Frequently Asked Questions

Why won’t a personal injury lawyer take my case?

There are a number of reasons why a California personal injury attorney might not take your case.  Some of these may relate to the law, while others have to do with their own practice or the details of your case.

First, there may be technical reasons that prevents an attorney from accepting your case.  For example, in California, the statute of limitations (time period to file a lawsuit) is two years.  If you bring a case to a personal injury lawyer after the statute of limitations has passed, then he or she cannot take the case because any lawsuit that is filed would be dismissed. There may be a conflict of interest, which prevents the lawyer from becoming involved in your case. An example is if you consult with the same lawyer already retained by the other party involved in your accident.

Second, there may be reasons having to do with the attorney’s practice that relate to them declining your case.  For example, you may go to a personal injury lawyer with a specific type of injury resulting from a particular type of accident.  If that area of law is not within the attorney’s area of expertise, then he or she should not take your case (and should refer you to another attorney if possible).  It may also be possible that the lawyer you consulted with is simply too busy to take on another client. In that situation, you should ask for recommendations and look for another attorney.

Third, it may be that your case simply is not strong enough for a personal injury attorney to take on at this time. For example, if you suffered few or no damages, the case may not be worth filing a lawsuit if the chances of receiving a settlement are low.  Or perhaps the defendant is uninsured or underinsured, which makes the possibility of collecting a settlement or judgment very low.  In some cases, you may be partially or mostly at fault for the accident.  California follows a pure comparative fault model, which means that the amount of damages that you recover will be reduced that the percentage that you are deemed at fault for the accident.  This can substantially decrease any potential recovery — and make your case less attractive to a personal injury lawyer.

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