4 Reasons Why a Personal Injury Lawyer Will Not Take Your Case
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes | Personal Injury
You might think you have an excellent personal injury case. But what happens if a lawyer turns down your case?
In most situations, the lawyer will explain their reason for declining representation. If you have not dealt with lawyers before, you might not fully understand their reasoning. You might also feel lost as to your next step.
Here is some information about why a personal injury lawyer will not take your case and when you should talk to a different lawyer.
Constraints on Legal Representation
Lawyers have no obligation to take every case. Lawyers must satisfy obligations to:
- The legal profession
- The courts
- Their prospective and current clients
- Their firms
There are several reasons that a lawyer might decline a case, which we’ll explore in detail below.
Legal Problems with the Case
Several facts must align to win a case. In some situations, legal or evidentiary problems might prevent the lawyer from taking the case.
Reasonable lawyers may differ in their assessment of your case. If one lawyer turns down your case, you should consider speaking to another lawyer. A different lawyer might have a creative solution for fixing the legal problems in your case.
Some common legal problems include:
Expired Statute of Limitations
Statutes of limitations set the time limit for filing a lawsuit. If you file the lawsuit after time expires, a judge must dismiss your case.
In Florida, you have four years to file a lawsuit after an injury caused by negligence. A court can pause or toll a statute of limitations in certain situations. If none of the tolling provisions apply to you, a lawyer will not take your case.
To file a case, a lawyer must have a reasonable legal theory for why the other party is liable for your injuries. In most injury cases, this means you must have proof of the other party’s negligence.
If your lawyer cannot locate evidence of your claim, the lawyer must decline your case.
Business Concerns About Your Case
Injury lawyers typically charge a contingent fee. The lawyer will get paid by taking a percentage of the settlement or damage award.
This motivates lawyers to maximize your compensation. But it also means the lawyer will not get paid if you do not get paid.
If your case involves an insurance company, the lawyer does not need to worry about getting paid. But if your case does not involve an insurer, the lawyer will investigate whether the other party can pay a damage award. If the other party has no assets, a lawyer might decline your case.
Again, reasonable minds can differ. If a lawyer declines a case because the other party appears judgment-proof, you should speak to a different lawyer.
Concerns that the Lawyer Cannot Handle Your Case
A lawyer must put a lot of work into your case. A lawyer cannot accept your case if the lawyer does not have the time to give it the attention and diligence it deserves.
The lawyer will also often front money to pay for hard costs like court reporters, filing fees, and expert witnesses. If the lawyer does not have the financial resources to pay these expenses, the lawyer will turn down your case.
If a lawyer turns down your case due to a lack of resources, you should speak to a different law firm.
Ethical Problems with Your Representation
Lawyers cannot take cases that compromise duties to existing clients. If your case creates a conflict of interest for the lawyer, the lawyer must decline representation.
Hiring a Lawyer for Your Case
Fortunately, injury lawyers often offer free consultations. This allows you to discuss potential problems in your case early in the representation. It also allows you to talk to multiple lawyers to find the right one for your specific needs.