People often think that a lawyer will take any kind of case just to make a buck. That is not the case at all. Every lawyer has his or her own standards and reasons for why they make take one case and not another.
Here are the top 7 reasons why a lawyer won’t take your case:
1. There is No Money to be Made in Your Case
There is a real cost associated with trying a case. For a lawyer to take a case, the case needs to have the potential to recover more money than the lawyer will have to invest to try the case.
Depending upon the type of case, a lawyer may easily have to invest $50,000-$100,000 (or more) in pursuing a case. The more experienced and successful the attorney, the higher that number becomes. Such costs may involve product testing, the expense of obtaining expert witnesses, and many other potential costs.
Additionally, the cost of developing the testimony to prove up your case has to be factored into the analysis of the attorney. If the cost of the expected depositions exceeds the expected return on the case, an attorney most likely will not accept the case.
If a lawyer doesn’t take your case, you can get a second opinion from another lawyer who has taken cases similar to yours. But be cautious in this approach because of the next reason why a lawyer may not take your case:
2. Other lawyers have rejected your case
If your case has been repeatedly “released” or “dropped” from another law firm, subsequent attorneys will think twice about taking your case from either a liability perspective or an unreasonable expectation perspective.
Often times, many cases are turned down because the potential client appears to be shopping around for a lawyer based upon the feedback they receive on the potential value of the case.
Even though it is crucial and recommended to be selective in choosing a lawyer, it’s important that you focus on whether or not the lawyer in question has expertise and a history of winning the type of case you’re involved in. If it’s clear you’re just shopping around for the best payout, a lawyer may not waste their time with you.
3. The Statute of Limitations has expired
A statute of limitations is a law which sets the maximum time you have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense, whether civil or criminal. The length of time the statute allows for a victim to bring legal action against the suspected wrong-doer can vary from one state or jurisdiction to another.
In general, the time allowed under a statute of limitations varies depending upon the nature of the offense. In most cases, statutes of limitations apply to civil cases. For example, in some states, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is two years, so that means you have two years to sue for a personal injury case. If you wait so much as one day over the two-year deadline, you can no longer sue for a personal injury.
4. You have a weak case
One of the questions you should always ask in a consultation with a firm is, “How strong is my case?” If a firm doesn’t think you have a strong case, they certainly don’t want to add a loss to their record. Lawyers have an interest to protect their own reputations since a strong reputation will draw in more clients, just as a weak reputation will do exactly the opposite.
In personal injury cases, how badly you’re injured is an important factor in a case. If your injuries are minor, an attorney may pass on your case because the expected monetary compensation will also be minimal.
5. There is a conflict of interests
Lawyers have an ethical duty to not represent clients who may have adverse interests. Conversely, if a lawyer is related (professionally or by blood) to a party in your case, that can also be seen as a conflict of interests.
6. They don’t specialize in that type of case
Say you’ve been injured in a case of medical malpractice. Not all personal injury attorneys specialize in medical malpractice injuries. Oftentimes, you’ll see that personal injury lawyers specialize in a very specific type of injury case, such as car and truck accident cases. Some may only handle product liability cases, and some may only handle oil field injury cases.
If you have strong rapport with the lawyer you’re speaking to but he or she doesn’t specialize in your specific type of case, ask for a referral. Chances are high that they’ll be able to refer you to a lawyer who does have experience in your type of case.
7. They don’t like you
A lawyer is never obligated to take your case. Taking on a new client means starting a new working relationship – and relationships are a two-way street. If you’re perceived to be difficult to work with, obnoxious, or abrasive, then they may choose to pass on your case.
In fact, if you’re difficult to work with and a lawyer is still desperate to take your case, you may need to take a look at that lawyer’s record of winning cases like yours. Chances are, his or her win record isn’t that strong. Beggars can’t be choosers – and that goes both ways.