What To Consider Before Changing Your Car Accident Lawyer
When you work with a car accident lawyer, they should have your best legal interests in mind to help you win compensation for your personal injury and financial losses. However, some lawyers may not adhere to professional expectations due to a lack of communication and preparation for your case.
If you feel your lawyer is not the best fit for your auto accident case, you may switch to a new attorney with experience handling car accident injuries in California to benefit your claim.
Learn what to consider before changing car accident lawyers and how The Shirvanian Law Firm’s car accident lawyers can help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
California Regulations on Switching Lawyers
California Rules of Court allow you to substitute lawyers at almost any point during your car accident case. You must submit a signed Notice of Appearance with the court with your new attorney and your former lawyer must submit a Notice of Withdrawal.
If you choose to switch lawyers, California’s Rules of Professional Conduct prevent your former attorney from acting in any way that will negatively affect your case. These rules also ensure that the attorney doesn’t use information acquired through the attorney-client relationship in any future capacity.
For instance, if your former lawyer drafted a settlement contract for your case, they can’t rescind it if you change counsel. The California State Bar may investigate an attorney who violates these rules and impose disciplinary sanctions, including suspension and debarment from practicing law.
Factors to Consider Before You Switch Car Accident Lawyers
Although switching lawyers can benefit your auto accident case, there are a few considerations to make before obtaining new legal representation.
You May Need to Pay Your Attorney
Attorneys agree to work on a contingency basis because it allows clients to pursue claims without worrying about upfront fees. If you terminate your relationship with an attorney, they may be entitled to receive compensation for the legal services they provided up until the date of termination.
For instance, your lawyer agreement may state that if you terminate their services before the case’s conclusion, you have to pay an hourly rate for the work they have completed for your case. For example, if their hourly rate is $450 per hour and they completed 50 hours of work for your case, you may owe them $22,500 as reasonable compensation for their services when you receive your settlement.
Before you switch attorneys, it is critical to review your contract carefully to understand the terms and conditions for compensation to your lawyer. You may need to finalize your condition of payment with your previous attorney before moving on to a new one.
Changing Attorneys Can Improve the Outcome of Your Case
Car accident cases that have been ongoing and require many work hours can be challenging to transfer to a new attorney. The sooner you decide to change lawyers, the easier the transition will be, and the better the attorney can protect your legal interests in court.
Hiring a different attorney can have a substantial influence on the result of your case. If your current attorney didn’t thoroughly investigate or gather evidence, your new lawyer can build on existing evidence and move your case forward.
Depending on the timing of the transition, your new attorney can also take over negotiations with the insurance company to win you maximum compensation. If you switch attorneys before entering a lawsuit in court, your new attorney can prepare you for trial and gather expert witness testimony to present to bolster your case.
What Steps Should You Take to Switch Lawyers
If you decide to change attorneys, take the following steps to ensure a smooth transition:
- Be sure to read the contract you have signed with your current attorney thoroughly. We recommended that you have a clear understanding of what payments and other legal binds are agreed upon, so that there can be no confusion or issues later on down pipeline.
- Choose new legal representation. Consult with a new auto accident attorney to learn more about how they can provide better legal representation for your case. An experienced auto accident attorney at The Shirvanian Law Firm can review your case and help you understand what it takes for your case to be successful by answering questions during a free consultation.
- Notify the termination of your attorney’s services in writing. In your termination letter, request a copy of your case file via certified mail to your new attorney’s office or your home address. Remember to keep your communication professional and polite as your old attorney transfers your file to the new attorney.
- If the case is in litigation (i.e. pending in court), either you or your new attorney needs to file a motion to withdraw or file a substitution of attorney.
- Engage with your new attorney. Your attorney should have all relevant documents and evidence from your previous legal representation, so they can begin working on your case immediately. You can work closely with your attorney to ensure a favorable outcome for your case by providing all necessary details related to your claim and helping them gather additional evidence, such as medical records from your providers.
What Are the Reasons to Change Lawyers in the Middle of a Case?
Changing attorneys may be necessary if you believe your current lawyer’s behavior does not help your case. For instance, you may not know the status of your case if your lawyer refuses to answer your questions promptly. Other reasons for you to change lawyers mid-case can include:
Lack of Preparation for Your Case
Reminding your attorney of your case details repeatedly may indicate that they are unprepared to handle your claim. For example, you may need new representation if your attorney didn’t gather witness statements or surveillance footage related to your car accident case or failed to file the claim on time.
An experienced, compassionate lawyer should inform you about the evidence needed for your claim due and conduct a proactive investigation and determination of fault to move your case forward.
Undue Pressure to Accept a Settlement
The insurance company may offer you a low initial settlement during negotiations. If your lawyer pressures you to take it without negotiating for fair compensation for your injuries, you may need to replace them.
An attorney who pressures you to receive a low settlement may act outside your best interests, as they may be motivated by financial gain. Instead, they should consider all the damages before settling on fair compensation for your car accident case.
Failure to Live Up to Expectations
A law firm typically promises a positive client experience and transparent communication during the initial consultation. However, a lawyer may fail to follow through on their promises to communicate with the insurance company, file your claim on time, or prioritize your case.
Changing lawyers may be necessary when your lawyer doesn’t fulfill their promise to represent you to the best of their ability or does not uphold their professional responsibilities. Look for an attorney with a favorable reputation with former clients and a winning track record in handling car accident cases.
What The Shirvanian Law Firm Can Do For You
When switching lawyers, having a skilled car accident lawyer can be an essential factor in determining the outcome of your case. The Shirvanian Law Firm is dedicated to achieving favorable results for its clients. When you work with a car accident attorney at our law firm, we will address your concerns and help you negotiate a fair settlement.
Book a free consultation with The Shirvanian Law Firm by contacting us today through our contact page or live chat. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee arrangement, so you won’t pay unless we settle your claim.