Yes. You have the right to change lawyers at any time, for any reason, during your car accident case. If your lawyer isn’t returning your calls and doesn’t seem to be making any progress, you may want to shop around for a new lawyer.
If you do change lawyers, you should know that it won’t reduce the amount of money you recover. You’ll still keep the same percentage as before. The lawyers will sort out the legal fees between themselves.
If I fire my lawyer, will I have to pay them a fee?
Usually, no. This doesn’t mean your first lawyer won’t get paid – it just means that you won’t personally have to worry about paying them. Here’s how it works: Your first lawyer is entitled to the value of the services performed while handling your case. If you fire your lawyer, your lawyer will calculate this amount and will usually file an attorney’s lien. If your new lawyer recovers money for you, your new lawyer will keep a percentage as their fee, and they will be responsible for paying your old attorney’s lien. (You will keep everything else.) In other words, your old lawyer’s fees are paid out of the percentage earned by your new lawyer.
Here’s an example:
Suppose you agreed to pay your first lawyer a 1/3 of your financial recovery, but you fired the lawyer after just a month. You made the same agreement with lawyer #2, who then recovered $90,000 from the insurance company. You will receive $60,000 and lawyer #2 receives $30,000. Out of that $30,000, lawyer #2 will have to pay off lawyer #1’s fees for the time he or she spent on the case. You keep the same percentage, even if you had more than one lawyer.
When should I switch lawyers?
You should switch lawyers if you believe your lawyer is ignoring you or if you have lost confidence in your lawyer’s ability to handle your case. Some signs that you may need a different lawyer include these:
- Your lawyer doesn’t return your phone calls within 48 hours
- Your lawyer didn’t explain a strategy for resolving your case
- Your lawyer didn’t tell you what your case was worth
- You are always dealing with a case manager, never the lawyer
- You can’t seem to find out what is going on
- Your lawyer pressures you to take a first insurance offer or another lowball figure, without fighting for more
If you were in a serious car accident, you can expect that it will take time to investigate and settle your claim. A good lawyer will explain this to you, and will be diligent in building a strong case to get the most money possible from the insurance company. If you are not confident in your current lawyer, look for a lawyer with experience and a strong track record of winning car accident lawsuits in Atlanta.
How do I fire my lawyer?
Always fire your lawyer in writing. Send an email or fax, and follow up by phone the next day to confirm it has been received. You don’t need to go into details – just say you no longer need your lawyer and will be using a different one. Then ask to be notified when your file is ready to be picked up. It’s always a good idea to inform the insurance company too, to prevent your old lawyer from trying to settle the case without consulting you.
Of course, if you’ve already hired a new lawyer, your new lawyer can handle the whole process for you—you may not have to be directly involved in the firing at all.
How hard is it to find another lawyer?
If you have a valid claim, it is usually not hard to find another lawyer. This is especially true if your change lawyers early on, before much has happened. However, it can be more difficult if the insurance company has already made an offer or if you try to change late in the case, after your first lawyer has already put in a significant amount of time.
The best way to find out if another lawyer will take your case is to schedule a consultation with someone who is experienced and well-respected as a car accident lawyer.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our law firm has helped many car accident victims who came to us after they were disappointed in another lawyer. We have a strong reputation and decades of experience – and we won’t charge you unless we win you money. Let us give you a FREE consultation to go over your case and help you decide what to do. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.