You have the right to change attorneys at any point in a car accident case, but that does not mean it is always the best option to solving a conflict. We cannot tell you if you should fire your lawyer, but we can help you understand what you can expect from your attorney and when you may want to consider making a change.
For skilled representation in your case, call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, today. We offer free, no-obligation claims evaluations to car crash victims. Call 865-546-1111 to schedule an appointment.
Should I fire my lawyer?
The lawyer handling your personal injury case should be a teammate, not an adversary. Navigating the process to get your settlement is complex enough; your lawyer should not add to your stress levels. While it is somewhat normal to have the occasional miscommunication or disagreement, sometimes there are real issues that arise between accident victims and their attorneys.
If you see any of these red flags, you may want to address them with your lawyer or consider taking further action to protect your case.
Continued Issues with Communication
Communication problems are one of the top complaints people have about their attorneys, but outlining your expectations up front often helps solve this issue. Your attorney may be difficult to get in touch with while they are taking depositions or litigating another case, but they should return your phone calls—or have a secretary or paralegal contact you—within a reasonable time frame.
If your lawyer does not answer emails or is not willing to address your questions even after you express your concerns and ask for regular updates, this could be a sign of a bigger issue.
Refusal to Update You on the Status of Your Case
You should be able to get a status update on your case anytime you need one. In many cases, the paralegal working on your claim can help. If no one at the firm seems to know the current status of your case or where you are in the claims process, you may want to consider taking action. We have even heard of people having to remind their attorney of court dates or missing important deadlines because their lawyer failed to keep track of them.
Dishonest or Misleading Behavior
Your lawyer’s job is to offer advice based on all the possible outcomes of your case and to help you understand which action serves you best. Then, you make the decision and they follow through with it. If they do not act in accordance with your decision, say one thing and do another, or mislead you on the likely outcome of your claim, you may need new representation.
This is true from the beginning of the claims process. Any personal injury attorney who promises you a positive outcome or a certain value for your claim is offering something they cannot guarantee.
Inexperienced or Lacking in Skills
Every lawyer must act diligently to get their client the payout they deserve. If your attorney does not seem to understand the laws relevant to your case or the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may need to consider why. Are they inexperienced? Is your case outside their usual area of practice?
Sometimes cases just do not go as planned, but if you are reasonably sure a more experienced attorney could make a difference in your case, you may want to look for a new lawyer. Schedule a free consultation with someone with a proven track record of winning cases similar to yours.
Attorneys have to uphold the highest ethical standards. A lawyer who is willing to sidestep the ethics guidelines they promise to follow is not someone you want to trust with your family’s financial future. If your attorney suggests you lie under oath, make misleading statements about your case, or take other unethical actions, consider looking for a new, trustworthy legal team.
I want to fire my lawyer. How do I do it?
If you see any of these red flags or have other issues with your attorney, set up a time to discuss the problem with them. When you outline your expectations and frustrations, most lawyers are quick to take action to ensure you feel supported and happy with their services. If they are not willing to work with you or you cannot overcome the conflict, it is time to consider firing them and hiring another car accident lawyer.
The next thing you need to do is carefully review your agreement with your attorney. Often these agreements will outline how to serve notice that you wish to change lawyers. If not, you can send a letter by certified mail to end the relationship and request your case files within a reasonable deadline. If you already have a new attorney, they may help you with this process.
You do not have to explain why you are choosing to change representation. Instead, just ask them to terminate your attorney-client relationship and send your files, or expect further instructions from your new attorney about your case records.
How does payment work if I fire my lawyer and hire a new one?
Most personal injury attorneys handle car accident cases on a contingency basis, meaning you do not pay until you receive a settlement. If this is your situation, you can request an itemized bill showing what you owe them for their work on your case. Then, your new attorney can pay them after your claim settles or the court awards you compensation.
Your new attorney can also help you recover any unused prepaid fees and work out any other payment situations to ensure your settlement covers all your legal fees.
The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can help with your case.
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we work with car accident victims in Knoxville, Knox County, and the surrounding area. If you need trustworthy and skilled legal representation to file a car accident claim or pursue litigation to recover compensation for your injuries, we can help. Call our office today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free consultation.