At some time during your case, you might wonder, “can I fire my lawyer?”
If you find yourself working with an attorney who does not answer your phone calls, provide you with consistent or accurate legal advice, or does not appear to be working on your case, you may feel frustrated and confused.
Most people hire an attorney hoping that they will be their legal advocate and negotiate on their behalf for the justice and compensation they deserve.
However, in some cases, an attorney simply does not provide the services they were hired to do. As a result, clients may be left wondering if they can fire their lawyer before reaching a settlement.
How Easy Is It to Fire a Car Accident Lawyer and Will I Owe Them Money?
In the chaos following a car accident, you might hire a lawyer you believe will be effective, only to realize later that they are not performing the actions needed to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.
A personal injury attorney typically has a responsibility to take steps such as conducting an independent investigation, issuing preservation-of-evidence letters to appropriate parties, conducting interviews of witnesses, negotiating with insurance companies, hiring expert witnesses if necessary, and calculating the total amount of losses related to a victim’s injuries, property damage, and non-economic losses.
Most people who hire an attorney are unsure of the steps an attorney should take during the process. Still, they might feel that the lawyer is not working hard enough to secure compensation for injuries and losses. During this time, an accident victim may reasonably consider firing the lawyer before settlement.
Consider the following scenarios which may allow a victim to break a contract and fire a lawyer before reaching a settlement agreement:
- No car accident settlement offer has been made. Car accident cases fall under personal injury law. Many law firms in Georgia do not charge fees upfront for your case but instead will retain a percentage of your final settlement. As such, the degree to which your case has progressed can affect how easily you can fire your car accident attorney and whether you owe them money.
Unless you already have an offer from the insurance company for the other drivers involved, it should be quite easy to fire your attorney. Once you fire your attorney, you are entitled to move forward with your case with a different lawyer. If another lawyer is hired as a replacement, the other lawyer will have to pay any outstanding bills from the fired lawyer. However, that may not come out of your portion of the settlement.
- A car accident settlement offer has been made. If the other driver’s insurance company has already made an offer, the contract you signed with the lawyer most likely states that they are entitled to the agreed-upon lawyer fee. At this point, if you accept the settlement offer from the insurance company, you owe the attorney their fee. If you accept a negotiated offer for slightly more money, you still owe them their fee.
How Do I Know If I Should Change Lawyers?
There are many situations where you might want to change lawyers. An essential component of a personal injury case is knowing what is happening. Good communication from your lawyer keeps you informed about the investigation, what strategy will be used, upcoming deadlines, required paperwork, communications from the insurance company, and other important information.
If your current lawyer failed to explain the strategy they plan to employ for your case, you should insist on an in-person meeting to discuss those concerns. If they were unable to explain what type of compensation you could potentially earn and, more importantly, what evidence has to be uncovered before that compensation could potentially be secured, also consider meeting with them in person to get more information.
If they do not communicate or agree to meetings, or the issues are not fixed to your satisfaction, consider changing lawyers.
If you regularly deal with a case manager and not your attorney directly, or they fail to return your calls within 48 hours, these are also signs that you should consider changing lawyers.
How Do I Fire My Injury Lawyer?
Firing your personal injury lawyer is relatively simple. Send your lawyer something in writing, such as a letter or an email stating that you no longer need their services. Confirm that your communication was received.
If there was a reason you chose to fire them – such as a failure to communicate or constantly dealing with a case manager instead of the lawyer – feel free to include that in your note so that they understand why you are firing them. However, you are under no obligation to explain this if you are not comfortable doing so.
Keep a copy of any written correspondence that you send to your lawyer.
Consider contacting the insurance companies involved to inform them that you are no longer working with this particular lawyer as well.
Get Help From an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer
Having the right attorney can help you feel confident as you pursue your claim for justice and compensation for your injuries and other losses. If you believe your lawyer has not adequately represented you in your legal claim, you may rightly ask the question, “Can I fire my lawyer before settlement?”
If you are in the beginning stages of a case, you can fire your lawyer before settlement. Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Butler Law Firm to learn more about your legal rights and options.