Can You Change Attorneys in the Middle of an Injury Case?
The short answer is yes that you can change attorneys in the middle of your case as long as you’re not stuck in a contract. Most personal injury lawyers do not “lock” their clients into contracts that prohibit them from leaving. Instead, what often happens is that the attorneys involved will try to move forward in the best direction for the client or make more resources available. The attorney-client relationship should be strong to ensure that your lawyer has your best interests at heart.
Replacing your attorney is referred to as “substitution of counsel.” When you change attorneys, you’re required to inform the other party so that they don’t accidentally contact the wrong attorney. You should write a letter to these parties letting them know about the change. Alternatively, you can phone them directly, if you have access to their public numbers.
But, if you have a good reason for leaving and start looking for another personal injury lawyer, then there’s usually not anything that can stop you from changing personal injury attorneys during your case.
Good Reasons to Leave Your Current Attorney
What would happen if you just couldn’t get in contact with your current attorney? Or, what if they decided to tell the insurance company that you would accept a settlement that was far too low? There are many good reasons to leave an attorney , but often it’s a personality conflict.
One of the best ways to determine if you’re dealing with an experienced attorney is to ask the right types of questions. The answers they give you can help you narrow down their experience and give you faith that you’ve chosen an attorney with experience.
Good reasons for leaving a Texas personal injury attorney firm often include communication problems. When you interview your attorney in a consultation, then you should ask about availability and contact preferences. You should keep in mind that lack of communication may serve as a red flag to warn you. Some attorneys do rely on their secretaries or office staff and only respond to phone calls through certain times of the day. Others orefer emails as their choice of communication medium. Yet othetrs write letters to their clients as a means of having a paper trail. These structures shouldn’t mean that you never get a call. If you don’t get a call, then there’s a definite problem with your current attorney.
Negotiating a contingency fee agreement should also be a part of your communication with your lawyer. If they aren’t forthright with their contingency fee agreement, or they include hidden expenses, you might start thinking something is wrong.Alternatively, a lawyer may opt for setting an hourly rate. If you feel uncomfortable about this, you should raise the issue immediately.
If your family will be involved with the case, then you should take care to inform your legal counsel of your relationships. These may be crucial in helping you win your case. Some judges look at family relationships when detemining if a defendant is guilty. Sharing this with your lawyer requires a degree of trust. Additionally, you should provide documents to your attorney proving these relations.
In some accident cases, a team of lawyers may opt for less money because they aren’t confident of the ability to win at trial. If you’re in an accident case which goes to trial, and think the amount of money they’re settling for is too little, you may want to look at a new attorney to represent you. Your personal injury settlement should look at different tyles of compensation to ensure that you get your due. Your lawyer should not be against going through the process in fear that you won’t win.
Another good reason to leave is differences in the case. If you feel that this attorney is too aggressive or not aggressive enough, then you simply don’t have a good match. At that point, it may be best for both parties to go their own ways. Don’t let lawyers remove your freedom of choice. If you feel like your cousel isn’t a good fit, take the step to have them replaced.
Is It Hard to Find Another Houston Personal Injury Attorney?
The most serious difficulty with switching between attorneys is telling your lawyers that you’re leaving. Often they will try to talk clients out of leaving simply because they have put in time and effort on the case. They might address clients concerns genuinely. However, it may just be another strategy to retain the client.
It’s hard to see a good client walk out the door. There’s also ineptitude, which is difficult to approach because many clients simply don’t understand how to identify when their lawyers are failing them. Some lawyers may go to great lengths to hide their inability to meet their clients’ demands. These lawyers should be the ones that you avoid, since they may not be the most trustworthy.
When you tell an attorney that you’re taking your case somewhere else, you’ll need to be blatant and strict. You lawyers may try to dissuade you, but you shouldn’t give into threats or demands. Inform them that you’ll be finding another attorney, or that you have already found another attorney. Then call your car insurance company and inform them that your attorney has changed that the original lawyers no longer work on your behalf and will not be handling your claim.
If you have trouble handling the attorney in Texas when you’re switching or informing them that you’ll be removing them from the case, then you can file a complaint filing a grievance with the Texas State bar. This has a knock-on effect of warning potential clients that may come after you about the attorney’s dealings.
Should You Switch Attorneys?
The real question is should you switch attorneys? Deciding on which lawyers fit your needs and are competent to take your case is a crucial part of deciding on legal team. There may be specific statements in your contingency agreement that after so much work is done that the attorney may be able to collect. That means even if you switch. Then there are statements that the attorney won’t provide the new attorney or you with any of the information they gathered or work that they put onto the case.
At times your lawyers may become frustrated in having to deal with your previous counsel. If your personal injury claim requires research that your initial attorney has already done, it may benefit your current lawyer. However, your initial hire may not want to share their information. For some people, this concerns is relevant enough that they decide switching is not worth it.
What that means for victims is that the case will often restart; in essence, all the work that was done is then undone. That means that you won’t have access to the reports from their investigators, medical records, or anything else that they assembled for your evidence and to send over to your insurance provider.
There’s also the question of not only the time delay but also the lack of support. Deciding if changing your personal injury attorney is right for you or not is something personal, and you should take time to make that decision carefully.
Can Your Current Personal injury Lawyer in Houston Convince You to Stay?
Your current attorney might compel you to stick with them through it because of the work that they’ve already put in or the progress on your claim. For example, if you’re in the midst of settlement negotiations, they may argue that things are nearly wrapped up, and you’ll be out of the case sooner anyways.
At McDonald Worley, our Houston injury law firm helps the victims of personal injury cases. Whether you started your claim or case with our firm, or if you’re looking for a new attorney to take on your claim, then schedule a meeting with us to discuss why you would want to change attorneys. Contact our office soon to ensure that you have your questions answered quickly.