You had a car accident and you’ve called every Queens car accident attorney, every Brooklyn car accident attorney and every attorney in Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island and they’ve all told you to get lost. You don’t understand – you were injured, and it wasn’t your fault, so you’re wondering, “Why is every lawyer rejecting my case.?” Accident attorneys work on a contingency fee, meaning that they only get paid if they are successful. They don’t want cases that are likely losers, so it’s important to understand what might make your case a loser.
Do You Have A Serious Injury?
New York is a “no-fault” state. This means that vehicle owners are required to carry insurance that provides for “first-party” benefits such as medical bills and lost earnings up to $50,000. It also means that an action to collect additional money for pain and suffering, future lost earnings and other claims against the responsible party are prohibited unless you sustain a “serious injury” as required by law. A Judge can dismiss a case that does not meet the serious injury threshold, and knowing this insurance companies will not offer money to settle, and if they do, it’s called “nuisance value.” That said, many attorneys will take a simple auto accident case with “soft-tissue” injuries because sometimes these injuries will require surgery down the road, rendering them serious enough to meet the standard. If a case is complicated, or it’s against a particularly terrible insurance company, or, even worse, a municipality such as The City of New York, The Transit Authority or The Port Authority they will not want the case because these companies and entities never pay “nuisance value,” and will require a great deal of time and money to litigate against. So lawyers that advertise that they will handle cases with “soft-tissue injuries” are unlikely to take this type of case if it involves a difficult insurance company or a municipality.
Understanding Contingency Fees
Remember that you are expecting the Queens car accident attorney you are calling to accept your case on a contingency fee. This means that you are paying nothing up front for their services, so they must determine whether your case is a worthwhile investment. If a case cannot be easily settled, it might require years of work and a substantial investment of capital for court fees, deposition transcripts, interpreters, expert witness, accident reconstructionists, etc. So, if your injuries are not serious, an attorney might take your case on contingency if it’s not too complicated because if the case is dismissed or settled for a small amount, it is less likely that a great deal of time and money was invested. If your injuries are minor and your case is complicated, it’s unlikely that any reputable, experienced attorney will take the case. Beware of personal injury attorneys that offer to take your case on an hourly fee basis! If they consider your case a bad investment, so should you! When you pay an attorney with an hourly fee, the bill can skyrocket to tens of thousands of dollars before you know – and they will drop your case if you run out of money to pay them!
Trust the Opinion of a Reputable Attorney
After you’ve called several Queens Accident attorneys and a couple of Brooklyn accident attorneys and none of them will take your case, the best course would be to seriously consider that your case is not viable. It’s frustrating to accept this when you’ve been harmed, and it’s not your fault, but if your case does not meet the legal standards or is more expensive to prosecute than what is likely to be collected, it’s wise to know when to stop wasting your time. Wittenstein & Wittenstein has been helping injured people for more than 60 years. One call to us and you will know whether or not your case has merit. For a free consultation, call 718-261-8814 – you’ll be glad you did.