What Cases Do You Refuse?

When dealing with a new matter, what cases do you or should you refuse? Obviously, you do an initial screening to determine whether there is liability and damages. You will probably have a threshold for the amount of damages that the client has to make it worthwhile. I won’t take a case where the client can’t answer simple questions. If you can’t get information from the client, or can’t have a discussion with the client, you’re going to have a long road to go with the representation.

When I say, simple questions I mean simple questions. Like “You fell off the roof and hurt your arm. What treatment did you get for your arm?”  After a non responsive answer from the potential client. “Did the doctor look at your arm?” non responsive answer. “Did they take x-rays of the arm?” non responsive answer. “Did they put your arm in a sling or a cast?” non responsive answer. “Did you receive physical therapy on your arm?” non responsive answer. “Of all of the medications the doctor gave you, were any of them specifically for your arm?” non responsive answer. 

Hmmm……….  How can you take a case like that? If you can’t get a straight answer, it’s better to turn down the case. I think you make money on the cases you don’t take. Cases that frustrate or upset you take up to much mental energy and take away from the good cases. When I was just starting my practice, I would look at a case like that and see that the damages seemed to far outweigh the amount of insurance and that the case would resolve quickly and would take the case. Or a client would come in on in a workers compensation case that had a hearing 2 weeks from then. Both of those were a mistake on my part. I thought “How bad can it be?” Answer. Pretty bad.

It’s easier to just finish up some of your other cases a little faster and be happy.

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