Stephen Hasner | Personal Injury | November 5, 2019
After an unexpected car accident in Atlanta, you may have the right to seek compensation from whoever caused you to get hurt. Insurance claims and lawsuits can be complicated and time-consuming. You might decide that you want to enlist the help of an Atlanta personal injury lawyer. However, just because you call an attorney for help doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll agree to take your case or represent you.
There are a lot of different reasons why this might be true. Here are four of the most common reasons.
You Share Responsibility For the Accident
When you meet with an attorney to discuss your case, they’ll ask to give them a breakdown of what happened. They’ll ask a lot of questions. One reason for this is to determine what role – if any – you played in causing the accident.
In Georgia, just because you share fault for an accident doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue compensation. However, there are two important things to know.
First, you’ll be barred from recovering damages if you’re more than 50 percent of the blame for an accident. If a lawyer believes that you might be allocated most of the fault for an accident, they might decline to take your case.
Second, if you do share less than half of the blame, your damages will be reduced to reflect that. If you’re allocated 40 percent of the blame, your damages will be reduced by 40 percent. So, let’s say you suffer $5,000 in damages. That would be reduced by 40 percent. So, at the end of the day, you could recover, at most, $3,000. An attorney might decide that the time and effort to handle your case might not be worth the potential payout.
Your Case Isn’t Worth What You Think It is
An attorney might not want to take your case, even if you share zero fault for the accident that caused you to get hurt. Why? Maybe your injuries just aren’t that severe. The value of your case – the potential settlement or award – is based on a lot of different factors.
One really important one is the extent of your injuries. The more severe your injuries, the more your case is likely worth. A severe injury often means high medical bills, a lot of pain and suffering, and an inability to work. A severe injury can also lead to disfigurement or permanent disability. Those damages can be worth a lot.
If you’ve only suffered minor injuries, your damages might be on the low side. That means there’s not a lot in terms of compensation for your lawyer if they win your case. An attorney might decide to take other cases with higher projected payouts, instead.
You’ve Already Talked to Several Other Attorneys
Most personal injury lawyers in Atlanta offer free consultations to prospective clients. There are plenty of reasons to get a second opinion, or even a third. However, an attorney might begin to suspect that something is wrong if you’ve brought your case to several other attorneys in town – only to have them turn you down. This could indicate that you’re withholding details or that other lawyers have identified a fatal flaw in your case. That might make other attorneys hesitant to take on your case.
There’s a Conflict of Interest
Attorneys who practice in the state of Georgia are held to high ethical standards. The State Bar of Georgia has certain Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers. Some of these rules dictate when an attorney cannot represent a prospective client. As a general rule, an attorney in Georgia “shall not represent or continue to represent a client if there is a significant risk that the lawyer’s own interests or the lawyer’s duties to another client, a former client, or a third person will materially and adversely affect the representation of the client.”
There are certain exceptions and limitations. However, it’s important to understand that an attorney has to consider whether accepting your case would be a conflict of interest or pose any ethical problems. If they believe it might, then they might decline to help you with your personal injury case. When this happens, however, the attorney might refer you to someone else in the area who they think might be able to assist you with your lawsuit.