Firing your personal injury attorney is a decision that should be made after a lot of careful consideration. If you feel that your personal injury lawyer isn’t up to the task, changing lawyers is quite normal. There could be numerous reasons you would want to fire your personal injury litigator. Perhaps he or she may be unfamiliar with the particulars of your case, or maybe they may fail to keep you informed on the details regarding your case. The list is endless. This article is aimed at exploring the sensitive question pertaining to whether or not you can fire your personal injury lawyer and the demerits involved.
An important aspect to winning a personal injury lawsuit is being able to get along with and work with and communicate with your lawyer. Most important of all, you need to have confidence in your litigator. If the relationship with your lawyer isn’t that great as far as far as your personal injury case is concerned, you can seek the services of another lawyer by all means. A question most people ask is whether firing a personal injury lawyer and getting a new one will cost a lot of money.
This is a valid concern. The response to which is no, you will next spend extra funds when getting a new personal injury attorney and firing the old one. Legal fees in personal injury lawsuits are settled if and only when a case is won. In the event the plaintiff dismisses the services of one lawyer in favor of another, legal fee settlement is done on the basis of quantum meruit. This is to mean each lawyer/law firm is paid according to how much work each did. If the first attorney did the biggest chunk of the work he/she gets paid a larger volume of legal fees. The inverse is true.
So what are the drawbacks of firing your personal injury lawyer? Well, as some would put it, firing your attorney is the last thing you would want to do. Firing your lawyer can in some instances have a negative impact on your personal injury case. For instance, your lawyer may have reached a critical point in negotiations and is close to reaching a settlement. The lawyer may then call what is called a lien on your personal injury lawsuit. A lien is a retainer agreement of sorts that will allow your lawyer to seek compensation for time and effort invested on their part.
For instance, your attorney’s consultation fees may be 500 dollars per hour. If he/she has invested 30 hours up till the moment you reach a decision to fire him/her, the lien on your case is for 15000 dollars. In cases where the lien associated to a personal injury case is hefty, it can be a little hard to find a willing lawyer to take on the case. This will basically mean that the second lawyer is working for the first to get the lien settled. Most other lawyers will not pick up the case under the assumption that you are a “trouble client”.
In conclusion, it is important to consider and weigh your options before making the decision to fire your litigator. Try to work as a team. Firing a lawyer might feel like a smart move but may in actual fact leave you and your case in quite a mess.
Written by Kellie Bertels, an attorney at Bandre, Hunt and Snider in Jefferson City, MO. Bandre, Hunt and Snider are the best attorneys Jefferson City MO have to offer.