California law permits victims to switch personal injury lawyers at almost any time during their case. But victims must consider questions of payment and how easy it will be to hire a new attorney before making a change.
Maison Law represents the victims of personal injury accidents across California. Our personal injury lawyers aggressively seek compensation for our clients from individuals and companies who cause accidents and injuries. We are also happy to help clients who are unhappy with the care and service they are receiving from their current lawyers. You will notice the difference in the compassionate care that Maison Law provides. Please contact us after an accident for a free, no-obligation consultation on your case.
When Can I Fire My Personal Injury Lawyer?
California empowers personal injury victims to exercise full control over their cases. Victims can choose any personal injury lawyer they feel comfortable with and they can also fire a personal injury lawyer they aren’t happy with.
Personal injury lawyers can get rid of a lawyer and hire a new one no matter where their cases sit at the time. When two parties can’t reach a settlement and a case must be decided in court, a plaintiff still has the right to switch attorneys, even if the trial has started.
There are sometimes disadvantages to switching to a new lawyer, especially late in the game, so it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, if clients are unhappy with the legal representation they are getting, they should act to make a change they’ll be happier with. Their instincts may be right. This change could result in a much better outcome for their case and mean more funds secured in a settlement check or judgment.
Reasons for Changing Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal injury victims can be unhappy with their personal injury lawyers for many reasons. They may not be getting the communication and attention they expect. They may have fading confidence in their lawyer’s ability to handle their case.
These doubts often arise when inexperienced lawyers have taken on cases they aren’t qualified to handle. Law firms that don’t focus on customer satisfaction and care commonly end up with unhappy clients. They may put profits before the needs of personal injury victims.
A problem may just be the result of a personality conflict. Clients may not connect with their lawyers on a personal level. These are all reasonable excuses for wanting to find another lawyer to represent your case.
An accident can upend your life and the amount in settlement money you earn with your injury claim may decide your financial future and your potential enjoyment of life. Your lawyer should also care about these things.
Other Considerations When Thinking About Switching Attorneys
Your decision to switch personal injury attorneys during your case should be carried out after a lot of thought and consideration.
It’s critical to make a clean break from your last attorney and to know who will be handling your case moving forward. Making a rash decision is dangerous because it can cost you money, hurt your case, and leave you without an attorney.
These are some concerns you should consider before deciding whether to switch attorneys or not:
- Paying Your Former Lawyer. Personal injury lawyers often work on a “contingency basis.” It means they don’t get paid unless they win your case and then their fee comes out of the settlement money you receive. But if you fire your attorney, the payment method may change. You’ll need to check your contract signed with the lawyer. You could have to pay lawyers for the time they’ve already put into your case immediately, even if you are switching to a new lawyer. In some cases, your old attorney may have put enough time into your case to warrant asking for a share of any settlement or judgment your case earns. Your former lawyer and your new attorney would have to work out an agreement on how to share the attorney’s fee in the event of a case victory.
- Can you find a new lawyer? You may be forced to end your legal relationship with your lawyer, but that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to find a new personal injury lawyer. Your new lawyer would have to think your case is worth taking over. Your previous lawyer may have done a lot of work on your case. Your next lawyer would have to be all right with sharing some of the profit of your case with your last lawyer. Your potential new attorney may not want to take on a case that’s been handled by someone else for too long. A potential lawyer could be unhappy with the way your case has been handled and how evidence has been presented. Your new lawyer may not have time to rebuild a case the way they’d like. A lawyer can decide it’s too much work and not enough profit to take on your claim. It’s always best to explore your options with other lawyers before firing your current representative.
- Consider the timing. Pulling the plug on your client/attorney relationship late in the game can affect your chances of winning your case. A trial may be looming and a new lawyer may not have time to reverse the actions and/or mistakes of a previous attorney. A switch after much of the foundation of your case has been laid could do irreversible harm to your prospects for success. A switch early on is much easier to rebound from to find success.
- No retaliation. You should not have to worry about retaliation from your former lawyer. California prohibits a lawyer from acting to hurt the case of a client or former client. Your former lawyer could face penalties and disbarment if found guilty of taking any sort of retaliatory action.
- Right to privacy remains. Your previous lawyer must also still respect the client-attorney privilege protection and not use your information for any other purpose.
- Right to a second opinion. You can seek out and interview new attorneys at any time. You can also ask another attorney to review your case and the progress your current legal representative has made.
- Alert Your Lawyer. Terminate your current attorney’s services in writing. Ask for a copy of all records pertaining to your case.
Contact Maison Law for a Free Consultation on Your Case
Maison Law offers a free case consultation to any personal injury victims, even if they already have a lawyer. We are happy to examine your case with you to determine if a change in strategy, and lawyer, may help you earn more in an accident claim.
Contact our California personal injury attorneys to schedule a free case review to find out what your injury is really worth and how to make sure you are receiving every benefit available.