10 Reasons Why a Scottsdale Personal Injury Attorney Will Not Take Your Personal Injury Case
Injured victims call our office every day and ask if we are able to take on their personal injury cases. Some of those people have already contacted other attorneys and have been turned down. Frustrated and confused, they often ask us why another attorney would reject taking their case. Usually, the reason their case has been rejected has to do with the particular facts and circumstances with the case being described to the attorney. The legal profession is very fact specific. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the slightest unfavorable fact can make your case less enticing for a personal injury attorney to take on.
If you have been turned down by a personal injury attorney and are confused, you should consider the following reasons why a personal injury attorney may not take your case:
Your Personal Injury Case May Have been Turned Down Due to a Conflict of Interest
Attorneys are governed by a strict ethical code that requires them to zealously represent each and every client they are hired by. This ethical obligation exists even after the attorney’s scope of representation has ended. In other words, an attorney that once represented a person or corporation may be unable to ethically represent you in bringing a claim against that person or corporation.
Most attorneys have strict data systems and implement safeguards to ensure that they do not represent clients where there is conflict of interest. If you are turned down because the attorney has a conflict of interest you should not take it personally. Attorneys can be subject to civil and professional penalties if they knowingly or carelessly represent a client when a conflict of interest exists. See Arizona Ethical Rules 1.7, 1.8, 1.9.
A Personal Injury Attorney May Not Take Your Injury Case Because the Defendant has no insurance and is “Judgment Proof”
The term “judgment proof” is used to describe a Defendant that has no insurance, money or assets. In personal injury law, a judgment is essentially a court order that establishes how much, if anything, a Defendant is required to pay the Plaintiff for his or her injuries. Unfortunately, a judgment is only worth something if can be collected on. In other words, a judgment is only good if the Defendant has the capability to pay it. If the Defendant is insolvent, without insurance, or owns little to no assets, it will likely be impossible to collect on your personal injury judgment. As such, personal injury attorneys will not do the work to obtain a worthless judgment that will never be collected on.
Even if the Defendant is found to be “judgment proof,” a skilled attorney may be able to establish other theories of liability and can assert a claim against another Defendant that was not apparent to you.
The most common “judgment proof” Defendants are private citizens and small businesses. These types of Defendants are those most likely to lack sufficient insurance coverage and usually have few assets. However, it is important that you never assume this about a Defendant without first consulting an attorney. Even if the Defendant is found to be “judgment proof,” a skilled attorney may be able to establish other theories of liability and can assert a claim against another Defendant that was not apparent to you.
The Personal Injury Attorney You Called Has Too Many Cases to Handle Your Case
Attorneys, like every other profession, are human and can only handle so many clients at one time. As mentioned, an attorney has an ethical obligation to zealously represent each and every client. If an attorney’s case load is too large, it might limit his or her ability to give your case the attention that it deserves. You should not feel discouraged if an attorney informs you that his or her case load is too big to take on your case. Most likely, the attorney is simply looking out for your best interests. You should keep searching for someone to take your case.
Your Personal Injury Case May be Rejected Because It Requires Too Much Work
Unsurprisingly, not all law firms are created equally. For every tenacious, hard-working, attorney, there is one who is always looking for the easy way out. A lot of personal injury law firms pride themselves on how much money they have “obtained” for their clients and not necessarily how much money they have “won.” This is because many attorneys and law firms do not like hard cases that require going to court to get a result. They want the easy cases that they can settle fast. In other words, these attorneys are searching for the low hanging fruit and are not willing to climb to the top of the tree.
If an attorney has rejected your case, it is possible that he or she simply does not want to put in the hard work to get you the money you deserve.
If an attorney has rejected your case, it is possible that he or she simply does not want to put in the hard work to get you the money you deserve. Filing a lawsuit and going to trial is extremely time consuming and stressful. If you believe that you were rejected by an attorney, based on the complexity of your case, you should find an attorney who does not back down from a fight. The personal injury attorneys at Scottsdale Injury Lawyers regularly take on complex cases and do the hard work required to obtain the best result. It is not uncommon for us to take cases that other attorneys have turned down. It is also not unusual for us to take cases where the clients have come to and switched after their previous attorneys wanted them to settle cheap and would not file a lawsuit or take the case to trial.
Your Personal Injury Case May Be Turned Down Because of Your Personality and Concerns About Interacting With You
Without sugar-coating it, your case may be turned down because of your personality and attitude. If you are abrasive and difficult to get along with, a personal injury attorney will likely not want you as a client. If you are a “know-it-all,” the attorney may not want to deal with you. Personal injury cases that are filed in court can take several years to resolve. To win a case in court, the client and the attorney must work together and have a good relationship. If a personal injury attorney believes that having a good relationship with you would be difficult, he or she may not be willing to take your case no matter how good it is.
An attorney can only be as good as his client allows him or her to be. In personal injury law, client communication is essential to brining a claim for damages. Not only does an attorney need to understand the relevant facts of your case, but he also needs to be able to easily communicate with you. If you are unresponsive to attorney emails and phone calls, it is likely that the attorney will decline your case from the onset.
Further, if the attorney believes a jury would not like you, he may not be willing to take your case on. If your upbringing, background, education, mannerisms and criminal history are such that a jury would not feel sympathy for you, a personal injury attorney may not want to present your case. The attorneys at Scottsdale Injury Lawyers are different from other attorneys. We regularly take cases involving difficult clients. In fact, many of our cases involve representing prisoners and even individuals whose rights have been violated by police.
Your Personal Injury Case May Not Be Accepted if You Previously Had An Attorney Representing You
If you were previously represented by another attorney and he or she stopped representing you, do not be surprised if you have trouble finding a new one. This is a huge red flag for personal injury attorneys. Generally, most injured clients develop a strong and good relationship with their attorney. It is a bad sign if the attorney terminates the representation during the handling of your personal injury claim or case. Typically, it only happens if the attorney and client have a falling out or if newly discovered facts come to light that are extremely unfavorable for the case.
