Jill Kolodner | June 9, 2020 | Personal Injury
Deciding to file a personal injury case can be a complicated matter. The insurance claims adjuster may try to convince you that you do not need an attorney. However, you have the right to consult with a lawyer regarding your injury claim.
In most cases, it is beneficial to talk to a personal injury attorney in Baltimore before settling an injury claim, providing a statement, or signing any waivers or other documents for the insurance company.
Once you settle your claim, you cannot demand more money if you discover that your claim was worth more than the insurance company offered for settlement. The time to talk to an accident lawyer is before you agree to a settlement.
What Happens If An Attorney Will Not Take My Case?
You may talk to an attorney only to discover that the attorney is not willing to take your personal injury case. If an attorney tells you that he or she will not take your case, ask the attorney to explain the reason. It can be helpful to know this information if you choose to consult with another attorney.
Five common reasons why an attorney refuses to take a personal injury case in Maryland include:
1. The Attorney Has a Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest is a situation in which two concerns or the goals of two parties are incompatible. The Maryland Attorneys’ Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit an attorney from representing a client if that representation could adversely impact another client.
Therefore, an attorney may decline to take a personal injury case if the attorney has a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest could arise if the attorney has represented any of the other parties to the case. For example, the attorney represents the trucking company that employs the truck driver who caused your accident.
2. There is Insufficient Evidence to Prove Fault
There must be sufficient evidence to prove that the other party’s actions or inactions caused your injury. If there is insufficient evidence to prove fault, the attorney may not take the case because he cannot win the case.
For instance, you slipped and fell while at the grocery store. However, there is no evidence that your fall was caused by a dangerous or hazardous condition, such as a slippery surface or damaged flooring. Without evidence that the property owner breached the duty of care owed to visitors and guests, you cannot win the case.
3. You Contributed to the Cause of Your Injury
Maryland is one of three other states and the District of Columbia to adopt the harshest standard for contributory negligence. Under the state’s pure contributory negligence theory, if a person contributed to the cause of his or her injury, the person is barred from recovering any compensation for an injury.
Therefore, if your action contributed to your injury, the attorney may not take your case because you are barred by law from receiving any money for a personal injury claim. Insurance companies often use contributory negligence to try to avoid paying valid claims. Therefore, you may want to talk to another attorney about your case.
Contributory negligence is a defense that must be raised in court. The other party must prove you contributed to the cause of your injury. Another attorney may have a different opinion of whether the other side can prove contributory negligence.
4. Your Injuries Were Not Severe
The severity of injuries is one of the most important factors used to calculate the value of your personal injury claim. In cases involving minor injuries, it could cost the attorney more money in time and expenses than the fee would equal for the case. Therefore, the attorney may turn down the personal injury case for financial reasons.
5. The Statute of Limitations Has Expired
A Statute of Limitations limits the time a person has to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file your claim before the deadline, you lose your legal right to hold the other party responsible for your damages.
An attorney may turn down a personal injury case if the Statute of Limitations has expired. In Maryland, most personal injury cases must be filed within three years from the date of the incident or injury.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you are unsure whether you need a personal injury attorney, it can be a wise choice to talk to an attorney. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so you do not lose anything by talking to an attorney. The attorney explains your legal rights, in addition to giving you an opinion about your case.
After meeting with a personal injury lawyer, you have a better idea of how to proceed with your injury claim.