Are Lawyers Selective?
While people may think that lawyers will take on any legal case presented to them, lawyers are selective when taking on a legal claim—especially personal injury lawyers.
Yet, while this can mean that there is no way to know whether an attorney will take on your case, in the below post, we will go over some reasons why an attorney may decline to represent a potential client and what you can do about it.
Table of Contents
- Lawyers May Decide Not to Take on a Case Because of Their Billing Method
- Lawyers May Decide Not to Take on a Case Because of the Type of Case
- Things You Can Do To Help Your Legal Claim
- Reach out to an Experienced Legal Professional Today to Find out if You Have a Valid Legal Claim
Lawyers May Decide Not to Take on a Case Because of Their Billing Method
Personal injury attorneys use the contingency fee billing arrangement to bill their clients. This method allows attorneys to obtain a fixed percentage of the recovery, which is the amount paid to the client through a settlement or verdict. As a result, if you win your case, the attorney’s compensation comes out of the money awarded to you.
Consequently, if a personal injury lawyer takes on a case and loses, they will not get paid, and there will be no compensation for the resources they used or the time they invested in the process. This also means if lawyers take too many cases that they cannot win, they will go out of business. That is why a personal injury attorney will typically not take a case if they do not believe they can be successful in it.
Lawyers May Decide Not to Take on a Case if Time Ran Out
It is essential to realize that if you suffered harm in an accident, the time you have to pursue legal action for your injuries and losses is limited. According to the statute of limitations, which is a law that dictates the amount of time a person has to bring a lawsuit following an alleged offense, you will only have a certain amount of time to bring a suit following a personal injury accident.
For instance, in California, you only have two years from the accident date to file a legal claim. If you do not file your case within this statutory period, you can’t recover compensation.
If you present your case to an attorney and they determine that the statute of limitations has passed, they will likely not take your case.
Lawyers May Decide Not to Take on a Case Because the Facts of the Claim Are Not in Your Favor
Even if you present a case to an attorney that demonstrates clear liability and significant damages, they may still decide to decline to take on your case, especially if they find the following issues:
- Your perceived credibility is in question
- You contributed to the accident
- There is evidence showing you to appear injury-free
- You made comments that the accident was your fault
- You waited to get medical treatments
- You did not listen to the medical professional’s recommendations
Consequently, due to these factors, an attorney may not want to take on your case because they may feel they will not be able to win. Plus, many lawyers may also decide that the case is unsuitable for their reputation and how they will appear to other clients. As a result, they may decline to represent you if they want to avoid looking like they will pick up every case that comes in.
Lawyers May Decide Not to Take on a Case Because of the Type of Case
Personal injury claims involve many cases, ranging from car accidents to product liability incidents. However, this does not mean that every personal injury attorney will take on every type of personal injury case that walks through their doors.
Some attorneys prefer to take on certain personal injury accidents over others. If your case is not one of those that the attorney wants to focus on, they may decline your case.
Lawyers May Decide Not to Take on a Case Because They Have a Conflict of Interest
Lawyers owe clients their independent judgment. For these reasons, if a case comes in where the attorney can’t provide this judgment, they may refuse to accept it.
This conflict of interest issue often comes up if:
- The lawyer is a witness in the case.
- The lawyer provided monetary assistance to the client.
- The lawyer decided to take on the case after accepting a gift from the client.
- The lawyer is in a business relationship with an individual in the case.
Lawyers May Decide Not to Take a Case Because Nobody Was at Fault for the Accident
To obtain compensation following an accident, you need to show what happened and who was at fault for the accident. If the accident does not have a clear liable party, an attorney may decline to handle the case.
Lawyers May Decide Not to Take a Case Because Other Attorneys Have Rejected It
If you present a case to an attorney that other lawyers have repeatedly dropped, the attorney may decide that they do not want to take the case, either. When an attorney drops a case, it is usually due to unreasonable expectations or liability issues.
Consequently, when a client keeps taking their case to a different attorney, it may appear as if they are shopping around for an attorney based on feedback from other legal professionals. And in these situations, a lawyer will likely not waste their time by taking on the legal matter.
