Reasons A Personal Injury Lawyer Won’t Take Your Case

There are a number of reasons a personal injury lawyer won’t take your case. After an initial phone call or first meeting with one of our lawyers we sometimes have to decline representation.   Generally, though we try to make sure someone who has spoken to us gets an understanding of the reason we said we cannot help.

More than once though, we have spoken with people who were confused and even a bit upset that another lawyer said no to their case.  Usually they don’t understand why the lawyer rejected them.   

A good personal injury attorney wants to help people deal with a bad event in their life.  That is why we chose the profession,.  But there are some very basic reasons that apply to a number of people’s situations for why sometimes we can’t help.

Your Injuries Are Not Serious Enough To Justify A Lawyer’s Participation


The best injury case is the smallest one.   Being in an injury accident is always a losing proposition.  So no one wants you to have been hurt worse than you are.  But for a lawyer to be able to assist you there must be significant damages from the accident.  Otherwise, the investment of time effort and energy outweighs the benefit of pursuing a claim.   Generally the type of injuries that make a case worth pursuing with an attorney are those that create an ongoing physical injury, a substantial loss of work or need to change your job or an inability to continue with your activities of daily living, ordinary family life or recreational pastimes.

Smaller accident injury claims can be pursued in appropriate circumstances.  Sometimes all you need is a bit of informal advice from an attorney. Personal injury lawsuits are primarily useful for larger claims.  They help in getting fairer compensation of financial losses. And in compensating significant pain and suffering that some other person’s negligence or recklessness caused.

Liability Issues Are Too Severe

If you are hurt but there’s no obvious person or company that caused the injuries  a case cannot go forward. Unless there is a responsible party, you don’t have a case.

The mere fact you were hurt does not in and of itself create a good case.  To establish liability (to show someone was negligent) a lawyer has to show four things::

  •     Duty – The defendant had a legal obligation to act or refrain from an action (act reasonably under the circumstances);
  •     Breach– The defendant failed act reasonably;
  •     Causation – The breach of duty caused injuries to you; and
  •     Damages – The plaintiff’s injuries resulted in actual financial losses (like medical costs and lost wages)and non-economic losses (like pain and suffering) .

Comparative Responsibility Exists- (i.e. you are partially responsible for your own injuries).

Idaho applies a comparative responsibility standard.  This means legal responsibility for an injury can be shared among multiple parties. So, if you were injured, but you weren’t exercising reasonable care, you may be found to have a share of fault for your damages.  For example, in a slip and fall case maybe you were talking on your phone when you fell.

In Idaho, if you were responsible for 50 percent of the accident, you are prevented from recovering any damages.  This rule often prevents a slip and fall case from going forward.   

The Statute Of Limitations Has Expired.

You may have had a great claim, but you waited long to contact an attorney.  In Idaho the statute is generally two years in personal injury and medical malpractice cases—  though there are some limited exceptions.  Even if the statute of limitations has not already expired, delay can cause problems.  Witnesses move or forget things or evidence gets lost and you are prevented from proving your case.

We always recommended you review your case with a quality personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after you are injured

Location And Travel Costs Prevent Participation

Injuries to a person from out of area add to the costs of litigation.  Even though technology allows for  video calls, emails and texts, you’ll likely have to fly in for a deposition and maybe a medical examination.  Not to mention trial itself. 

The same is true if the defendant is out of state. In that instance your attorney will have to travel—and incur the resulting costs—to take depositions and do research. This challenge may cause a lawyer to decline a smaller case, where damages aren’t likely to be high.

Other Good Lawyers Have Rejected The Case.

Experienced lawyers evaluate cases even more closely when other lawyers have rejected it.  This is not ALWAYS a killer.  Sometimes the fit between lawyer and client isn’t right, or the attorney didn’t feel capable of doing the work,  But if another lawyer, particularly one we know and respect, has vetted the case and turned it down, that raises red flags.

You Have Strong Misconceptions About The Value Of Injury Claims

At times potential clients have a very overt financial focus.  Clients who are overly concerned about the cases financial potential tend to be problematic.  It is difficult to predict at the outset the value of a claim because there are always unknowns.  If someone is looking for a lawyer to make a promise to them about how much money they will get, they have the wrong focus. 

Good injury lawyers know there is considerable thought and research that underlies the evaluation of damages.  Any lawyer that makes a specific promise early in the process is someone for you to avoid.  Any potential client that wants that is someone for us to avoid.  

The best lawyers often tend to be the ones who tell you up front there’s no guarantee at all of any recovery.  There are lots of reasons for that.   We want to represent people looking for lawyers like those here at Hepworth Holzer who have experience in injury law, a proven history of success, and a commitment to the best possible results.  Not someone who is looking for empty promises.

Lawyers Must Evaluate Claims From An Economic Perspective

Your injury can have impacted your life and you still cannot find an attorney.  For personal injury lawyers, we have to evaluate cases on whether we can actually help you.  And if we can do so in a reasonable financial manner.  You get top-quality legal representation for your semi-truck collision case on a contingency fee basis. That means for us we cannot get paid until you receive a settlement or verdict.  And, handling a case costs money.   We often agree to carry the court costs and other administrative expenses of a case until resolution.  We have to deal with the case, that is personal to you, as a business proposition. If a case looks like it could rack up numerous expenses like that and take a long time to resolve, that proposition may not be a good one.

Always Take Advantage Of A Free Case Review and Evaluation Of Your Injury Claim

Don’t let the possibility that we may say no keep you from getting a free consultation.   Even if we decline your case, you will likely learn something worthwhile in talking to us.  We see and evaluate lots of cases.  Our aim is always to make the best decision and provide the best guidance we can based on our experience and the facts you share with us.

3 thoughts on “Reasons A Personal Injury Lawyer Won’t Take Your Case

  1. Pingback: Who Gets Paid Out Of the Settlement Of An Injury Lawsuit. - Hepworth Holzer

  2. Pingback: Reasons Why a Personal Injury Lawyer Won’t Take a Case - Wells, Call, Clark, Bennett & Clawson

  3. Eli Mcmullen says:

    It makes sense that you will be more likely to find an attorney to help you with your case if you contact one prior to the statute of limitations expiring. My uncle significantly damaged his neck when his car was rear-ended on his way home from a party, and he has spent the past few weeks recovering. Maybe he should consider hiring an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that he wins his case.

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