Can I Change My Car Accident Lawyer At Any Time?

Some clients are unhappy about the car accident lawyers representing them in personal injury cases. It makes them feel like hiring the wrong lawyer. If you are in the same situation, consider switching lawyers in your injury case.

Can you change your Michigan car accident lawyer anytime? In most states, yes. For example, the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.16 (a) (3) comment on discharge states that “A client has a right to discharge a lawyer any time, with or without cause….”

What You Need To Know Before Switching Attorneys In Your Personal Injury Case

No one can compel you to hire a legal counsel whose trust and confidence ratings are negative. Just to be clear, there is no penalty if you switch attorneys.

Here is some vital information you need to know before you change lawyers:

Switching lawyers does not incur additional costs

In most cases, the contingency basis agreement in a personal injury case does not require you to pay unless you win the case. If you win the case, your lawyer will presumably get one-third of the compensation as a contingency fee. If you switch lawyers, the old and the new lawyers will share this fee. Thus, you don’t pay more if you switch attorneys.

Switching lawyers will not set back your case

Switching lawyers will not weigh heavily on your case. So, hire a new lawyer who works doubly hard and represents your case in your best interests. The court requires the previous attorney to turn over all pertinent documents to the new lawyer for a smooth transition.

Worrying Signs You Need To Fire Your Current Personal Injury Lawyer

Legal Malpractice

Any legal action (or lack thereof) that affects your case to your disadvantage is legal malpractice.

Legal malpractice is a mortal sin that costs you money and impedes your legal rights. You have a right to fire and sue your current personal injury lawyer. Consider these scenarios:

  • Your lawyer missed the deadline to disclose an expert witness vital to your case, so the judge dismissed your case. You can sue your lawyer for negligence or breach of the standard of care, provided you have adequate proof that presenting the expert witness would have won the personal injury case.
  • Your lawyer knows when your accident occurred, yet he did not file within the statute of limitations or allotted period. His negligence cost you the right to claim compensation.

He could not address your complaints

A client’s complaint is the focal point in any legal representation-including personal injury. If your current lawyer refuses to address your complaints, you can fire him and hire a new lawyer who sheds light on your complaints.

He fails to update you about the status of your case

You are not well-informed about the developments surrounding your case, therefore, cannot fully join the process and make prudent decisions. Here are a few examples that signal a red flag:

  • He does not inform you about communication details from the other party.
  • He does not notify you about settlement offers from the other party.
  • He does not review all important provisions with you before proceeding to an agreement.
  • He does not divulge his general strategies and prospects of success.
  • He does not consult you regarding tactics that may jeopardize the case.

He does not follow your instructions

A lawyer should advise his client about actions to take and discuss the repercussions. But in the end, the client has discretion over his course of action, provided it is not illegal. You should change lawyers if your old lawyer insists on ignoring you.

He does not return your calls

An ideal client-attorney relationship entails good communication. What good is a lawyer if he blocks your channel of communication?

He acted unethically

The client can fire his lawyer in a personal injury case for breach of trust and confidence. A lawyer’s unethical action compromises the attorney-client relationship. It results in a loss of trust and confidence in his legal counsel.

One of the highest responsibilities of a lawyer is his obligation to the client. Here are some examples of unethical actions that justify the need to change attorneys:

  • Incompetence – Although the required proficiency of a lawyer is that of a general practitioner, he is incompetent if he accepts representation outside his training and expertise. For example, a corporate lawyer cannot represent you effectively in a personal injury case. His corporate profession leaves little time to study and analyze the legal elements of the case. He is unfamiliar with the complexities of personal injury. Neither is he updated about the state’s changing laws and legal trends. To put it bluntly, you are hiring the wrong attorney.
  • Time delays – Your car accident lawyer juggles workload. He assures you he can expedite your case with utmost efficiency. However, you noticed time delays in court representation and appeals. The passage of time or a change in conditions can jeopardize compensation for your injury.
  • Exorbitant fees – The legal fees should be reasonable and proportionate to the extent of legal services.  A personal injury attorney usually charges a contingency fee based on the amount of compensation. Negotiate for a lower payment if it is beyond the ceiling percentage required by law.
  • Breach of Confidentiality – Your lawyer unwittingly discussed your case with his spouse over dinner. He spilled pertinent information that should have remained confidential. Fire your lawyer, pronto! Such unethical practice deserves to be terminated.
  • Conflicts of Interest – Your attorney is a relative of the at-fault driver. He did not divulge this vital information when you hired him. It signifies conflicts of interest and malicious intent on his part.

Are There Benefits To Changing My Current Attorney?

You will be better off with a new attorney who is more knowledgeable, competent, and diligent. A good working relationship takes a chip off your shoulder. You will sleep well if an expert takes care of the finest details, including matters relating to the insurance company.

Can I Lose My Case If I Switch Lawyers In The Middle Of The Case?

The purpose of switching lawyers is to win your case. You cannot lose if a new legal team pursues your case until you get what you deserve under the law.

Steps To Take If You Want To Switch Personal Injury Lawyers

A conscientious lawyer who takes over your case should help you switch lawyers at no extra cost. Discuss the following steps for a smooth transition:

  • Send a letter to your lawyer through certified mail expressing your desire to discontinue his legal services.
  • Provide a copy of the termination notice to your new attorney.
  • Sign the ‘consent to change attorney’ form sent by your new attorney.
  • The new attorney will contact your previous attorney to get all the files related to your case.
  • A responsible attorney will help you negotiate the division of fees with the first attorney.
  • He will ensure that you don’t get additional charges with the switch.
  • The new attorney formally enters his appearance in court as your new legal representative.

What Does The Attorney-Client Relationship Mean?

An attorney-client relationship means all information relayed to a lawyer must remain confidential. It encourages the client to be frank, honest, and comfortable relaying all relevant information to his lawyer.

What Do I Owe The Previous Lawyer?

It depends on the type of contract with your previous lawyer. If it is a fixed fee agreement, you pay him the amount stipulated in the contract based on the services rendered. If it is a contingency basis, you don’t pay unless you win the personal injury case based on the percentage stipulated in the contract.

Qualities To Look For In a New Attorney

What makes an extraordinary attorney? Any successful attorney possesses the following traits:

  • Excellent Communication Skills – Lawyers are communicators. They communicate with clients, the opposing party, and the court orally or in writing. An eloquent lawyer knows how to express ideas as clearly as possible. He is a good listener too. The formula for a winning case lies in the hands of an excellent attorney who takes in all relevant information, analyzes all angles of the case, and creates a plan of action.
  • Knowledge of The Law – The most basic requirement for attorneys is that of a general practitioner. Like other fields of study, each has his area of expertise. If you got hurt in an accident, you need the expertise of a personal injury attorney with legal knowledge related to your case.
  • Compassion For Clients – A compassionate attorney has a heart of gold. He empathizes with his clients and strives to make life better for them.
  • Perseverance – The winning streak of a lawyer lies in hard work and perseverance. He will pursue your personal injury case until the end because he knows you deserve compensation under the law.

Switching Attorneys? Contact Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys For New Representation.

Is your personal injury case going at a snail’s pace? Are you not satisfied with your current lawyer’s tactics? You need new legal representation!

The Clark Law Office in Lansing, Michigan, has an excellent legal team to help you recover millions of dollars. We offer free consultation and assessment of your case. You do not have to pay unless you win your injury case.

We believe you deserve compensation under the law. Call us at (517)-347-6900 or email for a free consultation.

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