Will a Lawyer Take a Losing Case? A Detailed Review

Will a lawyer take a losing case? Contact an attorney for legal disputes. Some assume attorneys will always take their case, but that’s not true.

An initial consultation is like an interview. You present your case, they decide if it’s viable, and you learn about them.

Comfort with your attorney is crucial since you’ll work together. Attorneys may disagree on case viability.

You want honesty about potential outcomes. Taking an unwinnable case is a red flag, wasting time and violating ethics. Reasons for rejection vary. Meet with multiple attorneys before giving up.

The first few may miss something valuable in your case.

Will a lawyer take a losing case?
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What is a Non-Winnable Case?

If your case is truly unwinnable, you’ll find it challenging to secure legal representation.

Various factors contribute to a claim being considered non-viable.

While some reasons are readily apparent, others involve subtle nuances unfamiliar to the layperson.

Some reasons an attorney will not take your case include:

  • Past the statute of limitations: There are stringent statutes of limitations for filing claims and cases. If you contact an attorney after the statute has expired, this is an unwinnable case. No court or judge will take a look at the issue. If you wait too long, you lose the right to file a lawsuit.
  • Filing too close to the statute of limitations: You might feel that anytime before the statute of limitations is sufficient to file a lawsuit. That is a misconception. If you are too close to the statute of limitations, an attorney will not take your case. There will be insufficient time to gather evidence, attend mediation, depose witnesses, etc. You need to take specific legal steps before filing a lawsuit.
  • You are entirely at fault: Regarding an accident, if there is evidence that you were entirely at fault, then no attorney will take your case. This determination will rely on the preliminary evidence that is present.
  • The case is challenging: Liability can be clear and injuries substantial, and the claim can still fall through. A lawyer may choose not to take your case if it is too challenging. Some examples are:
    • Questionable credibility
    • Delay in medical treatment
    • Not following medical treatment plans
    • You contributed to the accident
    • Your social media habits indicate you were at fault or did not have an injury
  • The attorney is only taking specific cases: While an attorney may know how to win your case, they can still decide not to take it. They can be going in a different direction and solely focus on a particular area. For example, instead of taking on every personal injury case, they are only looking to take on medical malpractice claims. Your case is a premises liability case and, therefore, not what they are focusing on currently.
  • Lack of resources: The legal process is costly, especially when catastrophic injuries are involved. The attorney will pay these costs upfront while the case goes on. If they do not have the resources to take on your case, they will not. Some firms will have the capital to take on your case but currently have too many cases to contend with and therefore cannot give your case the time and attention it deserves.
  • Conflict of interest: Lawyers follow specific ethical and moral guidelines in the legal field. If they previously represented the entity you seek damages from, it will be a conflict of interest to take your case. Conversely, if you and the attorney are related, this is also a conflict of interest. An attorney is legally required to decline a claim if there is a conflict of interest.
  • The recovery is too small: Some cases are winnable, but the potential for recovery is minimal. An attorney will weigh how much they expect to spend versus how much they wish to recover. If the recovery number is smaller, they will likely not take your case.
  • There is no one to sue: Liability is the basis on which your case will rest. For another entity to be held liable, the entity must have owed you a duty of care, and the other party must have breached this duty. If these elements are not present, neither is a case. In contrast, if no party was liable for your damages, there is no one to sue. If you were drunk driving and crashed into a tree, there is no viable entity to hold liable for your damages aside from yourself.
  • Personal reasons: We mentioned an initial consultation as a way for both parties to decide if they will work well together. An attorney can decline your case if they feel that you are out for revenge or your motivations do not align correctly with the case. They may feel you will be a challenging client and decide against working with you. An attorney can decline a claim for various personal reasons.
  • Lack of evidence: Every legal matter relies on evidence. If there is insufficient evidence, a lawyer is unlikely to take your claim. Other times there is substantial evidence, but the evidence is disputable. Ethically attorneys must ensure that clients or potential clients do not file frivolous claims or lawsuits.

A lawyer may decline your case if it is a waste of time and resources. They will see themselves investing more time and energy than what the case is worth. The court will also deem the case a waste of time.

What You Can Do to Have a More Appealing Case

Unchangeable facts determine a case’s viability. If truly unwinnable, reputable attorneys likely won’t accept it.

Yet, you can enhance its appeal by taking certain steps. But, never deceive your attorney in an attempt to make your case seem more attractive.

Take the following steps instead:

  • Gather evidence: Gather evidence before meeting your attorney. More evidence can strengthen your case. Take photos and videos. Get a medical exam. Collect witness contact info. Share it with your attorney.
  • Be honest with your attorney: Be honest during the first meeting. Concealing details can harm your case. Disclose everything, even your contribution to the accident. Lying might lead your attorney to drop your case.
  • Have realistic expectations: You must know your case’s worth. Many clients think it’s worth millions, but it may be worth thousands. Attorneys may be wary if you have unrealistic expectations. They may refuse to take your case. Be realistic. Know how long your case will take and the attorney’s response time. Communication may take longer as they have other clients.
  • Trust your attorney: When choosing a lawyer, trust them and their firm. Your legal knowledge is limited. Online research and friend advice can’t substitute for a lawyer’s expertise. Lack of trust may lead the attorney to refuse your case. Collaborate with your attorney, not against them.
  • Do not wait to speak to a lawyer: One final suggestion is to talk with an attorney immediately. The longer you wait, the less likely you can find an attorney willing to take on your case. You will need to gather your evidence and immediately meet with an experienced firm.

An experienced attorney decides to take a case based on preliminary evidence. More info makes the decision easier. They weigh pros and cons to determine viability.

Read more: Do you need a lawyer for Lemon Law?

How Does a Contingency Fee Work?

The contingency fee model significantly influences personal injury cases. Unlike other legal matters where upfront costs are required to retain an attorney, personal injury cases operate on a different arrangement.

Attorneys in such cases work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they win the case.

This fee structure serves as a motivation for attorneys to strive for success. Furthermore, it acts as a filter against taking on unwinnable cases since the attorney’s payment hinges on winning.

Upon settlement, the attorney deducts their share before issuing the client a check for damages.

How Do Lawyers Choose Cases?

At the outset, an attorney refrains from definitively stating the strength of a case or guaranteeing victory for the personal injury claim.

Instead, they employ cautious language to avoid making assurances they may not be able to fulfill.

Rather than asserting outright success, they communicate the likelihood of prevailing is favorable. Several factors come into play when determining whether an attorney will accept a case.

They assess the suitability of the client and their compatibility with the attorney. Evaluation of the evidence and potential outcomes is also crucial.

Additionally, the extent of damages incurred is considered. Even if injuries are significant and there’s room for dispute regarding the evidence, there remains a possibility of obtaining compensation.