How Do I Fire a Car Accident Lawyer?
We get it. Car accidents are stressful. While it’s important to get an attorney as soon as possible after a crash, it’s just as important to find the right lawyer. Unfortunately, people sometimes realize that they’ve hired. Usually this happens a few weeks into representation, when the person has only ever spoken to a case manager or the firm’s assistant.
You have the right to fire your personal injury lawyer if you think that he or she is not acting in your best interest, not performing according to your expectations, if you suspect wrongdoing or simply because you are no longer comfortable with the attorney-client relationship.
1) How Do I Know if I Should Change Lawyers?
If your lawyer has not laid out a detailed game plan in your first meeting and established short and long-term goals, it may be time to find a different personal injury attorney.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Did the lawyer fail to explain his or her strategy for my case?
- Did the lawyer fail to explain the value of the case or what facts must be discovered before they can determine what my case is worth?
- Does the lawyer respond to my calls, texts or emails within 48 hours?
- Do I deal only with a “case manager” or paralegal?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” insist on an in-person meeting with the lawyer and discuss your concerns. If at that point you are still not comfortable and confident with his or her work, it is time to find a new lawyer.
2) Will I Owe My First Lawyer Money?
Two things you need to know off the bat. First, your first lawyer will not present you with a bill. Second, you are entitled to your complete case file. When another lawyer takes over, he or she is responsible for paying off any attorney’s lien when the case is settled. Let’s talk through an example:
You hire Lawyer No. 1 and two months into the representation, he or she stops communicating with you or contacts you very infrequently. You signed a contract at 33.3 percent for that attorney’s fee. You fire Lawyer No.1 and hire Lawyer No. 2. Lawyer No. 2 eventually settles the case for $150,000 with the same fee agreement.
Lawyer No. 1 then files an attorney’s lien, claiming he or she spent $4,200 worth of time on the file before you switched lawyers . Lawyer No.2 would be paid the 33.3 percent from the settlement and out of that money they would then pay off the first lawyer.
In both cases, you as the client will still get the same amount.
3) How Easy is it to Fire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Let’s assume you made up your mind that you hired the wrong attorney and now you want to fire your injury lawyer. The steps may look different depending on where you are in your case process.
CHANGING YOUR REPRESENTATION IN THE FIRST MONTHS
According to Georgia law, an Atlanta personal injury attorney is entitled to be paid for the value of the work he or she did unless there is an offer on the table. In the first stages of the case, it is unlikely there will be an offer, so you will more than likely owe the lawyer money based on the amount of time they spent working on your case. Typically, in the first month this isn’t more than XX hours of work.
As explained in the example above, if you fire your lawyer and hire another one, the money owed to the first lawyer comes out of the same attorney’s fee portion. In other words, if you hire and fire lawyer No. 1 and then hire lawyer #2, both of their attorney’s fees comes out of that same 33.3 percent pre-suit settlement.
In summary, it does not cost anything extra to fire your first lawyer and hire a second one. Finding a personal injury attorney that you trust and prioritizes you and your case is of paramount importance.
Simply send the attorney a fax or email stating:
I am no longer in need of your services. (If there was a reason like failure to return calls, poor communication etc., insert that here). I have decided to handle my case with another attorney (or you can say on your own) and I will need to pick up my file within 14 days. Please telephone me at xxx-xxxx when my file is ready to be picked up.
Then telephone the lawyer’s office to confirm receipt of your letter the next day. You should also notify the insurance company in writing that the lawyer no longer represents you.
YOU HAVE A LOW OFFER AND WANT TO FIRE YOUR CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
Once an offer is made by the car insurance company, the lawyer’s contract will most likely say entitled to their fee no matter what. You cannot fire the lawyer and accept the offer because they will assert an attorney’s lien with the insurance company.
In this situation, it is challenging to get another injury lawyer involved but can still happen depending on your individual circumstances. Contact us today and we will be happy to review your situation.
THE CHAMPION FIRM, P.C.
At The Champion Firm, P.C., we have helped hundreds of personal injury clients in Georgia and recovered over $45 million in settlements in.
We like to say The Champion Firm is a client-focused law practice. What does that mean?
- Unlike many firms, our clients work directly with our attorneys and paralegals on a one-on-one basis.
- We communicate case updates quickly and frequently and are always here to answer questions by phone, text or email.!
- Our clients are like family. They come to us at very difficult times in their lives and we (often) work seven days a week to make sure they are getting the best care and compensation possible.
If you have fired your personal injury attorney and are looking for new representation, contact us to discuss your case in a free and confidential consultation over the phone, via Zoom or in-person at our Atlanta office. We’re here to help. Simply fill out the form below.