attorney reviewing case

5 Reasons an Attorney Would Decline Your Case

03/19/2020
By Logan Quirk

Pursuing legal action is something many people go through, with the hopes of obtaining some form of justice or fair compensation. You may be thinking about contacting an attorney yourself if you were recently involved in a car accident or some other form of incident that you did not cause.

In most cases, your trip to the lawyer’s office will probably be productive. After sharing what happened, the attorney you’re speaking to may already start planning the next steps to take in your case.

However, there is no guarantee that all legal experts will accept your case. Though rare, there are still instances where they may reject your case.

Before you make plans to make the trip to the nearest law firm, read the rest of this article to see if there’s a chance they may decline your case.

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Reason #1: The Financial Benefits of Pursuing Your Case are Insufficient

There are some important things that most people are unaware of. How do attorneys get paid?

First off, the compensation lawyers receive may depend on how big the financial damages rewarded are.

Now, how do they calculate those financial damages? They consider several factors when trying to determine how much money a certain party will receive. The financial reward may account for medical costs, pain, and distress as well as punitive damages. Often, they consider lost wages when calculating the final financial reward.

If you’re a relatively young person with a steady job and an accident causes you to miss time from work, it stands to reason that they would give you a larger financial reward than someone who’s retired and relies on his/her kids for living expenses.

Previous studies have indicated that elderly individuals, children, and mothers who do not have a job have the hardest time finding an attorney. That is because their cases don’t offer the same potential financial gains for a lawyer.

Simply put, a lawyer could crunch the numbers of a specific case and decide not to move forward if they think they won’t make enough money from it.

You may also be unaware that there are times when they only compensate attorneys if they win a case or they reach a financial settlement between both parties. You may also be unaware that there are times when they only compensate attorneys if they win a case or they reach a financial settlement between both parties. Because of that, some lawyers only accept a case if they think they have a good chance of getting a favorable result.

Keep in mind that planning and eventually pursuing a case does not come cheap for legal professionals. They could spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the ball rolling on a particular case. If they don’t win, they lose valuable time and money that they cannot get back.

Getting frustrated because an attorney denied your case for financial reasons is understandable, but that’s obviously not an ideal scenario.

What you can do in that situation is to seek out other law firms. You may still find lawyers who are willing to take your case even if the financial rewards are not large. Make the effort to get in touch with them because they could be your only hope.

Reason #2: They Deem Your Case Not Strong Enough

Life is not always fair, but you already knew that. Still, you may be wishing that there is at least some measure of fairness when it comes to legal matters.

If someone was wronged, you would hope they would be compensated for that while they penalized the offending party appropriately. Things are not that simple, however.

Let’s use an example to illustrate things better. Imagine for a moment that you had a co-worker who you did not get along with. You never did anything to this person, but for whatever reason, this individual doesn’t like you.

It’s to the point where the person threatens to physically harm you, and then one day, the person in question follows through on that threat by punching you. The altercation results in you being injured and you now want to pursue legal action.

Unfortunately, no one was around to hear or see that person threaten you, and no one was present when they punched you. There were also no cameras rolling when the incident took place.

You may have a black eye, but there is no strong physical evidence indicating that particular co-worker caused it.

Should you decide to take that case to court, you would need to prove a lot of things. You would need to prove the co-worker in question dislikes you, and that reached the point where physical violence occurred.

Think of how difficult if it would be to prove all that.

Understanding that the odds of your case returning a favorable result are incredibly low, a lawyer may decide that it’s not worth pursuing.

You may also meet some law firms that are hesitant to take on a toss-up case. Some law firms like to boast about their impressive win-loss records, but what they may not tell you is that they built up that tally by only accepting slam dunk cases. The threat of their stellar record taking a hit because your case is a 50-50 proposition may be the main reason a law firm says no to your plea.

Whether you agree with their approach or not, some law firms conduct themselves as businesses primarily, and that could be bad news for you.

Reason #3: The Attorney May Not Be Capable of Handling Your Case

The path to becoming a lawyer is a long and arduous one. You must maintain a good GPA as you earn your undergraduate degree, pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), go to law school, pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), and then find a way to earn a passing grade for the bar exam.

