When you hired your personal injury lawyer, you hired him in good faith that he would be the best one for the job. When problems or disagreements arise between you, how can you determine if it’s necessary to fire him and get another one? It’s important to put some thought and research into this because switching lawyers mid-case can jeopardize or slow down your case, cost you additional money, or even raise eyebrows at court.
Is it a personality difference?
Firing your attorney simply because you don’t like his personality is probably not a big enough reason. Perhaps you wear your heart on your sleeve and the attorney is a cool-headed, hard-facts, no-fluff person. Switching lawyers is a big deal. If your personal injury attorney is doing a good job on your case, you may just need to put up with his personality.
Is your lawyer doing his job?
You may wonder why nothing seems to be happening or why you haven’t heard from your attorney in a while. Understand that you may not understand what’s involved in legal proceedings. Legal cases can take time. Additionally, your attorney—particularly if he’s a good one—will be handling multiple cases simultaneously. Is he not responding because he’s extremely busy or because he doesn’t want to talk to you? Investigate the reason why he’s not communicating with you and then make a decision accordingly.
Does your lawyer understand your case?
Is your case a bit unusual or outside of the attorney’s usual area of practice? If your lawyer seems unsure of himself, he may be open to peaceably transferring you to another lawyer that is more versed in your type of case. For instance, perhaps you suffered a severe chemical burn from a defective product, but your personal injury attorney has only handled one other defective product case in his entire career.
Another difference that can arise is the more subtle difference of human understanding. If your personal injury case involves an emotional or traumatic situation, such as assault or wrongful death, you want an attorney that shows at least some level of compassion or understanding regarding your situation. But don’t assume he’s not compassionate if he’s not prone to showing as much emotion as you are. He may just be harder to read.
Do you disagree about how your case should go?
There are several methods that an attorney can use to settle your case, such as negotiation, settlement, and litigation. If you are disagreeing about how far your case should go—for instance, you want to settle, but he wants to take it all the way to the court or you want to pursue it further and he is pressuring you to settle quickly—you may want to reconsider whether he is a good fit.
Should you fire your personal injury lawyer? It depends. Talk to him about your frustrations. Perhaps your disagreements and misunderstandings can be cleared up. If not, do your best to terminate the relationship in a professional, peaceful manner and find a new attorney that can complete your case successfully.