Can You Change Lawyers in the Middle of a Personal Injury Case?


Choosing a personal injury attorney to represent you is a big decision. If you were involved in an accident, then you’re likely dealing with myriad issues, including physical symptoms, emotional distress, lost wages, and more. With that in mind, you shouldn’t have to worry about your lawyer being up to task.

If you have doubts about the quality of your representation, then you’re within your rights to change attorneys. However, switching lawyers in the middle of a case can have negative consequences. Read on to learn about some of the top reasons clients change attorneys along, with the benefits and drawbacks of making a switch mid-case.

Reasons to Consider Changing Attorneys

It’s not uncommon for clients to want to change attorneys during a personal injury case. After all, this individual could have a significant effect on your life and financial future. From personality clashes to poor representation, here are some of the most likely reasons that clients seek to switch their lawyers:

Lack of Communication: Is it hard to get your lawyer on the phone? Do they ignore emails and neglect to return messages? Cases depend on good communication between lawyers and clients, so you might want to consider removing an attorney who doesn’t keep in contact.

Lack of Respect: You don’t have to go out for coffee together or share the same favorite TV shows. But if your lawyer can’t talk to you in a way that’s polite and respectful, you’re likely to have trouble working together. Additionally, you should think about firing any attorney who belittles you or makes you feel uncomfortable in some way during meetings or phone calls.

Lack of Work/Progress: Ultimately, your lawyer’s job is to zealously represent your case and work toward the outcome you desire. While progress on personal injury cases can be frustratingly slow, there are ways to tell if your lawyer isn’t doing their job. Look out for court notices alerting you to missed filing deadlines. Moreover, if your attorney regularly requests time extensions without a reasonable explanation, it may be a sign that they aren’t working as hard as they should be on your case.

Drawbacks Associated With Switching Attorneys

Individuals generally have the right to switch attorneys if they’re unsatisfied with their current representation. Still, changing lawyers in the middle of the case can result in some negative consequences. For one thing, clients who fire their attorneys may be required to pay for work that’s already been completed. Moreover, if your lawyer was working on contingency, you may have to pay their hourly fee for time already spent on the case along with any costs incurred by representing you.

Additionally, individuals who hire a new attorney may face delays. After all, your new attorney will likely need more time to get up to speed on the case. As a result, you may have to wait longer for a court decision or settlement. If your case is especially complex, switching attorneys could even put you at a disadvantage, as the new attorney won’t be as informed or prepared.

How to Make the Switch

If you do decide that your current attorney isn’t up to task, it’s wise to refrain from firing them until you find new representation. Even if you’re still under contract with a lawyer, there’s nothing to stop you from meeting with other firms to consider your options. Start by asking people you trust if they have any recommendations for personal injury lawyers. Family members, friends, and co-workers can all help point you in the direction of new representation.

If you don’t know anyone with personal recommendation, consider taking your search online. Lawyer directories and attorney review websites can be a good source of information. Additionally, you should take time to review lawyers’ individual websites to learn more about their experience and expertise.

Should you decide that one of the new attorneys better meets your needs, he or she can send a discharge letter to your old lawyer. The new firm will also arrange for the old one to send over any relevant files or documents related to your cse.

Exceptions to the Rule

Circumstances exist in which clients are unable to swap out lawyers. Depending on how far along your personal injury case is, the judge may decide that it’s too late to bring in new representation. In these instances, you will need to stay with your current lawyer until the case is resolved.

After years or representing accident victims, we know how devastating and life-altering the injuries suffered in these cases can be. For this reason, the team at JacksonWhite goes above and beyond to help our personal injury clients.

Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.

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