A question we get on a daily basis, Can I fire my personal injury lawyer ? In a word, Yes. You are the boss, it is your personal injury case and you can terminate your lawyer if you are unsatisfied with their services. However, your lawyer may be entitled to fee’s for work that they have done and is usually outlined within the fee agreement.
3 Most Common Reasons for Hating Your Personal Injury Lawyer
- “The lawyer never return my calls” – This is the most common cause of strife between clients and their personal injury lawyers. This is total Bull… there is almost no reason that your lawyer should not get back to you, remember its your case! The lawyers at our firm make it a point to ALWAYS return a clients call within 24 hours, this is how we would want to be treated and we feel that this is how our clients should be treated.
- “It has been years since my accident and nothing has happened” – This is a tricky one, while there is a 2 year statute of limitations on personal injury claims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, many lawyers will wait until the day before the deadline to finally file a lawsuit. There are sometimes good reason for doing so, but most times it is simply because of procrastination by the lawyer. After the lawsuit is filed, the clock starts ticking again and it could take another year or more to resolve your personal injury case. Every case and situation is different, but our lawyers know the ins and outs of our cases and can determine when it is best to put the pressure on the insurance companies. *** A varient of this situation is where the lawyer initially inflates the potential worth of the case to sign up the client – if that is your situation you should read this post – how much is my injury case worth.
- “My lawyer is not willing to fight for me (a/k/a not willing to take my case to trial)” – Another common practice of “TV” personal injury law firms, they will talk tough on their commercials, but they are unwilling to take a case to trial. The reasons are many, but understand that taking a case to trial costs them time, money and effort – which many lawyers would rather not expend. Don’t get me wrong, settling cases has its place, but that is after carefully evaluating the cost/benefit analysis of what you stand to gain vs. what you risk going to trial. *** A variant of this situation happens when the client gets a letter from the lawyer who initially took their personal injury case, but now, because it could not be settled no longer wishes to pursue the case. Don’t worry our Bala Cynwyd Personal Injury Lawyers can help when that happens, we have a great track record of getting people money when their lawyer “fires” them.
OK, I Am Ready to Fire My Personal Injury Lawyer, What Now?
What I am about to say may be counter-intuitive, but you should try one last time to speak to the lawyer and discuss any issue that you are having. Remember you are the boss! Sometimes these things can get resolved by addressing your concerns with the lawyer directly, and I would always encourage a client to try this tact.
Talking Didn’t Work, How Do I Fire My Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you are set on firing your personal injury lawyer, you should do so in writing. You should send the lawyer a letter detailing why you are terminating them, ask them to stop working on your case, and direct them where they should send the contents of your file, whether it be directly to you or another law firm. Acting courteously and professionally should help to smooth the transition process, there is no need to scream and threaten the lawyer with a bar complaint or otherwise – most lawyers value their reputations and will understand that sometimes differences between clients happen.
As a practical matter, the case file is yours (outside of mental impressions of the lawyer), but the fired lawyer may assert a lien for work and costs they have expanded on the file – this will usually get worked out by your new lawyer and the fired lawyer. If a lawsuit has been filed in your personal injury case you may need the permission of the Court to allow you to terminate your lawyer – but even at that point you still have the absolute right to fire your lawyer.
So the bottom line to the question, Can I fire my personal injury lawyer? Yes you can, this is your personal injury case, not the lawyers. The personal injury lawyer and law firm should always treat you the right way, but if they did you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post.