There are all sorts of reasons why an Athens accident lawyer would have to turn down your case. Perhaps you’ve missed the statute of limitations period. Or they may not think your case is worth enough to pursue it in court. Every case is unique so there’s no telling why your lawyer may have to withdraw from your case.
However, another common reason for an attorney turning down your case is that there’s a conflict of interest. If your attorney doesn’t feel they can independently and fairly handle your lawsuit, then they are required to turn the case down. They aren’t under a duty to disclose the details of the conflict to you. They can simply tell you they have a conflict and refer you to another attorney. The only way to find out is to call and schedule your free, initial consultation.
The Georgia Bar Has Rules That Address this Situation
Rule 1.7 of the Georgia Bar Professional Rules of Conduct dictates that no attorney is allowed to represent somebody when a conflict of interest exists. If your Athens accident lawyer realizes that a conflict exists, they have a duty to withdraw from your case. If they notice the conflict exists prior to your free consultation, they’ll tell you upfront that they can’t accept your case.
There are times, however, when nobody realizes there is a conflict until the case is well underway. This is when it can cause the biggest problems. The Georgia Bar’s main concern is for your client. Unless you and your attorney can prove that the alleged conflict won’t impact the case, you will not be able to move on. It’ll be best for your lawyer to refer you to another attorney in Athens, Georgia.
What are the Most Common Conflicts of Interest
Most conflicts of interest are between an Athens accident lawyer or their client. They may be related to the other driver’s attorney. Or they may have represented the defendant in a prior lawsuit. If there is any relationship that would cause even the remotest possibility that your attorney will be influenced by this prior relationship, they need to turn you down. There are other types of conflicts as well. Some of these include the following:
- The attorney is related to or friends with the insurance adjuster handling your case
- The defendant is a former client or adversary of your attorney
- You’ve been asked to represent two people for the same accident
If your attorney has any of the above, they will have no choice but to withdraw representation.
What Happens if Your Athens Accident Lawyer Does Have a Conflict?
It’s one thing to find out ahead of time that an attorney you met with can’t represent you. You may have a free consultation with an Athens accident lawyer only to be told they can’t represent you due to a conflict. It is something else entirely if they’re already handling your case when the conflict comes to light.
For example, your lawyer may need to conduct a deposition of someone who witnessed your car accident. On the day of the deposition, they realize that they used to date the witness. This may be enough for them to recuse themselves in a situation like this.
Can’t You Just Sign a Waiver?
One of the first things our clients ask us when we disclose a potential conflict is if they are allowed to sign a waiver. They figure if they say they know about the conflict and are okay with it there shouldn’t be an issue. There are times when this can be done. Certain situations allow for such a waiver.
But there are other times when a waiver is not appropriate. It all depends on the facts of your case. Most Athens accident lawyers would rather err on the side of caution. There’s no reason to risk it if another attorney can handle the case.
Reach Out to a Seasoned Athens Accident Lawyer
If you’re worried about having a hard time finding a good Athens accident lawyer, relax. There are excellent Athens accident lawyers who can handle your case. The odds of them having a conflict of interest are low. Even if there is a potential conflict, the attorney will refer you to another lawyer who will do a great job for you.
This is another reason why you want to call an attorney sooner rather than later. You don’t want to find out at the last minute that the attorney is unable to handle your case. Call today and set up your free consultation.