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Why Was My Case Dropped?

ELI5: Negligence

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Nothing can be more difficult to carry than the burden of injuries. Although personal injury attorneys work to ensure that you don’t have to carry the burden of injury alone, we can’t help everyone. There are some cases where the client would be better off dropping the case and accepting the initial settlement offer. But why do attorneys drop cases? Below are some of the most common reasons.

THE INCIDENT CAN’T BE VERIFIED

In order to have a good personal injury claim, there needs to be at least some documentation. For example, if you broke your leg in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, a personal injury attorney will need to see documentation such as police reports, and medical records. If no such documentation exists, it may be difficult for the attorney to definitively prove that the accident was the proximate cause of your injuries, or that the injury exists in the first place. If you are injured in a car accident, it’s important that there’s a paper trail documenting the accident. After the accident, it’s always a good idea to exchange insurance information with the other party involved in the accident. Depending on your circumstances and your location, you may also need to contact the police to file a report. If an attorney needs to take a case to trial, they need to present the jury with evidence of what happened; the jury isn’t just going to take the attorney’s word for it. 

YOU DIDN’T GET TREATMENT

Insurance companies love denying claims, and because they’re trying to turn a profit, they’ll look for any reason to deny a claim. If you’re injured, but you wait too long to get treatment, or you refuse the treatment that the medical professionals offered you, the insurance company may try to argue that you weren’t really injured. If you do get treatment, but you wait too long to get it, the insurance company may try to say that you didn’t really need treatment and you’re just trying to “pad” your claim, or that something else caused the injury. For this reason, we always advise our clients who are injured to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. Of course, if you’re really hurt, you’re not going to need an attorney to tell you that you should probably go to the doctor.

DAMAGING EVIDENCE

During your consultation with a personal injury attorney, it’s in your best interest to tell them everything you can about your case. If an attorney asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, it’s better to tell them that you don’t know than to guess. Most people don’t blatantly lie during their consultation. But, because ordinary people don’t have a vast knowledge of personal injury law, they may accidentally leave out important information. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, but you neglected to tell your attorney that your gigantic rottweiler was sitting in your lap while you were driving and the accident occurred, your attorney may need to drop the case. This is especially true if the attorney feels that the opposing side can successfully argue that the 100 lb dog on your lap compromised your ability to drive in any way, and that you may be at fault.

THE EXPERTS DON’T AGREE

Depending on the type of personal injury claim, experts may be hired to review the case and the evidence then testify for the plaintiff. For example, if you go in for a nose job, but they accidentally give you liposuction, an unbiased expert, such as a cosmetic surgeon, may review the case and testify on the plaintiff’s behalf. They may be able to give the jury additional insight into the negligence that caused the damages, and the extent of the damages themselves. But, every now and then, an expert’s opinion doesn’t agree with the personal injury claim. Let’s say that you woke up from a tonsillectomy, you experienced soreness and eventually developed an infection. You find a medical malpractice attorney who agrees to take your case. They hire an expert, but the expert says that soreness and infection are completely normal side effects, not evidence of medical malpractice. In this case, the attorney may need to drop your case because the experts don’t agree that medical malpractice has occurred.

THEY FIND OUT THEY CAN’T HELP

If you’ve been injured in an accident, and you win compensation for your injuries, do you know who pays for your medical bills? Depending on the circumstances, there’s a good chance it’s going to be an insurance company. But what happens when there’s no insurance? Well, in that case, you could try to sue the person that caused the crash directly. However, if the at fault party doesn’t have any assets, they aren’t going to be able to compensate you. Furthermore, when we say “assets” we’re mostly referring to liquid assets. Though technically possible, it’s extremely unlikely that a defendant would be ordered to sell their primary residence in order to liquidate their assets and compensate the plaintiff. So, if the person has no assets, and they don’t have insurance, it may be difficult for an attorney to help you win the compensation you need. There may be attorneys who will take your case, but the good ones will tell you that there’s not enough money available for you to be compensated, and that taking more money out of your pocket in the form of attorney’s fees isn’t going to help you.

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