If you have the misfortune to be injured in a car accident, accident at work or an accident in a public place that you believe was not your fault, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you won’t be short of choice when it comes to getting a solicitor to take on your claim.
After all TV, radio and social media, are awash with adverts for No Win, No Fee personal injury solicitors.
There are plenty of personal injury compensation claims solicitors out there. The competition for work is fierce.
Nevertheless, there will be people reading this, who have found themselves the injured victims of accidents that weren’t their fault and who have had perfectly valid accident claims rejected by solicitors, at the first time of asking.
How can this happen, in this highly competitive area of law? More to the point, what can you do if your personal injury claim gets rejected?
Why has my personal injury claim been rejected by a solicitor?
Not all personal injury solicitors are the same. Some will have different priorities, alternative ways of assessing claims and dare we say it, varying levels of skill sets.
Solicitors may put forward a variety of different reasons for rejecting your claim:
1. It has no reasonable prospects of success
When a firm of solicitors tell you that your claim has no reasonable chances of success, it means that in the opinion of the solicitor, paralegal or clerk that has reviewed the details of your claim, they do not think that you have a better than 50:50 chance of winning your claim, if it ever got to court.
Some cases are black and white in favour of one party to the accident.
However, there are many other circumstances in which accidents can occur, and not all are so clear cut.
The decision on whether a particular firm of solicitors takes on your claim depends on the opinion of someone at the law firm.
Has the decision been taken by one person or do several people at the firm look at each case to provide more than one opinion?
You won’t know the answer to that (although just one person has likely decided it).
How experienced is the person that has looked at the case?
You may be able to gauge that by checking out their website profile, although, with some larger firms, some levels of staff may not have their bios on the site.
You might conclude from this, that sometimes your claim may be turned down, not because it has insufficient prospects of succeeding, but because the person deciding to reject your claim is:
- too inexperienced,
- lacks the necessary skills or
- does not have sufficient authority to take even a modicum of risk.
2. Your claim is nearing the time limit for making a claim
In most personal injury claims, there is a time limit of three years in which to make or bring a claim. This time starts running in the case of most accidents, on the date that the accident occurs.
In some cases, the time starts running at a later date. That is known as the ‘date of knowledge’. Usually though, the clock starts ticking the moment that the accident that has caused your injuries, takes place.
This period is known as the Limitation period.
Within these three years, if your solicitors have not settled your claim beforehand, then they must file the papers to start proceedings at court before the three years is up. If they do not, then your claim will be time-barred, meaning that you cannot pursue it any further. If that happened, you would have a strong case for suing your solicitor for negligence.
It is out of fear of what is known as, ‘missing limitation’ that many solicitors firms will impose a rule that they will not take on new claims where the limitation date is fast approaching.
For some firms, this rule may be that they will not take on claims that are only three months away from the limitation date i.e. the last date on which court proceedings need to be commenced.
For others, the rule maybe six months or even a year.
It’s possible to do a lot of work in a year or six months. It’s possible to do a lot in 3 months.
Some firms set too hard and fast a rule about taking on claims that are nearing Limitation. They show no flexibility based on the individual characteristics of the particular claim.
This attitude can often say a lot about a firm’s aversion to risk. In other words, some solicitors default setting is to over-err on the side of caution, to the detriment of you, the prospective client.
3. The value of your claim is too low
Some claims are turned down by solicitors because the value of the claim is too low for them to bother with. They don’t think that the financial returns justify them taking on the injury claim.
Whether they say that to you, in so many words, is doubtful.
Over the past few years, the government have introduced legislation making it less profitable for solicitors to take on certain types of lower value personal injury claims, on a No Win, No Fee basis. This is particularly so, in the case of road traffic accident injury claims.
There are still many firms who will accept your instructions, because they have an efficient way of dealing with them. There are solicitors firms, like Mooneerams Solicitors of Cardiff, who also feel that they have an obligation to help those people who would otherwise go uncompensated, where they have a perfectly reasonable personal injury claim.
4. Other factors (that you may not have been made aware of)
Some firms may not give you any, or any clear reason as to why they turned down your claim. However, their reasons for doing so, may be for one of the following reasons:
- The firm’s commercial appetite (or lack of) for taking on your claim. It may be that the firm that rejects your claim, has made an internal decision to turn away claims that they don’t think will return enough profit for them.
- Firms differ in their views on risk. As already mentioned in connection with taking on claims near to Limitation and not taking a chance on cases that are not 100% sure fire winners in terms of liability. Some firms will not take any risk at all.
- There are firms that simply ‘do not fancy’ certain types of claim. If your claim is rejected on this basis, you are unlikely to be told the true reason.
However, it is a known fact that some firms do not like to take on, for instance, trip, slip and fall compensation claims that are made against local authorities. This is because they are often made to fight all the way to court, even in cases with every prospect of success. There are some solicitors who don’t like to issue court proceedings and who much prefer cases where they can get the case settled very quickly.
- Fee earner capacity. This is another reason that will be an internal decision. By that, we mean that you will again, most likely be given another reason why they aren’t going to accept your case. In reality, their solicitors, paralegals or clerks, may be carrying very heavy caseloads. If they consider your potential case is of low value, (to them, in terms of return on investment) it may be turned down, when a case of higher value would not be.
At Mooneerams we feel particularly strongly about cases being rejected for this reason. Our lawyers are solicitors, not ‘fee earners’; their job is to maximise your claim for compensation, not the fees that they/we earn .
Not all firms of solicitors are the same
This time, we mean this in the nicest possible sense.
If you find yourself in the position of having had your claim rejected by a personal injury lawyer, please do take at least, this one piece of advice, from this article.
“If your personal injury claim has been rejected by a solicitor, you are entitled to get a second opinion from another personal injury solicitor and we strongly advise you to do so!“
How do I get a second opinion about my claim?
You may have originally been recommended to the previous solicitor that you tried, by:
- your insurance company,
- an accident management company or
- a friend.
You may have found the firm by searching on the internet.
Since you have reached this point in our article, you might want to consider us, as an alternative solution to your problem.
At Mooneerams solicitors, we are expert personal injury solicitors. We’ve been in the business of taking on and winning personal injury claims for clients, for over 18 years. We only deal with personal injury claims on behalf of claimants. That means we act for ordinary people, not insurance companies or local authorities.
If you have been turned down by another solicitor, call us on 029 2048 3615 and speak to one of the Mooneerams team. We are a friendly but highly knowledgeable and professional bunch.
We’ll listen and then take a fresh look at the circumstances of your claim. If we can’t make an immediate decision (because we need to get some supporting evidence from a witness) we’ll tell you why and what we are doing. You will be kept in the loop throughout.
If we decide that there are reasonable prospects of success, we will advise you accordingly. We will do everything to try and make sure that we can pursue an accident claim for you.
We offer a free consultation to all prospective clients. Under normal circumstances that can involve us coming to see you at home.
In most cases, if you ask us to take on your personal injury claim we will be able to fund it by means of a No Win, No Fee arrangement.
Call us for a free chat about pursuing a claim now on 029 2049 3615 or leave your details using the form on this page and we’ll call you back. You can also send us your details via our contact page.