Firing Your Injury Lawyer; Hiring a New Injury Lawyer
If you are unhappy with how your case is being handled, it may be time to change lawyers. But this is not a simple thing. The blog that follows explores one aspect of this issue. Feel free to call me at 610 642 7676 if you would like to discuss your case.
Expressing Your Concerns
Lawyers frequently receive telephone calls from individuals complaining about the lawyer currently handling their personal injury case. Many of these calls involve requests to evaluate the strategy, or lack thereof, of the caller’s current attorney. When a lawyer receives this type of call, he or she may respond in a way that is somewhat unsatisfactory to the caller. The lawyer does not mean to be evasive, but the request for this kind of information places him or her in a very bad position. He or she does not have access to the caller’s file and is in no position at all to evaluate the other attorney’s strategy.
Requests for information about your file should be directed to your present attorney. Your attorney has the obligation to communicate with you in a timely and courteous fashion and to respond to all reasonable requests for information. Again, if your attorney is not responsive, send a certified letter requesting the information you seek. This is sure to get your attorney’s attention.
Further, you can be sure that your attorney will very much resent being second-guessed by an outside attorney who has only one side of the story. Most attorneys prefer not to advise a client at this stage that the first attorney is handling the case improperly. If they were to provide such advice, they would open themselves up to lawsuits or complaints to the disciplinary board by the first attorney.
Worse yet, because the second lawyer is operating with only one side of the story and very incomplete information, any advice given would likely be unsatisfactory, and perhaps completely erroneous. This might subject the second lawyer to a later lawsuit by the client for legal malpractice. Thus, if an attorney politely refuses your request for an evaluation of a case another attorney is handling, there may be sound reasons for the refusal.
Occasionally, you can find an attorney who will inform your attorney that you are concerned and need clarification regarding the case. If you do not mind paying this other attorney to act as a buffer for you, a simple phone call may help alleviate your fears that your case is being mishandled. If you have a friend or relative who is an attorney, but not a personal injury attorney, he or she may be able to talk lawyer-to-lawyer with your attorney and express your concerns without making the attorney fear he or she will lose the case.