Remember those bar exams have notably low passing rates, and there’s a good chance that an individual will need to take it more than once.

Make no mistake, the people who become attorneys have earned it. Even so, that does not mean that all attorneys can handle all cases.

Attorneys may still have certain areas of expertise. Some lawyers specialize in personal injury cases, while others may be more knowledgeable about possible insurance fraud.

If the lawyer you initially approach is not confident that he/she can handle your case properly, he/she may decline. Hopefully, though, that lawyer will respond by pointing you in the direction of a different legal professional who can handle your case.

Time could also be the reason a lawyer cites for why he/she declines your case. The attorney you approach already may have cases lined up. Taking on your case on top of them may prove to be daunting a task for the lawyer in question.

In a situation such as that, it would also be better for you to seek help elsewhere because you don’t want a distracted lawyer handling your case.

Don’t be discouraged if an attorney says no to your case because they believe they don’t have the expertise or time required to handle it properly. If anything, the attorney being honest and upfront with you in that way is a good thing as you can find someone else who can do a better job.

Reason #4: The Statute of Limitations Has Expired on Your Case

Thus far, the reasons why an attorney may decline your case discussed in this article have been subjective.

The attorney may have not seen enough financial incentive to pursue your case, or they may think that someone else is better qualified to represent you in a court of law. It’s also possible that they don’t feel good enough about their chances of winning your case to accept it.

On one hand, it can be annoying if a lawyer says no to your case because of a subjective reason. On the other hand, you can still go to other lawyers for help, so your case is not a lost cause just yet.

Things are different if the reason an attorney declined your case is due to the statute of limitations.

For those unfamiliar with the statute of limitations, it is the law that dictates how much time someone has to pursue legal action dating from the day when the supposed offense took place. Think of it as a deadline that a plaintiff must meet to get their day in court.

It’s important to note that statutes of limitations vary depending on the offense committed. There are cases where potential plaintiffs only have about two years to act. In some states, you have two years to file a lawsuit if you were in a car accident where you or someone in your car was hurt.

They set the statute of limitations for two years on car accidents, so the person injured has a good amount of time to recover. If you ever find yourself in that unfortunate situation, compose a note reminding yourself of when the incident took place so that you can plan your next move accordingly.

The statute of limitations is longer for federal crimes. More often than not, there is a five-year statute of limitations attached to federal offenses.

Some federal crimes have even longer deadlines.

They can still try accusations of arson and offenses against financial institutions ten years after they took place. That goes up to twenty years if the case involves a stolen work of art.

Notably, some cases do not have any statute of limitations. These cases include certain federal crimes of sexual abuse, certain federal sex offenses, and federal crimes that are punishable by the death penalty.

If the statute of limitations for your case has passed, it will be difficult for any attorney to find a path forward. At that point, you may have no other choice but to move on.

Reason #5: The Problem Is with the Plaintiff

One more reason an attorney may say no to taking a case could be because of the plaintiff.

Try to see things from the perspective of the attorney. The person trying to hire you is someone who has an established history of being litigious, and upon taking a closer look at the lawsuit they want to pursue, you get the initial sense that it’s flimsy.

That person may be trying to squeeze money out of someone again, and they are turning to you for assistance in doing so. It’s hard to blame you for turning that case down or at least thinking hard about doing so.

How a plaintiff acts could also factor into an attorney’s decision to either pick up or turn down the case. Plaintiffs who are difficult to work with are avoided by lawyers. It’s hard to blame the lawyer then since the case turning out in the plaintiff’s favor is unlikely if he or she cannot even get along with his/her representation.

It’s also possible that the plaintiff and the lawyer are not on the same page regarding a specific case. The attorney may conclude that taking a settlement is in their best interest, but the plaintiff may want nothing less than a definitive win. That kind of disconnect does not bode well for either the plaintiff or their attorney.

As the plaintiff, you may find it better to partner up with a different lawyer if you cannot find common ground with your current one.

Finding an attorney who will take up your fight in court will not always be easy, but you can do it. Those struggling to find expert legal representation can end their search by contacting the Quirk Law Group. Reach out to them to have your legal worries addressed as soon as possible.

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