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Top Reasons Why Law Firms Refer Out Personal Injury Cases

People who have been injured in car crashes, slip and falls, and other unexpected accidents often seek out personal injury attorneys for legal advice. But sometimes, these personal injury attorneys send victims to another law firm instead of agreeing to represent them. In fact, this happens much more often than people may think. If you have been injured, it’s important to understand why a lawyer may refer you to another law firm. Here are some of the most common reasons:

The Complexity of the Case

One of the main reasons why lawyers refer clients to other law firms is because of the complexity of their cases. All personal injury cases are challenging, but some are far more difficult than others. This is especially true of medical malpractice and product liability cases, which involve complex topics. Some lawyers may feel up to the challenge, but most will send you to another law firm that specializes in a specific type of personal injury law.

The Type of Case

Personal injury lawyers can technically represent clients in any type of personal injury case. However, many lawyers choose to focus on a handful of practice areas. For example, an attorney may only take car, motorcycle, and truck accident cases. If you bring a dog bite case to this lawyer, you will most likely be sent to another law firm.

Lawyers who don’t practice personal injury law at all will also send personal injury clients to other law firms. You wouldn’t want a divorce lawyer handling your car accident case, so this is in everyone’s best interests.

The Value of the Case is Low 

Personal injury attorneys estimate the value of each case brought to them. If the value is too low, they may decide to refer the client to another firm instead of taking on the case themselves. Why? Personal injury lawyers do not charge an hourly rate or flat fee for their legal services. Instead, they work on a contingency fee basis. This means they will take a percentage of the compensation awarded to their clients at the end of the case. The lower the value of the case, the less the attorney is paid for his legal services. Because of this, many highly sought after personal injury attorneys will not work on cases below a certain value.

Lack of Resources

Personal injury attorneys also turn away cases because of a lack of resources. There are only so many hours in a day, so attorneys can only handle a certain number of cases at once. If an attorney has too much on their plate, they will refer clients to another firm instead of trying to juggle more than they can handle.

Lack of financial resources could also impact an attorney’s decision to refer the case to another law firm. As previously mentioned, personal injury attorneys do not get paid until the case has been resolved because they work on a contingency fee basis. In addition to taking a percentage of their client’s compensation for their legal fees, attorneys also expect to be reimbursed for any expenses they incurred. For example, if you need an expert witness to testify in your case, this will cost you. Your attorney will cover the expert witness’s fee upfront, and then take this money out of the settlement once the case is resolved.

But, some attorneys simply do not have enough cash to cover these expenses while they wait for the case to be resolved. Attorneys with limited cash will carefully review each case to determine if there will be a lot of expenses involved. If so, they may refer the client to another law firm that will be able to cover these expenses. If they don’t refer clients to another firm, they risk presenting a weaker case on behalf of their client because of limited financial resources.

Lack of Effort

For most personal attorneys, working on a contingency fee basis serves as motivation to fight tirelessly for clients in order to increase the compensation awarded to them. However, some personal injury attorneys don’t think this way. Instead, they see working on a contingency fee basis as an obstacle to earning money. If a case seems difficult, it means there’s a chance the client could not be compensated, which means the attorney won’t be compensated either. Personal injury attorneys who think this way will only accept cases that are easy-to-win so they don’t have to work hard for their money.


Sometimes, the location of the case can also influence a personal injury attorney’s decision to take the case or refer the client to another law firm. If you were injured in a car accident in another state, for example, you will need to find a personal injury attorney who is licensed to practice law in the state where the accident occurred.

Personal injury lawyers in California are legally allowed to practice anywhere within the state, but that doesn’t mean they will. It’s possible that a personal injury lawyer will refer your case to another law firm to avoid making the long drive to another city or county. Lawyers who are in another county or city could also refer the case to another firm if they feel the client would benefit from having a personal injury attorney who is more familiar with the local court system.

Have you been injured as a result of someone else’s negligent behavior? If so, seek legal representation from our experienced personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. Our personal injury attorneys will handle your case instead of your sending you to another law firm. Contact Carpenter & Zuckerman today to schedule a free consultation with our team of knowledgeable personal injury lawyers.

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