled to compensation.
For example, if you’re in a car accident that is almost very serious, but you aren’t injured, then your claim has little value. There must be a documented injury confirmed by a doctor stemming from the accident for there to be a claim. While I agree these situations can be extremely unnerving and scary, there are no damages for “almost” when it comes to car accidents.
This is also a big one. So let’s say we have confirmed you’re not at fault, you were injured and went to the doctor. You have evidence of being injured. But then the person who hit you doesn’t have insurance or assets. And your insurance policy doesn’t have uninsured motorist coverage. Then unfortunately, there is nothing for you to collect.
Unless there is an insurance policy or assets to pull from, then there simply isn’t any money to compensate the victim. This is why we stress getting car insurance with limits of minimum $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury and the same for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The only person you should count on for coverage is yourself. Too many people on the road drive with low limits or without insurance.
Law firms are businesses and have to make business decisions. While one law firm may not take a case due to one of the above reasons, another might be willing to. Don’t be deterred if one law office says no. Even when we don’t take a case, we always encourage people to continue their search for another lawyer.
My name is Daniel Hanecak and I am a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer. I know from personal experience how stressful and time consuming a car accident can be. When you call Hanecak Law Inc., you will speak with me directly. It is my aim to provide you with free and friendly advice. Call me today at 858-206-4DAN for a free case evaluation.