Why Won’t a Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer Take My Lawsuit?

Why Won’t a Harris County Wrongful Death Attorney Take My Case?

Accidents are sweeping Texans away. In 2020, more than 12,900 Texas residents died from accidents, and accidents were the fourth-leading cause of death in Texas that year. 

You may feel disoriented and confused if your loved one dies from an accident. But you can get closure and justice if you talk to a Harris County wrongful death attorney and pursue a wrongful death case. 

Yet a lawyer may not be willing to take your case. Before talking to attorneys, you need to understand why a Harris County lawyer would turn you down. 

What are the most critical wrongful death laws? How do lawyers determine the value of cases? What do you need to do to convince a lawyer to take your case? 

Answer these questions, and you can hire the perfect wrongful death lawyer to win your case. Here is your comprehensive guide.

You’re Not Eligible

Texas laws restrict who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Only immediate family members of someone who died a wrongful death can pursue a wrongful death case, and the children, the parents, and the surviving spouse can file a lawsuit. 

Adopted children and adoptive parents count as immediate family members, and a spouse in a common-law marriage also counts, but not a divorced spouse. Distant relatives, friends, and financial partners cannot file a lawsuit, even if they can claim damages. 

If you’re not eligible, there is nothing you can do besides encourage immediate family members to file. After three months, the executor of the deceased person’s estate can file a lawsuit if no one else has. No lawsuit will be filed if they decline to do or if immediate family members object.

The Statute of Limitations Has Passed

Texas laws also require the lawsuit to be filed with court officers within two years of the person’s death. There are a few exceptions to this rule.

If you are a minor filing the case, your statute runs after you turn 18. You have two years to file your lawsuit, though a parent or guardian can file one on your behalf at any time. 

The negligence in your case may not be apparent. The person who causes your loved one’s death may conceal what happened, or they may inflict an injury that you don’t find out about until you order an autopsy. You have to file a lawsuit two years after you find out about the negligence.

If you are incapacitated due to a medical emergency or injury, you have two years until you are competent again. You can also ask someone to file a lawsuit on your behalf. 

If you can prove that you fall under one of these exceptions, you may be able to file a lawsuit. But if you don’t have evidence you can file, you need to accept that a lawsuit will not happen.

Liability Isn’t Clear

To win your case, you must establish that the defendant is liable for your loved one’s death. In a car accident case, you have to show that they were driving the other car.

You also have to show that they acted recklessly, which resulted in the accident. If no one saw the accident and you don’t have physical evidence, you may be unable to prove liability. 

Texas juries can look at proportionate responsibility. If the jury believes you or your loved one was at 51% fault for the death, you will not win your case.

If your loved one’s fault were under 51%, the jury would reduce your damages by that percentage. A person who could claim $10,000 but was at 10% fault for their accident can claim a maximum of $9,000. A lawyer would decline your case if your loved one were at fault.

Damages Aren’t Clear

To file a lawsuit, you must be able to claim money from the defendant, and you can claim many different things in damages.

You can ask for the money you spent on your loved one’s healthcare expenses or claim money for your loved one’s pain and suffering. Some people claim money for their loss of companionship and their decline in their quality of life. Juries could punish defendants and require them to pay more money if their behavior was highly reckless. 

It would help if you had a precise dollar figure for your lawsuit. Gather bills and receipts and calculate how much you spent on your loved one’s care and additional expenses since the death. Go to your lawyer with that figure and file a lawsuit based on it.

You may get more money than you ask for. But it would help if you kept your expectations low. If you tell your lawyer you are expecting a lot of money, or if you approach them with a high dollar figure, they may decline your case because your expectations are unreasonable.

If you do not have clear proof of damages, a lawyer will not take your case. They are also less likely to take your case if you cannot claim much money. Even if the damages are apparent, the defendant may not be able to pay for them, so a lawyer has no financial incentive to take your case.

However, you may be able to get compensation from your insurer. You can ask your lawyer to talk to your insurer or the defendant’s insurer on your behalf. 

The Lawyer May Not Feel Qualified

Going to a personal injury lawyer for a wrongful death case is okay. However, many personal injury lawyers have experience with cases where no one died. Some lawyers feel that they should not take wrongful death cases if they don’t have experience with deaths. 

Within the category of wrongful death cases, there are several practice areas. Some lawyers specialize in car accidents, while others specialize in burn injuries.

You should always go to a lawyer in the practice area most related to your case. You can get advice from other lawyers, but try to find someone with experience in similar cases as yours. 

They Are Busy

A lawyer may have dozens of cases they are dealing with at once. They may decline to take your case because they need to focus on other things. 

However, they may give you suggestions for other lawyers you can go to. They can also refer your case to someone in their office. 

Go to a law firm with many lawyers in it instead of a lawyer with a solo practice. This increases your chances of finding someone who can take your case. 

You should ask for a lawyer by name. This shows you have researched the law firm and lets you find a very experienced lawyer. But you should accept help from another attorney if your requested attorney is unavailable. 

They Have a Conflict of Interest

Lawyers will never take a case with a conflict of interest. Your lawyer may have a relationship with the defendant or with witnesses. They may have witnessed your accident, so they may decline your case so they can testify. 

It would help if you went to another lawyer as soon as possible. Do not contact the attorney with the conflict again.

They Don’t Connect With You

Many lawyers will take cases after consultations with clients. During the consultation, the lawyer will ask you questions about your case. They will look at any evidence you have compiled and give you their thoughts on what they think. 

But they will also ask you questions about your life. They are doing this to get to know you and see if you have mutual interests with them. They may not take your case if they don’t feel a personal connection with you. 

You shouldn’t hire a lawyer if they are rude or impersonal to you. If a lawyer says they are too busy to have a consultation, but they will take your case, you should not hire them. This suggests that they are not paying attention to small details or are not interested in reaching out to you.

You Should Hire a Harris County Wrongful Death Attorney

A Harris County wrongful death attorney is your best resource for a wrongful death case. However, many lawyers will decline a case if the client lacks eligibility, evidence proving the defendant’s liability, or apparent damages. 

Lawyers also decline cases due to their pre-existing workload and conflicts of interest. Make sure you have backup attorneys in case your first option declines your case. You should ask them questions to assess personal connections between yourself and them. 

Begin the process of finding a lawyer now. The Morgan Legal Group files wrongful death cases in HoustonContact us today.

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