Lawyers May Decide Not to Take a Case For Personal Reasons
No attorney is required to take on a case. If these legal professionals do not want to take a case, they do not have to. This also means that if a lawyer has a potential client that walks through their door that is challenging to work with, obnoxious, or rude, they may decide to pass on representing them.
That is why, during the initial consultation, the attorneys are not only looking into the facts of the case, but they are also getting a sense of how you would be to work with, your motivation behind the case, and the overall circumstances of the case. If the lawyer decides you are a good fit and have a solid legal claim, they will likely take on the case. On the other hand, they may decline to represent you if they perceive you will present challenges to work with.
Lawyers May Decide Not to Take on a Case if It Is Not Worth It
If you bring a case to an attorney where the potential damages only involve some dents to a car, the attorney may decide that economically it is not in their best interest to take on the claim. If a case does not result in a significant dollar return, the chance of the attorney losing money on the legal matter will increase, especially for attorneys who earn a living off contingency fee agreements and have to put substantial money into cases.
Lawyers May Decide Not to Take on a Case Because of Government Immunity
In California, government entities are not immune from tort liability unless a statute or constitution provision expressly states that they are. As a result, if you bring a case where you were harmed by a governmental entity to an attorney, but the statute grants these entities immunity, the attorney may decide not to pursue legal action.
Things You Can Do To Help Your Legal Claim
Although you cannot make an attorney take on a case, you can make your case look more desirable to an attorney and even make them more willing to represent you. For example, following an accident, you should:
Obtain Evidence From the Accident Scene
Gathering evidence following an accident can provide your attorney with valuable details that can help make your case become a viable claim that they will want to take on.
As a result, following your accident injury, you should try to obtain the following evidence:
- Pictures and videos of the accident scene
- Dangerous conditions that caused the accident
- Your visible injuries
- The weather conditions at the time of the accident
- Other details that can help show what happened, such as skid marks, traffic lights near the area, traffic signs, and road defects
Talk to Witnesses
If there were people who saw the accident, you want to try to get their names and contact information. These individuals can often provide your attorney with helpful details regarding the accident that can help them figure out what happened, give a timeline of events, as well as help substantiate your claim.
Get Medical Treatment
Even if your injuries appear to be minor, you should still get to a doctor as soon as possible following the accident. Depending on the injuries you sustained, it may take some time for symptoms to manifest, such as in cases of a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage. However, the longer you wait to get medical help, the more debilitating and fatal these symptoms can become. Get to a doctor soon after your accident.
Plus, refusing or not getting prompt medical treatment after the accident can hurt your case since it will provide the other side and the insurance company with more evidence against you and argue that your injuries are not that serious or a result of a subsequent event.
Fortunately, when you get to a medical doctor shortly after the accident, these health care professionals can provide you with a medical report that details not only the extent of your trauma but provides you with evidence linking your accident to your injuries.
With this strong medical evidence on your side, an attorney may decide to take on your claim and help you fight for the financial damages you deserve.
Reach out to an Experienced Legal Professional Today to Find out if You Have a Valid Legal Claim
If you sustained severe injuries in an accident, don’t shoulder the legal burden of proving what happened, who was at fault, and the extent of your damages on your own, especially when you need this proof to collect compensation for your losses and harm.
Fortunately, by working with an experienced personal injury attorney, you will not have to take on this legal battle alone.
Rather, your lawyers can:
- Review the facts of your accident, determine if you have a viable case, and discuss the legal options you can pursue.
- Help you understand the legal process that may be involved with your case and provide you with the answers you need to your question and concerns.
- Investigate your accident and obtain the evidence necessary to show damages and fault.
- Ensure your legal documents, motions, and files are appropriately prepared and submitted to the proper court before time runs out.
- Figure out who was responsible for your accident and hold all these liable parties accountable for the harm and losses you suffered.
- Handle all the settlement negotiations and fight for a just settlement amount.
- Proceed to trial if the other side is not wanting to get you the money you need and go after maximum financial damages.
Following an accident, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can, contact us for a free consultation and find out if these legal professionals will take on your case and fight for your rights and the justice you deserve.