As with all business, sometime you, the client are not happy with the service you receive from your personal injury lawyer. In some instances personal injury lawyers say things that may or may not be the truth to get you on board with their law firm. I have stories on both sides of the fence. Firing a personal injury lawyer is not as hard as one would believe. It usually involves faxing a letter to the attorneys office.
Many clients depend on their personal injury lawyer for things outside of there scope of expertise. I have personally seen clients asking for money up front for there case. They want to dictate every step of the process because they think they know how a personal injury case works. Putting demands on a personal injury attorney may get you, fired. Some attorneys do not like problem clients, if the consider you a problem, your may get fired, not the other way around.
When should you fire your Personal injury Attorney
- Poor communication-wont return calls
- Trust issues
- Case is taking too long
- Out of there area of expertise
This is by far the number one complaint from clients. They can never get in touch with there attorney or case manager. What the client may think is an important issue, the attorney may not see it that way. I cant tell you the countless times when i worked for personal injury attorneys i would have clients call me because they could not get in touch with there attorney. I would answer the phone, the attorney would not.
You may assume he does not think your case is worthy of his time, but he may be extremely busy at the time you called as well. The same goes for clients. We have had to drive to a clients house to get a document signed because they would never return the law firms calls. Communication is important to both parties and is certainly is a reason to fire your current attorney.
Injury case taking too long to settle
Many clients get frustrated with the personal injury process. Its possible the case manager or attorney did not explain it to them in great detail. In some states you may only have a year to resolve a case before having to file a lawsuit. In other states you may have up to four years. The bottom line is a personal injury lawyer cannot settle a case while you are still under a doctors care. He may be collecting doctors bills and sending out correspondence to the insurance company, but he cant settle anything until your medical care is finished.
Medical care may take a month, it may take 6. After you have finished medical care, your attorney can really start working to put a settlement demand together for the insurance company. But in order for them to do this they need your medical records. this process can take a week to 3 months to complete. If its 4 -6 months after you have finished medical care, you need to call your personal injury attorney for an update.
Out of their area of expertise
Many Attorney’s are great in some areas while not so good in others. This does not mean they are bad attorneys, it just means they lack the expertise of someone who may do personal injury all the time. I have seen bankruptcy attorneys handle personal injury cases and not have a clue to what they are doing. Your current attorney may lack the trial expertise or personal injury experience, you may need to speak with another personal injury lawyer.
Ever feel like your attorney lied to you? It happens all the time. If you have trust issues with your current attorney, it would be a good idea to speak with another law firm about your issues before you fire your current attorney. Once the trust is broken, you will question his every move from there on out.
I have only seen once an attorney who i thought was very unprofessional. He was laying on a couch when i walked into his office, he then proceeded to tell me all the bad things about other personal injury attorneys in the area. I found him lacking character, he could never tell me what he could do, only the bad things other attorney shad done. Don’t deal with personal injury lawyers who are like this.
Most personal injury attorneys i have met over the years are just like you and me. They have wives, husbands, children and believe it or not, emotions. I can only say that a very small percentage of attorneys that i know of would fall in the group above. The majority of them want to do a good job and do it quickly, but sometimes the ball does get dropped.
What is involved when switching personal injury attorneys
If you have made up your mind and plan on firing your current attorney, it might be a good idea to visit or call another law firm first. Depending on what you signed when you hired your lawyer, you may owe money to your current attorney. In most cases this would be handled on a lien. They would take there money when you received yours. You may not owe anything.
If your case has been in process for a year and the attorney achieved a settlement, he may be entitled to a percentage of what he achieved if you fire him. I will tell you from experience, make a good decision to begin with. Personal injury attorneys dont like taking cases that have had 1 or more attorneys already involved. They make look at you as a problem client.
Firing your personal injury lawyer
You generally write something out on apiece of paper and fax it to them. Make sure to retain a copy and a copy of the fax transmission to show it went through. You will need to give this to your new personal injury attorney. He will then request your file from the attorney you just fired. You do not need to talk to the attorney you just fired, he no longer works for you. Do not call them and tell them they are fired, they have to have something in writing. Make sure you sign and date it.
What you write would simply say I such and such no longer require the services of “law firm” effective immediately, date and sign it. You dont need to go into why you are releasing them, keep it simple.
I have always told people who are thinking about firing there attorney to make sure they have exhausted all means before doing so. What i mean by that is to make sure you have tried to communicate your issues to them in an effective manner. Calling an attorney and using every curse word in the book will get you fired, not the other way around. If communication fails to resolve the issues then it might be a good idea to fire your attorney.