Despite what you are told by some politicians and by some corporations, the civil courts in our nation are not filled with frivolous lawsuits. An experienced Indiana personal injury attorney, for example, closely scrutinizes a case before accepting that case and fighting on a client’s behalf.
If you become injured because of someone else’s negligence in this state, you are probably wondering if you have grounds for a personal injury claim. If you try to hire a personal injury lawyer, but you can’t find a lawyer who will handle your case, you will want to know why.
If you’ll continue reading, you will learn several reasons why particular injury attorneys may not be interested in handling particular personal injury cases. You will also learn how an injury attorney decides to handle – or to not handle – a particular personal injury claim.
WHAT IS THE CONTINGENT FEE SYSTEM AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Generally speaking, the reasons why a personal injury lawyer will turn down a case fall into two broad categories: financial reasons and legal reasons. However, for a full understanding of how injury lawyers choose cases, the “contingent fee” system needs to be explained first.
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis. When an injury attorney takes your case, you pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your lawyer wins compensation on your behalf with a jury verdict or an out-of-court settlement.
It’s a system that allows every injured victim of negligence to have a fair day in court without regard to that victim’s financial circumstances.
WHAT RISK DOES A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER TAKE?
But the contingent fee system additionally means that when an injury attorney takes a case, he or she is also taking a risk. No specific outcome can ever be absolutely guaranteed in a personal injury case – especially if the case cannot be settled privately and goes to a jury trial.
Therefore, attorneys handle only the personal injury cases that they believe they can win.
This is inherently good for most personal injury victims because it means that your attorney will be motivated to do the best possible work on your behalf. If your personal injury claim fails, the attorney does not get paid and suffers the loss of his or her time and effort.
WHAT IF THE PERSON WHO INJURED YOU HAS NO RESOURCES?
Frivolous claims are immediately rejected by any good injury attorney. But even if your injury claim holds up legally in a technical sense, it may be rejected because the value of the claim is just not enough or because the chances of actually collecting – even if you win – are slim.
Even if you are legally “in the right,” bringing a personal injury action against someone who is broke and who has no insurance coverage is almost never a good idea.
In such cases, unless another party with liability can be identified, or unless one of your own insurance policies provides some type of applicable coverage, you may just have to suffer the loss. In some cases, that’s the unfortunate reality.
WHAT KINDS OF INJURIES GENERATE PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS?
Another hard truth about personal injury law is that you must suffer a serious injury in order to be entitled to compensation. The law provides compensation only for serious personal injuries that genuinely require treatment by a healthcare professional.
If you have only suffered scrapes, scratches, and a couple of minor bruises in an automobile accident, for example, you have no case. Those are minor injuries that heal quickly, and whatever medical care is required is usually inexpensive – and available from a first-aid kit.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN TO YOUR CASE IF YOU DON’T ACT PROMPTLY?
If you wait too long to speak to a lawyer about a personal injury, you’ll find that Indiana’s statute of limitations for taking legal action based on a personal injury – two years – is an immovable object. If two years have passed and you have not acted, an Indiana court will not hear your case.
In fact, the key to prevailing with a personal injury claim is taking the right steps immediately. Seek medical treatment at once, and then speak promptly with an injury lawyer. The memories of the witnesses can fade and the evidence in a case can deteriorate quickly – or simply get lost.
While the Indiana statute of limitations gives you two years to act, you may have less time than that. Many auto insurance policies require you to file an injury claim within a year of an accident-related injury.
WHAT’S THE WISEST STEP TO TAKE IF YOU ARE INJURED BY NEGLIGENCE?
But whether you are injured in a traffic crash or in some other accident scenario, immediately putting an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney on your case is the wisest move that an injured victim of negligence can make.
As noted previously, scrapes, scratches, and other minor injuries are not enough for a personal injury claim. You must be seriously injured, but a serious injury alone still is not enough for an injury claim.
Your injury must be the result of another party’s negligence, and to prevail with your claim, you must be able to prove that the party you name as a defendant was in fact negligent and that the negligence was a direct cause of your serious injury.
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE A PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
If you were at fault for a traffic crash, or if the largest share of the fault was yours, you probably can’t recover damages. You can usually sue for a dog bite – but not if you were trespassing. If you slip on a wet floor in a supermarket, and you suffer only embarrassment, you have no case.
In other words, every case is unique, and a personal injury lawyer in this state will thoughtfully and thoroughly consider all of the facts and details before making the final determination to accept or reject a case.
WHAT ARE INJURY ATTORNEYS LOOKING FOR?
Do not let anything that you have read here give you the impression that injury lawyers are looking for reasons to reject cases. They are looking for reasons to accept cases. If personal injury lawyers do not have cases, they don’t have work.
In the state of Indiana, if you believe that you’ve been seriously injured because someone else was negligent, it costs nothing to discuss your legal rights and options with an experienced Indiana injury lawyer.
Your first consultation is free, and there is no obligation. If you’ve been injured by negligence, make the call now. A good attorney’s help is your right.