Can I Change Lawyers While My Car Accident Case is Pending?
Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on Sep 21, 2021 in Auto Accidents
When a car accident victim hires a lawyer, he or she is placing trust in that lawyer to handle the legal process on his or her behalf. Car accident victims just want to make sure their case is being handled properly so they can focus on their treatment and making the best recovery possible.
No victim wants to feel a lack of confidence in his or her lawyer, dissatisfaction with the way the case is unfolding or experience a lack of communication. These concerns may cause a victim to consider changing lawyers.
Our auto crash lawyers in West Palm Beach discuss changing lawyers while a case is pending. If you need help pursuing compensation after a car accident, reach out to our firm to set up a free consultation. There is no obligation to retain our services and no upfront fees if we take your case.
When Is It Too Late to Make a Change?
This is a frequently asked question car accident victims have when they are not satisfied with the lawyer representing their case. If your case is not pending in court, you may have the right to change lawyers.
If a lawsuit has already been filed, it is unlikely you would be able to get a different lawyer to take your case. The judge assigned to your case may not give you permission even if you make this request.
Changing lawyers in the middle of a case, especially when hearing dates are scheduled, can upend the process. Your new lawyer will need time to get up to speed on your case, which often results in delays.
It may be too late to make a change if you are actively in settlement negotiations with the insurance company. Most injury lawyers work on contingency, which means they are not paid up front for their services. They are only paid if they are successful in obtaining compensation on a victim’s behalf.
Do I Have to Pay My First Lawyer?
Even if you fire the lawyer working on your case and hire a new one, he or she is entitled to payment for services rendered at the time of dismissal. This is in accordance with the agreed-upon fee arrangement, but it does not mean that you will be paying double lawyer’s fees. You will not be charged twice.
This is something your first lawyer and the new lawyer that you hire will work out. In a contingency fee arrangement, you will still be required to pay the applicable percentage fee after a settlement or verdict. However, each lawyer involved will split up that percentage.
For answers to your legal questions, including how lawyer fees work, speak with one of our licensed lawyers today. An initial consultation comes at no cost or obligation to you.
What Are Some Valid Concerns for Changing Lawyers?
Before you change lawyers, it is important to understand why you want to make that change in the first place. Is your lawyer dropping the ball or are your expectations unreasonable?
Car accident victims often have misconceptions about the legal process. Many victims are under immense pressure to recoup compensation for their medical bills and lost wages while out of work.
Process Taking Too Long
Perhaps you want to make a change because you feel the process is taking too long. It takes time to build a strong case. A case will typically not resolve until the victim has completely healed or reached maximum medical improvement. This may take months or even years depending on your injuries.
Delays in a case can also happen through no fault of your lawyer. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, which means they will do anything possible to save themselves money. This may include delaying agreeing to a settlement or deciding to make a lowball offer.
Issues With Communication
One of the most common concerns made by car accident victims who fire their lawyers has to do with communication issues. A lawyer may not be responding to calls.
It is understandable to be concerned if you are not satisfied with the level of service you are receiving. However, it is important to give your lawyer reasonable enough time to respond. Oftentimes, victims do not realize that their case is not the only one their lawyer is handling.
A good lawyer will call back or respond to any emails you send in a timely manner and offer an explanation. If the communication is not reciprocated, you may want to consider changing lawyers.
Irrelevant Legal Experience
Another valid concern for making a change is if your lawyer has little to no legal experience handling cases like yours. He or she may be less likely to know what it takes to build a strong case for compensation. Hiring the right lawyer for your case is one of the most important decisions to make.
Insufficient Courtroom Experience
Having a lawyer who routinely takes cases to court is also important. Although most cases settle out of court, insurance companies are aware of the lawyers with courtroom experience. An insurer may not make a better settlement offer because they know these lawyers are less likely to take them to court.
Call Gordon & Partners for a Free Case Review
If you need legal help after a car accident, contact our firm today. We have obtained millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, including victims of car accidents.
The initial consultation is 100 percent free and completely confidential. If we determine that you have a valid case, we do not charge any fees up front to take on or work on a case.