Looking for answers about what to do if an attorney won’t take your case? Of course, you can continue to call upon attorneys until you find an attorney who will take your case. Barring that, however, there may be underlying reasons why your case may not fit a lawyer’s criteria for a case they can represent.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: If a personal injury attorney won’t take your case, there’s probably a really good reason why. Don’t be afraid to ask for that reason why — and don’t be afraid to share it as you talk with other attorneys.
There is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion on your potential case, but there is something wrong with hiding what you’ve been told. Be transparent. If an attorney takes the time to explain why they won’t take you case, share that reason when you get a second opinion from another attorney.
At Negretti & Associates, we would rather have you be honest with us rather than hide what you’ve been told by another attorney.
Honesty Really Is the Best Policy
Why is it important for you to explain what you’ve already learned when trying to find an attorney?
Let’s consider the following example. Imagine that a prospective client calls us 18 months after the date of her crash. She tells us that nobody will take her case, but she says doesn’t know why. In truth, the prospective client actually does know why other attorneys won’t take this case, but she is afraid to share that information with us.
In this situation, as attorneys, we would most likely decline to accept representation, simply because this client isn’t being forthright and honest. We wouldn’t want to represent someone who isn’t going to be truthful with us from the start.
Had the prospective client informed us what other attorneys had told her, we might actually take the case.
At Negretti & Associates, we’ve found that some of our best clients have come from cases that other attorneys declined to take. The common thread with all of these cases is that our clients were honest with us about the fact that other attorneys wouldn’t help them. They shared that with us during our initial conversations.
Moral of the story: Don’t hide the “why.”
How Do Lawyers Decide to Take Cases?
There are myriad reasons why attorneys accept representation on a case. For us, there are three things that we look for in every case to consider it viable — regardless of what type of personal injury case it is:
1. Fault: We need another party or person to be at fault for what happened to you. Quite often, fault can be very confusing and difficult to prove. We aren’t looking for clear liability, but we are looking for reasons why another party or person should be at fault for what happened to you.
What we can’t help with is when you are at fault for a personal injury. For example, if you caused a car crash, we can’t help with that. However, if you don’t think you caused the crash, then we might be able to help you. We would need to better understand why you don’t think you caused the crash to properly evaluate your case.
2. Injuries: As obvious as this sounds, we need you to be injured. Injuries don’t always have to be physical. They can be emotional. Either way, there has to be some sort of injury. If you haven’t been injured, then we can’t help you.
You would be surprised how many people contact us to say that they are “mad” that they were in a crash. They actually weren’t injured at all, but they want to pursue a case because of what “could have” happened. The law doesn’t allow you to recover damages from what could have happened. If injuries didn’t happen, or an accident didn’t happen, consider yourself fortunate and move on.
3. A source of recovery: We need insurance coverage for the party or person who is at fault for your injuries. We do not go after people personally. If there isn’t a viable insurance policy to back up the case, we probably won’t take the case.
Here’s why: An insurance policy is collectible. If we prove your case and are awarded monetary damages, the insurance coverage will pay for that award. It’s virtually guaranteed. If we were to go after someone personally and get an award for money damages, it is very hard to collect on that. There is no guarantee that you will ever get anything. That can create a very hollow feeling at the end of a personal injury case.
Can You Convince a Lawyer to Take Your Case?
You should never have to “convince” an attorney to take your case. An attorney-client relationship is intimate and should happen organically. You should have an immediate rapport.
If you are having to convince someone to take your case, then that’s the wrong relationship to be in. Alternatively, if you are being convinced to pursue a case, you probably shouldn’t be in that kind of attorney-client relationship, either.
Why Might a Lawyer Decide to Drop a Case?
Just as attorneys take cases, there are many reasons why attorneys decide to drop cases. Notwithstanding, you should always be told “why” your attorney is dropping your case. Not only is this good practice, but it will also help you explain to a new attorney why your case got dropped.
Pro Tip: If your case gets dropped, ask your former law firm for a complete copy of your file. You can then expedite the process of hiring a new law firm by sharing your case file. When time is of the essence, this can be a way to save you a great deal of time.
Contact Negretti & Associates with Questions
Negretti & Associates is licensed to practice personal injury law in Arizona, California, and Colorado. If you’re wondering what to do if an attorney won’t take your case, and your case meets the criteria listed above, we might be able to help you.