5 Signs That It’s Time To Switch a New Personal Injury Lawyer

Posted on July 2, 2024 by lvnvlawyer

As a client with a personal injury case, you can fire your lawyer at any time, assuming that you are mentally competent. You might owe your former lawyer some money as a result, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue allowing substandard representation. Following are some red flags that should tell you that you need a new lawyer.

Your Lawyer Is Not Communicating With You

Lack of communication is perhaps the number one reason clients fire their lawyers. Your lawyer should update you on your case (without your constant prompting) and respond promptly and thoroughly to your questions and concerns. A terse “yes” or “no” answer shouldn’t satisfy you, no matter how busy the lawyer is.

Your lawyer’s failure to communicate with you on your case might be telling you something. For example, it might be telling you that your lawyer has no news to report because they are not pursuing your case. A large firm might treat you as nothing more than a case number. It might also be that your lawyer has delegated your case to a paralegal or a junior lawyer with whom they rarely communicate.  

You Don’t Like Your Lawyer

It might seem frivolous to fire your lawyer simply because of a personal dislike. It might still be the right thing to do, however, for the following reasons:

  • You and your lawyer work best as a team, with you making the major decisions and your lawyer deciding on tactical matters and executing your decisions. If you two don’t like each other, you’re not likely to work effectively together. If your lawyer doesn’t like you either, they might not give their best effort.
  • Sometimes, it’s a good idea to go with your “gut feeling.” This isn’t an appeal to magic. Your unconscious mind is a repository of facts that are too numerous to fit into your conscious mind’s limited storage space. A conclusion arising from these hidden facts could surface in your conscious mind as a gut feeling.

Of course, don’t go overboard with this. Don’t fire your lawyer simply because they physically resemble your ex-spouse, for example.

Your Lawyer Has Little or No Trial Experience

Some lawyers possess rich experience negotiating personal injury settlements but do not win at trial. While this might sound good, such a lawyer is not necessarily your best choice. Ironically, this is particularly likely to be true if you plan to negotiate an out-of-court settlement to avoid trial. 

This is because insurance companies respect lawyers who have proven the ability to take them to court and win. Without this experience, the insurance company will not respect your lawyer. They might settle your claim, but they will settle it for less than what it would have been worth if you had hired an experienced trial lawyer whom insurance companies know and fear. 

You’ve Discovered a Conflict of Interest Involving Your Lawyer

A conflict of interest occurs when your lawyer would benefit from doing something that would harm you or not doing something that would help you. Following are some examples of conflicts of interest in personal injury law:

  • Your lawyer represents both you and the defendant in the same case. The most common form this conflict takes is when a lawyer represents a couple seeking an ‘amicable’ divorce that later turns rancorous.
  • You are suing a company, and your lawyer is a shareholder in the company.
  • Your lawyer has a close personal relationship with the opposing party.
  • Your lawyer wants to charge you using billable hours rather than the contingency fee arrangement that most personal injury lawyers use.

There are hundreds if not thousands of ways that a conflict of interest can arise,

Your Lawyer Has a Bad Reputation Among Clients or Peers

Check your lawyer’s reputation on the internet and at sites like Avvo.com and Martindale-Hubbell. Ask around about them and if you have the social connections to do so. It’s best to do this before you hire the lawyer–but hey, better late than never!

A Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

An experienced personal injury attorney can make all the difference in the success of your claim. Switching lawyers isn’t something that you should take lightly, but it might be in your best interest. If one of the above signs applies to your situation, making a move could be the right choice.