Can I Switch Attorneys in a Personal Injury Case?

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Can I Switch Attorneys in a Personal Injury Case?

If your personal injury attorney is not working out for you, you have every right to change to another attorney that will suit your needs.

Why Would I Change Personal Injury Attorneys?

There are a number of reasons you might change attorneys after your case has begun. According to Personal Injury Attorneys 818, a Glendale personal injury lawyer group, some reasons to change attorneys are:

  • You may find it hard to communicate with your attorney
  • You feel your attorney is not moving fast enough
  • You find the attorney didn’t communicate what you should expect
  • You feel the attorney is not working in your best interests
  • You find the attorney has a conflict of interest

Whatever the reason, you have the right to find the right attorney to plead your case.

How Do I Hire a New Attorney?

You should consider hiring a new attorney very carefully. You need to find someone whom you feel will pay proper attention to your case, has the knowledge and resources to fight for you.

Finding the ‘right’ lawyer to represent you is often the most critical factor in a successful recovery. They offer a list of tips when choosing an attorney, including:

  • Research sources that help provide you with ratings on what their colleagues say about them:
  • Ask your attorney, “What percentage of your cases are referrals from other lawyers?”
  • Be wary of solicitation letters that arrive after an accident
  • Never pay a fee for an upfront consultation
  • Almost all personal injury attorneys work on a recovery basis, but always ask their policies if the case is lost:
    • Are fees charged to you if there is no recovery?
    • Will out of pocket expenses be charged to you?

What Is the Process for Changing Attorneys?

Your process for changing attorneys will depend on the structure of your agreement with your prior attorney and how much time has passed since the beginning of your case.

If your agreement was an hourly fee case, there may be issues with your transfer as the new lawyer will need to bill hours in order to get familiar with your case. This may not be an issue if the work by the previous attorney was minimal, but there may be a case where a double billing may occur.

If your case is a contingency case, the old lawyer may place a lien for work already done. The new lawyer may be willing to pay the previous attorney’s fees out of the new lawyer’s contingency fee. If you reach this agreement, then there is no issue. If the new attorney does not agree, then you may face a double billing situation.

Discuss your options with the new attorney to see if any billing issues with your old attorney can be worked out.

How Do I Avoid Mistakes with My Personal Injury Case?

There are eight mistakes to avoid when filing your personal injury claim:

  1. Failing to get the proper medical care
  2. Failing to document your injuries at the time of an accident
  3. Giving the insurance company a statement without first consulting your attorney
  4. Signing a release authorization
  5. Stopping treatment early
  6. Settling before you know the extent of your injuries
  7. Settling without a lawyer
  8. “Wimping out” on your own case and failing to sue

Why Would an Attorney Reject My Case?

A lawyer may reject your personal injury case for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The lawyer will have difficulty establishing liability
    Just because you are hurt does not mean someone else is at fault.
  • Your damages are not enough to pursue a case
    An attorney needs to establish there are enough monetary damages in your case to warrant action.
  • The defendant does not have enough money to pay damages
    Even if your case is good, there is no reason to pursue damages if the defendant can’t pay for your damages and the attorney costs.
  • Your case will take a long time
    If your case will be lengthy, the attorney may not want to pay the upfront expenses required for a contingency settlement.
  • If the attorney has a conflict of interest in your case
    This could be if the lawyer has represented the defendant in a prior case, or has a moral objection.

You do have the option of changing attorneys for your case, but be aware of the pitfalls. Interview prospective attorneys to discuss your circumstances and the options available to you. Good luck in your search for the best legal representation.

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