If you feel your current personal injury lawyer is not handling your case well, you can switch to another attorney-even in the middle of your case. However, there are a few considerations to make before switching, including how to select new representation.
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Why do You want to Switch Personal Injury Attorneys?
Pinpointing the reason you want to change lawyers can help you on several fronts. First, you can discuss your issue with your lawyer and potentially work through it. If the issue can’t be resolved, knowing what led to this decision can help you identify what you want in your new attorney.
Common reasons to switch to a different lawyer include:
- Failure to return calls or emails
- A lack of information on your case
- No explanation of legal proceedings or paperwork
- Stalled progress on the case
- Disagreement over the direction of the case
- A tense or deteriorating relationship
- Failure to achieve a fair settlement offer or agreement
Even if there has been no egregious problem in how your lawyer has treated your case, you may find that you simply don’t get along. Your attorney is part of your life for weeks, months, and even years. As such, your team should be united in your pursuit of compensation.
Possible Challenges when Changing Lawyers
While you have the right to switch personal injury lawyers, there are some potential challenges to consider when making the decision:
You May Have to Pay Your Former Attorney for Their Time and Efforts
In New York, personal injury lawyers are paid on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning they only receive payment if you receive a settlement.
Consequently, if you decide to change representation before your case is resolved, your prior attorney may be entitled to a portion of the legal fee once the case is resolved.
Your New Attorney Needs to Familiarize Themselves with Your Case
Your new attorney will need to get up to speed on the background and evidence of your case before moving forward. This can be especially challenging if your case has been ongoing for quite some time; the change may cost you even more time.
You Have a Limited Time to File a Lawsuit
Another consideration is the statute of limitations. In New York, you generally have three years to file a lawsuit, per CVP §214. However, this deadline could be shortened or come with stipulations.
For instance, when filing against a municipality, you must file a notice of your claim within 90 days, per GMU §50-E. If you haven’t filed yet, don’t forget this deadline while you search for a new lawyer. The law does not extend this deadline even if you switch representatives.
What Should You Look for in a New Attorney?
Understanding where the relationship deteriorated with your previous lawyer is a starting point while looking for a new one. Furthermore, there are other ways to identify a good fit with your new personal injury attorney.
Research a firm’s:
- Practice areas
- Track record
- Awards and recognition
- Case results
- Proposed strategy
- Promises and guarantees
For example, if you were injured in a slip and fall at an apartment complex, you can look for a firm that has successfully handled similar cases. When interviewing and researching lawyers, you can also gauge how responsive they are throughout the process, as well as the promises they make when taking on your case.
Above all, ask questions and express the concerns you had regarding your previous lawyer. Like any relationship, the one with your new attorney will function best when you are honest about your expectations and desires. You’re forming a new partnership. You want someone who shares your goals and expectations.
Take Advantage of These Resources
You can further narrow down your choices by utilizing the experience of others as well as your own impressions. Use any of the following to gain more information about a potential lawyer:
- Free consultations
- Online reviews
- Word-of-mouth recommendations
- Rating sites
Most personal injury firms offer free case reviews, which provide a glimpse into how they will work on your case. Rating and review sites can also offer a peek into how a legal team operates, from both clients and even fellow lawyers.
Moreover, asking other people about their experiences with certain lawyers can yield insight into your options.
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Get Your Free Consultation with us Today
Like our peers, Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. offers free case reviews to anyone wanting to switch to a new personal injury lawyer. Feel free to test us, asking about our track record with cases like yours and how we can move forward with your insurance claim or lawsuit.
We assist clients in both English and Spanish. Call us today to get started.