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Why A Lawyer Might Pass On An Injury Case

by Jamie Nichols

As a personal injury lawyer examines a case that someone has brought to them, there are a variety of factors that have to be taken into account. If a personal injury attorney has decided not to take on your case, you may be wondering why that happened.

Legal Ethics Concerns

While it's unlikely that any single lawyer you meet with will have a history with someone involved in the case, there is always the potential for it to happen. For example, an attorney might have previously represented the defendant while they were working in another job. If you are suing a city government, it's possible that a lawyer may have worked for the city years ago, producing potential conflicts. In most instances like these, a personal injury attorney will pass on a case in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

There Isn't a Clear Defendant to Pursue

Suppose you were walking along the sidewalk and end up in a slip-and-fall accident because the sidewalk had numerous cracks and heaves in it. In some jurisdictions, the responsible party for taking care of the sidewalk is the property owner. It turns out, however, that there is no owner for the property. It has been abandoned.

In this situation, it isn't clear who you could sue under your state's laws. Unless there is an estate left because the property lapsed into abandonment after the death of the owner, there's a good chance the case may not be possible to pursue.

Liability Cannot Be Established

Another requirement under personal injury law is that the defendant has to be liable for what happened. First, you have to demonstrate that a personal injury happened and that the thing you're complaining about was the proximate cause of your injury. Second, you have to show that the defendant had a responsibility to take care of the proximate cause, such as a business keeping its entryways clear of melting.

Finally, there has to be evidence that the defendant knew there was an issue and failed to address it in a timely manner. For example, if you slipped and fell because a bottle of soda was spilled by a customer right next to you, it's hard to argue the store could have reasonably addressed the problem within those few seconds. Conversely, a history of similar problems in a location might be turned up during discovery and that may provide grounds for a claim. For more information, reach out to law firms like Steele Law Offices, LLC.