If you have serious concerns about your lawyer’s abilities or how your case is being handled, finding a better fit may be the right decision.
Perhaps you have come to suspect that the law firm representing you in your personal injury case isn’t sufficiently competent or experienced. You may feel that your attorney is not communicating with you about your case, or that your interests may not be aligned with your lawyer’s financial interests.
You do have the prerogative to switch attorneys, especially if you believe that your representation or the handling of your case has been substandard. In some cases, this can be accomplished without paying any attorney fees.
Good Reasons to Change Your Personal Injury Lawyer
While you can cancel your legal representation at any time, it should be considered a major decision to switch lawyers, especially if substantial trial preparations or negotiations have already taken place, as your new attorney will have some catching up to do, and your original lawyer may be entitled to a percentage of your compensation settlement or award.
On the other hand, sometimes an attorney’s advertising and initial presentation can communicate a false sense of confidence about a law firm that starts to feel different after the retainer is signed.
Bicycle Accident Client
I came upon Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers in a nervous google search for “Personal Injury Attorneys Near Me.” I’d never needed a lawyer before. I didn’t know how to find one – let alone one I could trust. All I knew is that I needed help. I’d been hit by a car. My injuries were not getting better. I was in over my head.My brother-in-law (who works for an insurance company) found out I’d been handling the claim myself and was horrified. “That’s what injury lawyers are for!!” So I started looking for one and less than an hour after filling out the intake form on their website, Annie called me back.From that day forward, everything was just easier. My lawyers, Annie and Rebecca, helped me feel confident in my decisions and ultimately, got me a great settlement. They also genuinely cared about my recovery. The fact that Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers is an all-female law firm was part of the reason I decided to hire them and they lived up to every expectation. Annie and Rebecca were sympathetic, patient, and supportive. I appreciate everything they did for me.
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Visit our How it Works Page to learn more about how the personal injury process works.
Here are a few good reasons to change your personal injury attorney even during the later stages of the financial recovery process:
- You doubt your attorney’s competence.
- There is any animosity between you and your lawyer.
- You can’t get in touch with your lawyer easily, they don’t respond to your phone calls or emails, you always get a legal assistant instead of the primary attorney on your case, or you don’t receive clear answers to your questions.
- Your lawyer has done or said things that makes you question whether they are representing you in a fashion that’s 100% above board.
Are Dismissed Lawyers Entitled to a Fee?
One reason many people stick the financial recovery process out with lawyers they’re not 100% comfortable with is that they think they may have to pay the original attorney anyway. That may not always be the case.
Whether or not you have to pay a lawyer’s fees out of pocket is typically determined by whether or not the insurance company has already made an offer for compensation.
If there has been no offer made:
Your old lawyer may place a lien on any insurance claim or award you’re given by a judge in an amount representing the work they’ve put in. That lien will not have to be paid out of pocket, but only be paid if your new lawyer secures a financial payout for you.
If there is an offer already on the table:
Your lawyer may submit a bill to you based on the percentage of that offer agreed upon before they began working for you. So, for example, if you agreed to pay 33% of an insurance claim (an industry average) and the insurance company has already offered you $20,000, you may be expected to pay around $6,000 out of pocket.
However, when you change personal injury lawyers, your old lawyer cannot add additional fees onto what you’ve already agreed to pay.
Avoid Having to Change Personal Injury Lawyers by Finding the Right One First
You can avoid the wrong attorney and having to switch personal injury attorney in the middle of a case by finding the right lawyer the first time. Finding the right lawyer to handle your injury claim is an important decision. Look for a personal injury lawyer with the right qualities:
- Experienced – preferably practicing for years in your geographical area handling your types of cases.
- Honest – with you and everyone else involved in the financial recovery process.
- Open – and will communicate frankly and often with you in order to keep you informed.
- Ethical – always putting your needs first.
The best way to find such a good personal injury lawyer is to do your research before you hire them. Get to know a lawyer even before you meet for the first time.
- Investigate their website.
- Read client testimonials.
- Get in touch.
- Ask for references.
- Know what questions you should ask during your initial consultation.
- Discuss your concerns openly.
If, at any time, you don’t feel comfortable with that professional or don’t feel like they are giving you 100% of their attention, keep looking keep looking for a lawyer and hire one you are comfortable with. A little extra research before you sign any contracts will help you eliminate the need to change personal injury lawyers after the process has already begun.