A personal injury lawyer is someone you have retained likely to help you through a difficult part of your life. Personal injury lawsuits are typically sensitive in nature, making it all the more frustrating to have poor legal counsel representing you in the matters. Poor representation could mean you don’t receive the compensation you deserve and aren’t given any justice for your injuries.
If you believe you may have reasons to fire your personal injury lawyer, our legal team at Bachus & Schanker can also help you determine if you have a legal malpractice claim on your hands.
Yes, you can fire your personal injury lawyer
While it may seem intimidating, it is, in fact, possible to fire your personal injury lawyer. It is your right to be able to fire your personal injury attorney at any time you wish for any reason at all. Whether you are dissatisfied with the services, believe your attorney is causing your case harm, or you’re simply looking for a different attorney, you always have the option to fire your hired counsel.
Reasons to consider changing lawyers
There are many reasons to consider changing personal injury lawyers. You may feel as if your attorney is not adequately representing you and your interests, or you could simply wish to hire a different attorney. Since it is your right to terminate counsel at any time you want to, there is no right or wrong reason to change your lawyer after your personal injury lawsuit has commenced.
What constitutes legal malpractice?
While you may have heard of medical malpractice, legal malpractice is typically less commonly heard. Malpractice is not limited to the medical profession, with the definition of malpractice being: “a dereliction of professional duty or a failure to exercise an ordinary degree of professional skill or learning by one rendering professional services which results in injury, loss, or damage.”
Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney negligently handles a case or intends to cause their client harm. As with medical malpractice and standard negligence cases, you will need to establish the elements of a legal malpractice claim when seeking justice against your former attorney. These elements include:
- There was an attorney-client relationship
- The attorney breached their duty to provide skillful and competent representation
- The attorney’s actions caused financial harm
A successful legal malpractice case typically involves the plaintiff being able to establish that they would have won their original claim but for the former attorney’s negligence.
Do you still have to pay the original attorney?
Whether you have to pay the original attorney or you can seek repayment for any damages you endured due to their negligence depends on the jurisdiction in which the legal malpractice claim is being brought. In Colorado, the victim of legal malpractice will be able to seek damages from their original attorney as a result of the attorney’s negligence in handling the original claim.
What to do to switch personal injury attorneys during a case
Technically, you don’t even have to speak with your original attorney ever again if you do not wish to. In fact, you can retain a new attorney and have them contact the original one, establishing that you have sought legal services elsewhere. If you’re genuinely considering doing this, you will be most successful by adhering to the following steps:
Review the contract
It’s important to fully understand the contract between yourself and the original attorney to determine that there are no loopholes that may be more harmful to you should you wish to seek different counsel. Upon a free consultation with a new attorney, you may be able to inquire about the original contract to get their insight on the situation.
Hire a new personal injury lawyer
When seeking a new personal injury attorney, it’s important to remember to look for any warning signs that may indicate that they may give you the same issues that your original counsel had. Be sure to schedule plenty of free legal consultations with local counsel to establish who you deem to be the best fit for handling your claim and representing your interests.
Terminate the original lawyer-client relationship in writing
As mentioned above, you don’t even have to do this yourself if you do not wish to. Once you have a new attorney, they will be more than qualified to handle this correspondence on your behalf. The only thing essential to ensuring the termination is successful is that the termination must be in writing. If you fail to have this termination in writing, it could lead to issues down the line that could easily have been avoided.
Notify the court
Once you have established the termination in counsel for your personal injury lawsuit, it is essential to notify the court so they may record the appropriate counsel on your behalf.
Legal Malpractice. (2023).