Can You Fire Your Personal Injury Attorney?
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After you have been injured in an accident, whether it was because of a drunk driver, an employer with little regard for your safety, or a dangerous condition in your grocery store, you may find yourself running face-first into a very confusing and stressful situation. An experienced attorney may help relieve some of this stress. However, unfortunately, not all attorneys meet their clients’ needs.
If you or your loved one is frustrated with your personal injury attorney for any reason, contact the experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation regarding your claim.
COMMON REASONS CLIENTS ARE DISSATISFIED WITH THEIR ATTORNEYS
Not every client is looking for the same thing from their attorney, and there can certainly be some variation among attorneys. However, there are certain universal traits that good lawyers possess, and conversely, there are certain traits that seem to consistently dissatisfy clients. A few of the more common reasons clients become dissatisfied with their attorneys may include:
One of the most common complaints that clients have regarding their lawyer is that they simply don’t communicate with them about what is going on. Even if your lawyer might be handling your case competently, it is very frustrating to feel like you are being left out in the cold. The legal process can be very long and complicated, but a caring, professional attorney will keep you updated on the major developments to make sure that you can stay plugged in.
The law can sometimes be a fickle thing, and it is nearly impossible to guarantee a certain outcome. This is why, at the point that you are hiring an attorney, it is important to be wary of an attorney who gives you an absolute guarantee that they can get you the result that you say you are looking for. However, some attorneys regularly make promises and fail to deliver on them. As a client, this is obviously an extremely frustrating situation.
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Lack of Transparency About Cost
One of the more common stereotypes of lawyers is that they are out to squeeze every dollar that they can out of their clients. This can lead accident victims to be a bit wary around their lawyers and wonder exactly what their final costs will be. It can be frustrating to clients when their attorney is not up-front about exactly how you pay, how much it will cost, and when they will require payment.
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WHAT TO DO IF I AM NOT HAPPY WITH MY ATTORNEY?
If you have run into the issues with your attorney, there are a few simple steps that can help you resolve conflicts in a helpful way for both you and your attorney.
1. Speak with Your Attorney
Just like with any other relationship, communication in the attorney-client context is key. If something is bothering you about how your lawyer is conducting business, the first step should simply be to talk to them about it—it could be that their other clients are fine with how they operate and they simply didn’t know that you had an issue. Think through some practical ways that your attorney could better meet your needs while at the same time keeping your expectations realistic.
2. Give Them Some Time
After you have made your concerns known to your attorney, give them at least a couple of days to try to implement the change. Firing your attorney the day after you tell them what’s wrong could be a bit hasty and can lead to a scramble to find a new attorney in the middle of a life-changing case. However, be mindful of time limits and the fact that waiting could potentially damage your claim—you don’t want to wait too long to make your decision.
3. Speak with Other Attorneys
After you have made your concerns clear to your attorney and they have either failed to do anything about it or have otherwise not satisfied your needs, you may need to fire your personal injury attorney and begin speaking to other attorneys. When you are looking for a new attorney to take over on your case, talk to potential hires about what frustrated you about your last attorney and ask probing questions about how they treat their own clients.
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WHAT TO DO AFTER DECIDING TO FIRE YOUR ATTORNEY
Once you have made the decision to fire your attorney, it is important to put this decision in a clear, unambiguous writing and keep a record of it. In this letter or e-mail, lay out the reasons that you feel this is the best decision for yourself and your family. Though you may be frustrated by the situation, make sure to remain calm and professional in your communications with your old attorney—a nasty breakup of an attorney-client relationship can add unnecessary stress to an already complicated personal injury claim.
WILL I NEED TO PAY MY ATTORNEY AFTER I FIRE THEM?
After you fire your personal injury attorney, they may have a “lien” on your case, or some sort of claim to any settlement that you eventually receive. Generally, the amount of this claim will be higher the further along your claim was, and the more time that your old attorney spent working on it. Depending on the laws in your state and the contract that you signed, this amount could be based on a percentage of your settlement or some sort of hourly rate based on the documented hours spent on the case.
CAN I FIRE MY ATTORNEY IN THE MIDDLE OF MY CASE?
The short answer to this question is probably yes. Remember, though your attorney may be the expert on the applicable law and strategy, it is your claim and you are ultimately the one who is in charge. This includes the right to change attorneys in the middle of your case. There may be circumstances where a judge does not allow a change of counsel because the case is too far along, but generally, it is up to the client to select their preferred lawyer.
However, there are some important considerations when it comes to switching out counsel. For one, your old attorney was likely very familiar with the facts of your case. This means that a new attorney will have to spend time getting up to speed, and this could lead to delays or other issues. In addition, changing counsel could lead to some additional disputes about payments, as mentioned previously.
WHY ZINDA LAW GROUP?
In a sea of personal injury firms, Zinda Law Group stands out for a few different reasons. For one, our firm is selective about the cases we take on and we typically take on a low volume of cases. This means that we may give more individualized attention to each of our clients. In addition, our firm employs several award-winning lawyers, and our firm is recognized as one of the 2019 10 Best Law Firms for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys.
On top of that, Zinda Law Group believes that accident victims shouldn’t need to worry about their ability to afford representation. To that end, we employ a no-win, no-fee policy. If we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us anything.
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