Sometimes, the advertisements we see lead us to believe that personal injury attorneys will take any case that comes their way. You may even get the impression that they’re desperate for more clients. However, the reality is much more complex. Most attorneys do not accept every case they receive a call about. In fact, many reasons exist for declining certain cases. Many of our clients ask us, “How do lawyers decide to take a case?” We cover this, plus ways to get a lawyer to take your case, below.
At Curcio Law Offices, we serve Illinois as one of the premier firms for personal injury in Chicago. Curcio Law Offices is committed to solely representing injured parties and their families in a wide range of personal injury and wrongful death issues. Our office is located in the center of downtown Chicago, so we’ve seen it all. If you or someone you love suffered injuries from someone else’s negligence, contact us today. Call our Chicago office at 312-321-1111 or fill out our online intake form.
Why Might a Personal Injury Lawyer Refuse a Case?
Before deciding which personal injury lawyer to employ, you should interview a few different attorneys. Don’t be dismayed if your case is turned down or refused by the first lawyer. Just as you are assessing the attorney, he or she is considering the possibilities of your personal injury case, as well as their fees and abilities to effectively represent you. There might be other factors at play that are unrelated to your injury or accident.
Some persons whose claims were turned down by an attorney may never have completely understood why, even years after the event. There might be a combination of these variables at work. If you’re considering a personal injury lawsuit, learn about the criteria that matter to attorneys and analyze your case from the perspective of those who could accept or decline to represent you.
Statute of Limitations Has Passed
Regardless of the facts of your case, personal injury cases have strict statutes of limitations. These limitations basically restrict the timeframe in which you can file a lawsuit. In Illinois, you have two years to file a personal injury civil suit, beginning on the date the injury occurred. However, there are notable exceptions.
In some cases, people do not discover their injuries until a later date. Illinois allows people to file lawsuits up to two years after the “discovery date” in these cases. Additionally, if you file a suit against a county or city in Illinois, you only have one year to file. For lawsuits against the state, you must file your claim within one year to sue, but you can sue up to two years after the injury.
They Do Not Handle That Case Type
Personal injury is a large category of law which has many different subcategories. Not every attorney has complete knowledge in the field of personal injury. In fact, many focus on or even specialize in certain subcategories. For example, Curcio Law Offices focuses on the following types of personal injury cases, plus others.
- Medical malpractice
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Product liability
- Premises liability
- Wrongful death
- Catastrophic injuries
If your case falls outside of an attorney’s realm of experience, don’t worry. Even if they decide not to take your case, there are plenty of other options. Some attorneys simply prefer cases that involve specific types of injuries, such as the following.
The Case Is Too Difficult to Win
Even with serious injuries and apparent liability, other factors have the potential to threaten your case. We list certain circumstances that have the potential to damage your case’s chances below.
- You shared at least partial fault for the accident and injuries.
- You delayed getting medical treatment for the injuries.
- Sometimes, depending on certain factors, an attorney might doubt your credibility.
No matter the circumstances, there is always a potential for denial. Have a backup plan in case the first lawyer you speak with declines to represent you.
They Do Not Have Enough Resources to Litigate the Case
For items like court filings, duplicating documents, retaining expert witnesses, paying reporters for depositions, and mailing, most personal injury cases will cost at least a few thousand dollars. Litigation costs in a more complicated personal injury case might potentially approach five figures. Occasionally, the attorney has the funds but not the time. Perhaps their workload is too heavy, or they recently lost a colleague.
There Is a Conflict of Interests
Lawyers must follow specific ethical rules, which include avoiding any potential conflicts of interest. Let’s assume you slipped and fell at a restaurant, but the lawyer you wish to employ has previously represented the restaurant in a contract dispute. In this situation, the attorney will almost certainly have to dismiss your case because of a potential conflict of interest.
While the initial consultation allows you to examine your attorney, it also allows the attorney to gain a feel of your circumstances and intentions. If it appears that you’re suing for vengeance, and the attorney believes you’re likely to reject a reasonable settlement offer merely because you insist on going to court, they may dismiss your case.
Low Potential Recovery
It may not be worth you or your attorney’s time to take the case. This happens sometimes in cases where the potential damages are too meager. Even if you’re almost certain to win, the compensation could be very low. After all, attorneys do what they do as their full-time jobs and need to pay their bills. However, keep in mind that many attorneys engage in pro-bono, or free, work. If your case involves a negligible recovery amount, consider this as a possibility.
How Can You Get a Lawyer to Take Your Case?
You can’t change the facts of your case. However, you can take specific steps to make your case more attractive for attorneys. It’s important to understand the legal professional’s point of view and present them with a desirable case. Not only does it help the attorney, it also helps you.
Build the Facts of Your Case
You can improve your chances of winning your case by obtaining a full picture of the type and degree of your injuries—for example, an official doctor’s diagnosis. Obtaining a copy of the police report in a vehicle accident lawsuit might be quite beneficial. It also aids in the organization and gathering of any relevant evidence, such as medical records, potential witness contact information, and a chronology of significant events.
Have Realistic Expectations
A client that has unrealistic expectations is one of the major red flags for a lawyer. Even after a favorable trial outcome, this might make resolving a matter more challenging or end in disappointment.
Also, be fair in your expectations of your counsel. Don’t anticipate a progress update every single day, and don’t lose your composure if the attorney doesn’t respond to your calls right away. The attorney will notify you if something major occurs.
Litigation lawyers are expert liar detectors. After all, that’s part of their job and training. So there’s a strong possibility they’ll figure out if you’re not telling them everything or if you’re hiding something. What is the significance of this? Because if they don’t think you’re credible, neither will a judge or jury. Your lawyer must also have faith in you since he or she will be making sworn remarks to the court based on what you tell them. They won’t be able to properly represent you if they’re always questioning if you’re lying.
See an Attorney As Soon As Possible
Waiting to see an attorney, in general, does not help you at all. It’s one thing if you’re expecting a copy of certain documents before scheduling an appointment. If you’re just postponing the visit, it’s a different story. If you wait too long, your lawyer may question how significant your injuries are or how significant your lawsuit is to you.
Let the Attorney Take the Wheel
This may seem self-evident, yet some clients believe they know the law better than their counsel and behave accordingly. This is one of lawyers’ biggest frustrations. Consider a driver in an unknown location who relies on a car navigation system. Your attorney is the navigation system, and you are the driver. Although you have final control over the car, the GPS system determines the optimal route to take. You’ve made the decision to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for your injuries, but now it’s time to delegate decision-making authority to your attorney. They will determine what court documents to submit, what evidence to acquire, and how to negotiate with the opposing party. After all, that’s why you hired them.
Contact Curcio Law Offices Today
At Curcio Law Offices, we understand that when you sustain an injury, you won’t want to handle the legal process alone. Luckily, we’re here to help you through every step of the process. We’ll ensure that you stay up to date with each development in your case. If you want attentive, experienced attorneys who effectively handle a wide variety of cases, you need Curcio Law Offices. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, please call 312-321-1111 or fill out our online intake form today.