My Auto Accident Attorney is an ASS!

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: October 7, 2016

My Auto Accident Attorney is an ASS! Why Did He Drop My Case?

As a Phoenix accident lawyer, I have been providing Phoenix car accident advice for almost 20 years, and I can confidently say that this industry has more than its fair share of asses. So when someone says to me “my auto accident attorney is an ass” because their attorney has dropped their case, I like to explain that most of the time it is a little more complicated than that.

In fact, many people who choose to enter a profession that revolves around arguing and being adversarial are often “special” individuals. Having said that, the “special” traits that your lawyer possesses may actually have nothing to do with why he dropped your injury case.

Phoenix Car Accident Advice

So why did your auto accident attorney drop your case? In my experience, it’s often due to a combination of the following four factors:

Your lawyer is lazy.

  • In order to give you the proper Phoenix car accident advice, your auto accident attorney must establish the facts and work within the confines of the law and this can be complicated—not to mention the demands and stresses attorneys face when helping clients, pleasing bosses, and dealing with judges and opposing counsel.
  • Many attorneys keep working on difficult cases because they have to make a living, but stress can cause them to “check out” at any point during the legal process, resulting in subpar work and poor outcomes. In my many years of practice, I have come across a number of “checked out” attorneys, but laziness isn’t always the primary reason why attorneys drop cases.
  • Remember, if your auto accident attorney dropped your case, he doesn’t get paid. Even “checked out” attorneys often keep working on cases if they think they can reach a successful resolution for their clients and get paid.

Your lawyer is incompetent.

  • Before being allowed to practice law, attorneys must spend several years in law school and then pass the difficult bar examination after thousands of hours of rigorous writing, researching, and studying. Surely someone who can handle all of that can also handle an injury case and successfully represent you in court, right?
  • Wrong! Injury cases can be complicated, and the laws involved can be extremely complex. Unfortunately, many lawyers are willing to take on injury cases because they mistakenly think that such cases are straightforward and easy.
  • Incompetency can be a major problem in the legal profession, but like laziness, it’s not always a primary reason why your car accident attorney dropped your case. In my experience, incompetent attorneys generally are not aware of their own incompetence.
  • In fact, they often think that they’re doing everything correctly because they don’t know the right steps to take. And when their cases have poor outcomes, their clients are unaware that their resolutions fell short of expectations simply because their lawyers lacked the knowledge and experience required to help them get a satisfactory auto accident settlement.

Your lawyer decided the risks weren’t worth the rewards.

  • Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means they don’t get paid until the end of the legal process—and only if the case they’re working on is successful. In addition to initially working for free, attorneys also cover all initial case-related expenses and can only reimburse themselves and their businesses for those costs if they win.
  • Because of this, attorneys continuously evaluate cases throughout every step of the process. After establishing the facts of a case, attorneys make a decision to move forward or drop the case based on the following criteria:
    • Whether or not the case will be successful in litigation
    • How much money will be paid to the client when, and if, he wins the case
    • How much money it will cost to reach a successful resolution
  • For example, attorneys who handle medical malpractice claims will not take on a case unless they believe that its value exceeds $1 million. That’s because the expenses involved in many medical malpractice cases, such as hiring expert witnesses, can exceed $100,000.
  • The cost of hiring expert witnesses makes attorneys even more reluctant to take on small cases, as the expenses required to win those cases can easily exceed their overall value.
  • Finally, many attorneys pass on or drop cases if the value of particular a case simply doesn’t justify the hours required to win it. An attorney who charges a 40-percent fee on a case worth $9,000 would receive $3,600 at its conclusion, but the amount of work required to win may total $15,000 or more.

Your lawyer thinks your case stinks.

  • It sounds harsh, but it’s true. Many clients initially believe the have great injury cases, but when the facts are revealed by their attorneys, they may not have much of a case at all.
  • Unfortunately, some auto accident lawyers may not know that their clients have weak cases until after they’ve taken them on and finished the investigation process—which can sometimes take months.
  • So when an attorney drops a case, his client may get the wrong impression and blame the attorney himself. To make matters worse, some attorneys send their clients impersonal letters instead of calling them directly and explaining the situation in a clear-cut manner.
  • It’s important for clients to understand that the investigation process isn’t free. In most jurisdictions, if you sue someone and lose, you could end up owing money to the defendant in addition to court fees, attorney fees, and case costs to the defense, just to name a few.
  • These fees could cost tens of thousands of dollars, and most attorneys don’t want to expose their clients to this liability if they don’t believe their cases have a chance of being successful.
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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