Just because one law firm rejects your case, don't assume it means you don't have a good case. It's natural to want to interview a few different lawyers, just like you would shop around for the best surgeon or the best dentist. But don't get discouraged if you find an attorney who you prefer and then discover that they don't want to handle your case. There are lots of different reasons a personal injury lawyer may not want to represent you.
Just like you're shopping for the best lawyer for your needs, they may be looking for a specific type of client with a very strong case that doesn't require much work. That's because personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don't get paid unless they win your case for you.
Furthermore, there can be other reasons you may be turned down that are not linked to your case. That's why it's crucial to keep searching even after being rejected multiple times. This article will explain the many reasons why a law firm may reject your case and what you can do to find one who is willing and capable to protect your interests.
Problems establishing liability
Ironically, one of the reasons to hire a lawyer in the first place is if you are having difficulty establishing liability. It's also one of the reasons a law firm may not want to get involved with your case. For example, if you were drinking and driving and crashed your car, causing your own injuries, there's no one to go after for compensation since you're the one at fault.
Just because you've been injured doesn't mean there is someone who can pay for it. Another example would be if you were injured at a ski area, but you were skiing in a zone that was blocked off because of known dangers. In that case, the ski area operator did all they could to warn you of the danger, but you ignored it and were hurt.
Conversely, you may have been injured and don't know who should be held liable. We may be able to help. For example, say a dog attacked you at the park, but there's no owner around. It may be that we could find the animal, and the dog is microchipped. Then we may have someone who could be held liable for your injuries.
Another example of how we may be able to find someone to hold accountable would be if you were injured when you stepped on broken glass while walking in a common area of your homeowners' association property. We may find that it is the responsibility of the HOA for your injuries for having dangerous conditions on the property.
Not enough damages
The amount of money that can be recovered in a personal injury case is based on the amount of damages you've sustained. Damages include things like medical bills, lost wages, loss of capacity to earn, damaged property, and pain and suffering.
To take on a case, a law firm has to look at the amount of time and resources it will take to win your case. Suppose the potential award is not enough to justify these expenses. In that case, you're not likely to find a law firm to handle the claim because the return is not worth the investment. While this may sound harsh, you have to remember that our fees are a percentage of what we can win for you. If we see that we will spend a substantial amount of time on your case but get little in return, we may not feel it warrants the effort. In many instances, if the damages are low, you could still file a claim or lawsuit on your own.
The defendant has no financial resources
We understand that everyone wants justice for being injured due to negligence. However, if the defendant has inadequate financial resources, there may simply not be any money. Even if we win, it would be a hollow victory if we can't collect.
For instance, say you were hurt by a driver with no insurance, no job, and no assets. It wouldn't make much sense to go after them just because there would be no way to make them pay. It's usually insurance companies that payout for damages. However, in the scenario mentioned above, insurance isn't in the picture, and there wouldn't be any way for us to collect our fees either.
Another way a defendant's lack of resources can complicate things is if their money is tied up in legally separate entities. For example, say you slip and fall at a restaurant that is going out of business, yet the owner is wealthy. Likely, they will not have mixed their business assets with their personal assets, so you have little chance of recovering any substantial payout. Even if you deserve compensation, sometimes there's no path towards getting it.
The case will be expensive
Some smaller law firms will look at how expensive the case will be to litigate. When working on a contingency fee basis, often the lawyer will take on the expenses of making copies, exhibit preparation, deposition costs, and expert witness fees.
At Morgan & Morgan, we don't have to worry about these kinds of expenses because we're one of the largest law firms in the country. Often, we go the extra mile to make a case stronger by utilizing our vast resources. That's not to say we're frivolous with our money. If the case is too weak, we also don't invest in what will likely be a losing arrangement. Again, the best way for us to evaluate the strength of your case is to hear the facts from you personally.
The case will be too lengthy
All good lawyers know when they don't have enough time to take on another case. If you're rejected because of time constraints, count yourself lucky because your case would not have had the attention it deserves.
That's another reason why it pays to hire Morgan & Morgan Law Firm. We have over 800 trial-ready lawyers and thousands of support staff, so every case we take gets the attention needed to be successful. Other law firms may not be willing to risk investing significant amounts of time when they can chase after more straightforward cases.
Your case involves unusual entities
Some cases are just too unusual for a typical personal injury lawyer to take on, like ones that involve suing the state or federal government. It may be that a powerful corporation has injured you, and they are worried about their capabilities. That's understandable because unusual cases take more time and funds to pursue. At Morgan & Morgan, we have lawyers that have expertise in a wide variety of unusual practice areas, including the following:
- Aviation crashes
- Maritime and Admiralty
- Antitrust litigation
- Civil forfeiture
- Civil rights
- Eminent domain
- Intellectual property
- Investor fraud
- Shareholder and partner disputes
- Train accidents
- Whistleblower cases
- Wrongful imprisonment
- Breach of warranty
- Toxic and environmental cases
- Class actions
The statute of limitations has expired
Every state has statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits. This is one area where we likely would not be able to help even if we wanted to because once the statute of limitations has passed, there is virtually no court that will hear your case. It's the law. However, it's still worth getting in contact with us because there are a few instances where the statute of limitations isn't cut and dry. For example, in a medical malpractice case where a minor was injured, the statute of limitations is extended. Furthermore, medical malpractice claims can be extended in certain states based upon when the injury was discovered and not limited to when the injury occurred.
Personal reasons why a lawyer may reject your case
Not every reason for rejection is directly related to your case. For example, the lawyer may see your case as a conflict of interest. Lawyers must observe a strict set of ethical regulations that forbid them from certain actions. For example, if they had a prior relationship with the party you're suing, it would be unethical for them to now represent you. Additionally, they may have a moral objection for whatever reason and see this as a conflict of interest.
Finally, your case may get rejected by a law firm if they don't feel you and their staff will get along. This is actually an excellent reason because you may be working together for a long time, and it's in everyone's best interests to have a good working relationship.