How to Change Your Personal Injury Lawyer
There are many reasons why a client may wish to change their personal injury lawyer. They may feel that the lawyer is not moving the case along quickly enough, that the attorney is not communicating well, or that the client and the attorney do not agree on how the case should be progressing.
Clients should know that they always have the right to seek new representation, no matter what stage their case currently is in. This brief guide is intended to let people know how to change their personal injury attorney according to New York law. Contact a Long Island injury attorney to discuss if they can provide appropriate representation.
Steps to Take to Change Your Attorney
When people want to move their case to a new attorney, their first step should be to discuss the problems they are having directly with the attorney. In many cases, the issues can be resolved with a simple face-to-face conversation. However, sometimes a lack of clear communication means the conversation never occurs. In these situations, clients should begin to seek out new representation. A new attorney cannot sign onto the case while a client is currently being represented, but the new lawyer can begin to draft the necessary paperwork.
Once the final decision to switch representation has been made, the next steps depend upon what stage the case is in. If the case has not yet been filed in court, the process is fairly simple. The new attorney should prepare a letter and change of attorney form stating that the client no longer wishes the old lawyer to work on the case and to have the client sign it. Once this letter is given to the old attorney by the client, they are entitled to any of their property held by the attorney as well as a full copy of the case file.
The only sources that the old attorney may keep are copies of the fee agreement and any personal notes concerning the case. This decision will in no way affect your potential payout on the case, as the new attorney and old attorney will work out how to split any fees from the case on their own.
If the case is already in court, the process is more complicated. The old attorney must submit paperwork to the court stating that they are withdrawing from the case at the client’s request. In this situation, the client is strongly advised to have new representation ready to file the appropriate paperwork immediately to not be caught off-guard by the opposing attorney.
Reasons for a Change in Representation
Clients may choose to change their attorney for various reasons; or even for no reason at all. In many cases, poor communication leads to a breakdown of trust, in others, the case is moving too slowly for the client’s liking. If the client expresses their concerns about these issues and still wishes to make a switch, it will have minimal effects on their case.
In personal injury cases, the vast majority of attorneys will work on contingency, meaning that there is no retainer paid by the client. For this reason, there is no risk of losing money if the client wishes to move in another direction.
When people are uncomfortable with their representation in their personal injury cases, we are here to help. Contact us today to see if our dedicated personal injury lawyers can provide the representation that your case deserves.