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For many car accident victims, pursuing compensation for their injuries is the first time that they have ever had to hire a lawyer. This means that you may not have much knowledge of what makes a good attorney, or perhaps more importantly, how to know a bad lawyer when you see one. Fortunately, you can switch lawyers in the middle of a car accident case if your relationship with your current lawyer is not working out. However, there are a lot of factors to consider. Just because you can switch lawyers doesn’t always mean that it is in your best interest.
CAN I SWITCH LAWYERS IN THE MIDDLE OF A CAR ACCIDENT CASE?
The short answer to this question is yes. If you are not satisfied with the way that your attorney is handling your case, you have the right to schedule a time to speak with another attorney, hire a different attorney, or even drop your attorney altogether and move forward by yourself. The situation with your attorney certainly can devolve to the point that switching attorneys becomes the best choice for you and your family, but this is a serious decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Getting through a car accident claim can be very stressful and emotions may be running high. This means that there can sometimes be disagreements or emotionally fueled conversations between you and your attorney. Switching attorneys every time you run into a bit of a tricky situation may not be the best idea for your claim.
On the other hand, you and your attorney must be able to communicate well. Your attorney should also have the necessary experience and capacity to handle your claim. Having the right representation is important—it could be the difference between receiving nothing for your injures and getting a fair settlement. If it is clear that you and your attorney are no longer able to work together, then not only is it possible for you to switch to another attorney, but it may be in the best interest of your case for you to do so.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SWITCH LAWYERS?
Typically, someone who is unsatisfied with their current lawyer will begin the process by speaking with their new potential attorneys. Once they find an attorney who they believe suits their needs better than their current attorney, they can go ahead and hire that attorney. From there, the client shouldn’t need to speak to their old lawyer any further.
After your new attorney has been hired, they will send communication to your old lawyer explaining the situation. From there, the two lawyers should be able to work it out. Your old attorney should send your file and anything related to your case to your new attorney, and they should be able to get right to work. If your old attorney is not willing to cooperate, then problems can crop up, but for the most part, this situation should run fairly smoothly.
WILL CHANGING LAWYERS COST MORE MONEY?
Changing lawyers should not cost you any extra money. With a car accident claim, if you end up receiving a settlement at the end of negotiations, then the lawyers who worked on your case will be entitled to a fee, but there is no double-dipping by the attorneys, so to speak. Whatever the attorney fee is based on the amount of settlement you receive will be divided up amongst the attorneys at the end of the case.
For example, imagine a case where you ended up receiving a settlement of $15,000 after switching attorneys halfway through, and the agreed-upon attorney fee was one-third. Rather than each attorney receiving a third of that amount, they will each split the same third. Attorneys can typically come to some sort of agreement as to how that money should be split based upon how much work on the case each of them performed, but if it becomes necessary, a court may step in and determine how the money is to be split. The bottom line, however, is that switching attorneys in the middle of a car accident claim will typically not cost you any extra money.
SIGNS OF A BAD ATTORNEY
Because having a qualified attorney is critical to the success of your case, it is important to be able to recognize some of the red flags that can crop up and how to deal with them. A few of the more common signs of a bad lawyer include:
After your car accident, you will likely be feeling at least a little bit anxious and confused. Most people who are in this situation have never dealt with something like this before, which means that you will be relying on your attorney for information. Thus, it is important that your attorney is a good communicator. Your attorney should be keeping you informed of any major developments in your case as they are happening and making sure that you totally understand everything that is going on.
A good attorney should also be responsive when you reach out. Lawyers are generally busy people and may not answer every call or immediately respond to every e-mail, but it shouldn’t take them weeks to get back to you. When an attorney is a poor communicator, it might be a signal to you that your case is not very important to them and they are not paying very close attention to it. It might also be a sign that your attorney is not very efficient or detail-oriented, and these are certainly traits that you need your attorney to have if you are going to be seeking maximum compensation from an insurance company.
Unclear About Billing
If you have never had to hire a lawyer before, one of the things that you are likely worried about is how much it might cost you to get adequate legal representation. A good attorney should be very clear and up-front with you about how much their services will cost you. Though it is unfortunate, there are attorneys who will try to take advantage of clients in difficult situations by hiding behind complicated fee structures and hidden expenses.
Zinda Law Group keeps things very simple because we don’t believe that any accident victim should have to worry about their ability to afford adequate legal representation. We offer a No Win, No Fee, Guarantee, which means that you won’t pay us anything unless we win your case for you. This means, for example, if you come to talk to us about your case and conclude that it isn’t something you want to pursue, then you don’t owe us anything. Even if you do end up hiring Zinda Law Group and going through with a claim, you won’t owe us anything if we don’t win compensation for you.
Dealing with a car accident is mentally and emotionally stressful in any person’s life. It is important that your attorney understands this and meets where you are. It is a bad sign if you feel like you simply represent dollar signs in the mind of your attorney. A good attorney will not only fight for maximum compensation for you and your family, but will also take some of the burden off of your shoulders by keeping you informed of what’s going on at every step of the way. They should be able to put themselves in your position and explain your case clearly and concisely so you understand where you stand and what your options are.
You Aren’t a Priority
There is no such thing as an easy, straightforward car accident claim. Settlement negotiations will always be complicated, and there are intricacies that make every case unique. These intricacies between cases not only require an attorney to have the proper training and expertise, but it also requires that they have the requisite amount of time to devote to each case. If an attorney is stretched too thin because they have taken on too many cases, then details can start to fall through the cracks. If your case is not a high priority to your attorney, then it could be you who ends up paying the price for their high caseload.
The car accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group purposefully maintain a low caseload so we may give each case the attention it deserves. When determining whether or not to take on a client, we are cognizant of whether we can competently and diligently handle the case, given our current caseload.
CONTACT OUR EXPERIENCED PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
If you have had a bad experience with an attorney, it is possible to switch. Changing lawyers is a big decision, but unfortunately, sometimes it is necessary for a successful claim. The personal injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you handle this process and pick up your case where your former attorney left off. We fight for fair compensation for our clients and pride ourselves on our customer service.
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