For many people looking to file a personal injury claim, it may be the first time they've ever hired an attorney. If you've never dealt with an attorney before, it can be difficult to know what you should look for and what questions you should ask during your initial meeting. They may be saying all the right things, so you decide to hire them. Unfortunately, it is only after you hire your attorney that it may be obvious that it wasn't the right lawyer for you. However, you may be unsure whether or not you have good cause to fire your attorney.
Firing a Personal Injury Attorney
You can fire your attorney for any reason you want; however, you may still have to pay them. This is because many personal injury attorneys will take your case on a contingent fee basis. A contingent fee agreement generally provides that your attorney will take your case with no upfront costs to you, and will advance the costs of litigation. In exchange for taking your case, the agreement provides that the lawyer will get paid only after you win or accept a settlement. Then the attorney will take a percentage of your recovery.
If you have a contingent fee agreement and you decide to fire your attorney, your attorney will probably want to get paid for the work they've done on your case, even if it doesn't seem like they've done much work. It is important to understand your attorney-client contract before you decide to fire your attorney. If you don't fully understand the repercussions of firing your attorney, you may want to consult with another attorney to determine whether you have good cause to fire your current lawyer.
There may be a number of reasons why you would want to fire your attorney. However, before you do fire your attorney, you should make sure you have good cause to seek new legal representation. An attorney has ethical and professional obligations to their clients, and if they are violating the rules of professional conduct, you may have good cause to fire your personal injury lawyer.
Your Attorney's Duties and Responsibilities
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a lawyer's professional responsibilities are guided by the Rules of Professional Conduct. These rules spell out the lawyer's responsibilities in the client-lawyer relationship, their role as counselor and advocate, responsibilities in law firms, public service, and maintaining the integrity of the profession. An attorney's primary responsibilities are towards their client, in their role as representative, advisor, advocate, evaluator, and negotiator.
Under Rule 1.4, a lawyer shall promptly inform the client of important decisions or circumstances; reasonably consult with their client about their objectives; keep the client reasonably informed about the status of their case; promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; and consult with their client about any relevant limitation on the lawyer's conduct. They should also explain a matter to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.
Communication is one of the most important duties for an attorney, and communication issues are cited as a reason clients want to fire their attorney. If you feel like your attorney is not keeping you reasonably informed about your case, or does not adequately explain a matter about your case, you should tell your attorney about your concerns. If they still fail to properly communicate with you, you may have good cause to fire your attorney.
Under Rule 1.3, a lawyer is supposed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client. A client may feel that their attorney keeps putting things off, and doesn't respond to their calls in a timely manner, keeps rescheduling meetings and calls, and allows the case to drag on too long. Unfortunately, personal injury lawsuits often take much longer than the client would like. However, an attorney still has a duty to avoid unreasonable delays, especially if the delay prejudices the interests of the client. If your attorney is missing deadlines or cancels a hearing at the last minute, you may have good cause to find a new attorney.
Firing Your Personal Injury Attorney
Make sure you understand your attorney-client agreement before you decide to fire your attorney. Talk to another personal injury attorney about taking on your case to make sure you have good cause to fire your attorney. This will also ensure that your new lawyer will pick up your case where the other lawyer left off. Your attorney may be entitled to some compensation after you terminate your relationship, which your new attorney can explain to you, and if necessary, negotiate an agreement with your prior attorney.
Get a Second Opinion For Your Personal Injury Claim
If you are working with a lawyer who is not representing your best interests, you may want another opinion on whether you can fire your attorney. The law firm of Gilman & Bedigian may be able to help you if you want to fire your attorney. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in Philadelphia. We will diligently and zealously represent you, and keep you informed of any developments throughout your case. Please contact us today for a free consultation.