We just celebrated Memorial Day and gave thanks for those that served and died protecting the USA. During this weekend, many of our neighbors died or were injured in auto accidents. They further suffer while they can’t find a lawyer to help them. WHY YOU ASK?

So let’s talk turkey as to why! People often wonder why attorneys will not accept their accident case. Many people believe if they were injured then they have a case. Well, only dog bite accidents have Strict Liability, which means if a dog bites you then the owner is responsible.

For all other accidents, causation is the most important factor. To hold someone responsible for your injuries, an attorney has to show the party at fault breached a legal duty. In other words, the lawyer must show the defendant did something wrong, resulting in an injury.

A severe injury is not enough. If you blow a stop sign and get in a major accident with horrendous injuries, the first question is who was a fault? If it was you then the conversation is over

If you are partly at fault, a lawyer may reject your case because the value of the case will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Thus, there may not be enough money in the case for the lawyer, let alone the plaintiff. S/he analyzes whether they can prove the other party is legally responsible and that injuries can be compensated for by the other party’s insurance company.

Now that we are talking Turkey, there are other reasons to reject a case such as when the injury is not serious enough. It is not enough for the potential client to say “I could almost have been killed.” Almost is not enough! The injuries are one way of gauging the expected recovery. The legal system doesn’t deal in speculation for either injuries or potential loss of earnings.

In an accident case, the degree to which you were hurt by someone else’s fault is the most important factor. Without the substantial injuries it just may not be economically worth it for the law firm to handle the case.

If a potential client is elderly, a lawyer may reject the case because of their concern the victim may not survive until a trial date. Some defense lawyers will stall on settling the case, hoping the victim will pass away. If that happens the pain and suffering aspect of the case passes with them.

If a lawyer accepts the case it’s on a contingency where the lawyer takes 1/3 of the recovery. On the other hand, a defense lawyer is paid hourly thus having a vested interest in the case not settling quickly. Some defense firms milk cases and take unnecessary depositions or send out discovery that is not really needed to evaluate the case. These costs all reduce the recovery to the victim.

When a lawyer interviews you s/he looks to see if you have been talking to other lawyers (let alone the insurance company) and what the lawyers have said. In other words, is the client looking to find a lawyer that will agree with their opinion as to the value of the case?

Defense lawyers get paid whether they win or lose the case. However the plaintiff’s side is stuck with the costs and do not get the money back unless they win. A PI lawyer must be a good business person, accepting or rejecting a case after careful consideration and guesstimates of time and money to be invested versus chances of success.


“TOP LAWYER” – California’s Prestige Magazine, Palm Springs Life (PI/DUI) 2011-20

“TOP LAWYER” – Inland Empire Magazine 2016- 2019

PERFECT 10.0 AVVO Peer Rating


SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE ARTICLE? CONTACT DALE GRIBOW 760-837-7500/ dale@dalegribowlaw.com.

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