Over the course of my career as a personal injury attorney, I have had the unfortunate experience of explaining to countless injured individuals that I am unable to handle their case. While this is never an easy conversation, any skilled personal injury attorney will tell you that it is a necessary part of the job.
In this blog post, I will explain how and why we make these decisions, and what you can do to maximize the chance that an attorney will take your case.
The first thing that must be understood is that a vast majority of personal injury attorneys handle cases on a contingent fee basis. In short, this normally means that the attorney will advance all costs necessary to pursue the case, and that these costs, along with an attorney’s fee, will only be recovered if a recovery is made in the case. As the costs of handling injury cases can be quite high, a skilled personal injury attorney will do everything possible to evaluate the facts of the case and make a decision before committing significant costs to the case. Many times, this decision is made during the first meeting with the client.
In light of this, there are a few things that I am looking for during this first meeting that will assist in my decision to accept or decline the case. First, and probably most importantly, I am looking to determine that the potential client has a significant injury and that they are getting appropriate medical treatment. Unfortunately, I frequently have to reject cases with potentially significant injuries due to the fact that the potential client has received little to no medical treatment. It is important to understand that your attorney can only prove your injuries in court if you receive treatment.
The second thing I am evaluating during an initial intake is liability. I want to make sure that I will be able to prove that the responsible party was at fault. At intake, I like to see some type of evidence to support this. In general, photographs, video, and eye witnesses are the most helpful types of evidence for this purpose. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the injury to make sure that this type of evidence can be preserved.
If you or someone you know is seriously injured due to the negligence of someone else, please contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Stark & Stark for a free consultation.