After 35 years of practicing personal injury law, I can’t even begin to think of the number of cases I have turned down. The number must well be in the tens of thousands. Most times the prospective client understands why there is no case and thanks me for my time and opinion. But a fair number of those potential clients have gotten nasty and downright rude when told they don’t have a case worth pursuing. “You lawyers are all the same, all you care about is money. What about justice?” I am berated with.
Lawyers, of course, care very deeply about justice. But a personal injury lawyer cannot survive taking on a justice crusade with no hope for a fee at the end of the rainbow. After all, he or she has mortgage payments, car payments and credit card payments to make, like everybody else.
Lawyers cannot earn a living turning down cases. A good personal injury case is a lawyer’s lifeblood. But lawyers can go out of business fast if they are not selective in the cases they take. As a personal injury lawyer only earns a fee if he is successful in getting his client money, and generally lays out the up-front costs of the litigation, taking cases that are not “winners” is a big hazard lawyers need to avoid.
Not all lawyers see cases the same way. If a lawyer has turned you down, it is best to seek a second or even third opinion. If all the lawyers you’ve contacted are telling you the same thing, they are not being rude to you. They are saying you do not have a case that will result in the lawyer earning a fee. Pure and simple.
It is not personal. It’s just that personal injury lawyers do not run charity operations.
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