It sounds simple – if you've been injured or wronged by someone else's carelessness, incompetence, or malice, you can get a personal injury lawyer and sue for damage. But what happens when you can't find a lawyer in town who will return your calls, or when they tell you directly that they can't take your case? If it's just one lawyer, they may simply have too high a caseload and cannot take on your case. But if your case is being turned down over and over again, it's likely that something else is going on. Here are a few reasons why you may have trouble finding a lawyer to take your case, and what you can do about it if that happens.
Local Lawyers Don't Want to Sue Your Defendant
Want to sue the local police force for excessive force during an arrest, or a prominent local business that is influential in your community? That may be your problem if you're having trouble finding a lawyer. While personal injury lawyers certainly do routinely handle cases with those types of defendants, in some cases, local lawyers may feel that their own personal or business interests are at risk if they handle a case that accuses powerful local officials or community members of wrongdoing.
Lawyers are members of the community too, and while it's usually understood that they have a duty to represent their clients against even influential defendants, in some cases it may not be in their best interests to take a case that might paint a target on their backs. However, that doesn't mean that it's impossible for you to find representation and make your case in court.
If this sounds like it might apply to your situation, then don't give up just yet. Instead, try looking for a lawyer in a neighboring town, or a few towns over. Expanding your search radius may help you find a lawyer willing to go up against an influential defendant, because a lawyer with ties to a different community won't have as much to lose.
Your Case Falls Under a Specialized Niche
Sometimes, it's not enough to simply find a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury is a large umbrella that covers a wide variety of different types of cases. Some of the most common personal injury cases include slip and fall accidents, traffic accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability. Usually, you can find many personal injury lawyers in a local area that handle these types of cases.
If your injury arose from a boating accident, an animal attack, or something else unusual, you may need a lawyer with experience and training in those kinds of cases. In some cases, you may need a lawyer that's experienced in federal court rather than provincial court. In Canada, the federal court system has jurisdiction over cases that involve the rights of all Canadians, so if your case involves a civil rights violation, or if it involves a governmental agency, it may need to be heard in federal court. Not all personal injury lawyers have this kind of experience.
In this case, once again, the answer is to spread your net a little wider when searching for a lawyer. The lawyer than handled your traffic accident may not be experienced enough in maritime law to handle your boating accident, and the lawyer that handled your friend's slip and fall case in the provincial court may have no experience with making a case in federal court. Instead of looking for personal injury lawyer, look for lawyers that advertise themselves as boating accident lawyers or civil rights lawyers. Look outside your immediate local area.
Your Case has Problems
By far, the most common reason for lawyers to turn down a case is if it has a lot of problems. If the lawyer judges that your case is unwinnable, that a court will find you partially or mostly responsible for your injury, or that you simply won't be able to collect a significant judgment on your case, they will likely decline to spend their time and resources on your case. Personal injury lawyers take cases on contingency. That means that you only have to pay them if you win, which means there's a financial disincentive for them to take on cases that clearly won't win, or that won't result in much of a payment even if they do.
What To Do
If your case has been turned down by several lawyers, it may be time for you to reevaluate whether or not the case is still worth pursuing. For example, if you want to bring a product liability case, but you used the product in a way that was unintended or specifically warned against by the manufacturer, the odds are that a jury is going to hold you as responsible as or more responsible than the manufacturer for your injury, and you won't win much of a judgment. If it's not going to be worth a lawyer's time to pursue, is it really worth yours?
It may simply be that your case is not worth very much money. A pulled muscle may hamper you for a while at work, and it may not be a lot of fun, but it's not going to net you very much in court, in most cases. However, if there is clear cut liability on the part of the other party for a low level injury, you might consider pursuing the case yourself in small claims court.
In most cases, the best way to learn why a lawyer has rejected your case is to simply ask directly. Often, they will give you a direct answer, and they may even assist you in your search by referring you to a colleague who is better equipped to handle your case, or suggesting a course of action that's more appropriate for your case than a lawsuit. However, if you're not getting a direct answer, or any answer at all, ask yourself some tough questions. Does your case have holes, or does it offer little in the way of payout? Are you speaking to the right kind of lawyer? Will taking your case potentially harm your lawyer's business or personal dealings? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, it's time to reevaluate your search for the right attorney like Taylor and Blair Injury Lawyers.