Additionally, prior attorneys have the ability to place a lien on your case to be reimbursed for the work that they have performed. This lien may make it difficult for a new attorney for to receive payment for the work he or she performs. This is another reason why a new attorney may turn down your case. Therefore, it is important to choose your personal injury attorney carefully from the onset.
If you were previously represented by an attorney and are seeking a new one, you should still inform all potential attorneys about your prior attorney relationships. Even though it may be a red flag, it is certainly not a deal breaker. Many times, your new attorney may have a differing opinion than your old attorney. Your new attorney may be able to negotiate a reduction in the amount your previous attorney is claiming in order to take the case on.
Your Personal Injury Case May Be Turned Down Because You Do Not Have Enough Damages or Have Unreasonable Expectations
The extent and severity of your injuries determines the value of your personal injury case. Regardless of who was at fault, if your injuries are not significant, you may have a difficult time finding an attorney to take on your case. This is because most personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency basis. Unlike other attorneys who are paid by the hour, most personal injury attorneys will be paid a percentage of what they are able to recover for you.
As a result, if an attorney does not think that your injuries will yield a significant payout, he or she may not be willing to take your case. If this is true for your case, you should consider handling the matter yourself. Arizona has small claims court where an individual may file and seek to recover his or her damages.
In addition, if you have unreasonable expectations as to what your damages are and what you are entitled to, an attorney may decline to represent you. Simply put, if an attorney believes that what your case is worth is much different from what you think your case is worth, than he knows you will be unsatisfied with the result. A personal injury attorney does not want to take on a case for a client who is going to be unhappy with the result. Your case may be declined for this reason as well.
An Attorney May Turn Down Your Case If He Lacks Experience or Has Never Handled Your Type of Case Before
Much like the practice of medicine, the practice of law has several different areas and specialties. It takes a certain degree of legal knowledge and experience to be able to represent an individual for personal injuries. In fact, most attorneys that practice personal injury law do not have experience in other areas. As such, they are very limited in the types of personal injury cases they can take on.
For example, many personal injury attorneys you see on television or hear on the radio may have only handled car accident and slip and fall cases. They may have never practiced at a high-level and instead, operate a personal injury mill firm where attorneys simply manage paralegals who write demand letters to insurance companies and settle cases. These attorneys are not comfortable handling cases involving medical malpractice, product liability, auto defect, bad faith insurance, etc. They likewise would not be capable of handling civil rights cases or consumer class actions. These attorneys may have never tried a case or stepped foot inside a federal courthouse.
Therefore, when searching for a personal injury attorney it is important that you find an attorney who is capable and comfortable handling your specific type of case and claim. As a rule, you want to stay away from general practitioners. These attorneys attempt to handle everything including criminal law, family law, bankruptcy, probate and personal injury. It is always recommended that you do your research on an attorney and law office before you decide to hire them. Research their results and see if they win cases in court and obtain jury verdicts.
We have a broad skill set and have handled very complicated cases much more difficult than your run of the mill car accident and trip and fall cases.
We recommend finding an attorney that specializes in personal injury and civil litigation. The attorneys at Scottsdale Injury Lawyers specialize in personal injury and civil rights cases involving police excessive force. We have a broad skill set and have handled very complicated cases much more difficult than your run of the mill car accident and trip and fall cases. Although we certainly handle these cases too, we also handle complicated cases including: civil rights, insurance bad faith, medical malpractice, dental malpractice, product liability, auto defect, consumer class actions and several other high level personal injury claims.
A Personal Injury Attorney May Turn Down Your Case Because Liability is Contested or Because You Were Responsible for Causing Your Own Injury
Establishing liability is the first step in any personal injury case. Cases with clear-cut liability such as rear end collisions and intentional torts are favored by attorneys. When liability is established, an attorney only has to prove that the wrongful act caused the injury and the amount of the damages. On the other hand, cases with disputed liability such as slip and falls, some car accidents cases and most medical malpractice claims are much more difficult.
If you are responsible for causing your own injuries, a personal injury attorney will not take your case. One example is if you were found at fault for causing a car accident. Likewise, many personal injury attorneys who you see on TV and here on the radio will not take a contested liability case.
If liability is at issue in your case, you should try to find an attorney who is willing to take on the challenge. More often than not, disputed liability cases require extensive investigation and a hard-fought lawsuit to obtain a recovery. The personal injury attorneys at Scottsdale Injury Lawyers are always up for the fight. We regularly take and win contested liability cases, including proving our cases to a jury.
A Personal Injury Attorney May Not Take Your Case Because Too Much Time Has Passed and You Are Barred From Bringing a Claim By The Statute of Limitations
The most common reason our office turns down cases is due to the statute of limitations. Every personal injury case has a statute of limitations. The time periods vary depending on the type of case and the at-fault party. If you present your case to an attorney after the statute of limitations has passed, there is almost nothing he or she can do and it will be rejected. Therefore, it is critical that you consult an attorney as soon as possible, after an injury causing event, to ensure your claim is preserved.
Contact A Scottsdale Personal Injury Attorney Today If You Were Injured
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury, contact Scottsdale Injury Lawyers today. An experienced Scottsdale personal injury attorney is available now to discuss your case. A consultation is free. There is no retainer to pay or any up-front costs or fees. We only earn a fee if we recover money for you.
About the author: The content on this page was provided by Scottsdale personal injury attorney and civil rights lawyer Tony Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report 2018). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout Arizona and California. He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association, Scottsdale Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Consumer Attorneys of California, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information on this page is attorney advertising. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation and to discuss your specific case and issues.