Can I switch Attorneys in Personal Injury Case?

Can I switch Attorneys in Personal Injury Case?

You have the full right to change your personal injury attorney if you are dissatisfied with your current one.

If you believe that your present personal injury lawyer is not effectively managing your case, you can opt to switch to a different attorney, even while your case is ongoing.

An image illustration of whether  I Can switch Attorneys in Personal Injury Case
Can I switch Attorneys in Personal Injury Case

Why Consider Changing Your Personal Injury Attorney?

Common motivations for transitioning to a different lawyer encompass:

  1. Failure to respond to calls or emails promptly.
  2. Insufficient communication regarding your case.
  3. Inadequate clarification of legal procedures or documentation.
  4. Slow progress in handling the case.
  5. Differences in opinion about the case’s direction.
  6. A strained or deteriorating working relationship.
  7. Failure to secure a reasonable settlement offer or agreement.

Even when there haven’t been glaring issues in how your current lawyer has managed your case, you might discover that you simply don’t have a harmonious working relationship.

Since your attorney will be a significant part of your life for weeks, months, or even years, it’s crucial for your team to be cohesive in pursuing the compensation you deserve.

Potential Hurdles When Changing Attorneys

While you retain the right to change your personal injury lawyer, there are certain challenges to consider when making this decision:

  1. Compensation for Previous Attorney’s Services: In New York, personal injury attorneys typically operate on a contingency-fee basis, meaning they are only paid if you receive a settlement. Consequently, if you opt to switch representation before your case is resolved, your former attorney may be entitled to a portion of the legal fee once the case concludes.
  2. Familiarization Period for Your New Attorney: Your new attorney will need time to acquaint themselves with the background and evidence of your case before proceeding. This can be particularly challenging if your case has been ongoing for an extended period; the transition may result in additional time investments.
  3. Statute of Limitations: Another vital consideration is the statute of limitations. In New York, there is generally a three-year window to file a lawsuit, as per CVP §214. However, this timeframe may be subject to alteration or specific conditions.
An image illustration of Switching Attorneys in Personal Injury Case
Switching Attorneys in Personal Injury Case
Source: (slaterzurz)

What Is the Basis for the Ability to Change Personal Injury Attorneys?

The ability to select the attorney of your preference is a well-established principle across the United States.

While much of the legal precedent addressing this right pertains to criminal cases, it also extends to civil cases.

In criminal cases, the right to choose your attorney derives from the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Sixth Amendment grants criminal defendants the right to legal counsel.

The courts have affirmed that this right encompasses the freedom to select the attorney of your choice.

Why Is the Right to Select Your Own Attorney Granted?

The right to choose your attorney is granted because the legal system considers it a fundamental component of ensuring a fair trial.

The concept of ensuring a fair trial holds significant importance in our legal framework, with a unanimous consensus that court proceedings should be equitable.

The courts maintain that permitting you to select your attorney plays a pivotal role in delivering just treatment.

By opting for your own lawyer, you empower them to represent your interests.

In essence, your choice of attorney affords you control over your case.

Regardless of whether your decision proves advantageous or otherwise, you bear the consequences of that choice.

The courts firmly believe that the ability to choose your attorney is essential for upholding the integrity of the judicial system.

How Can I Change Lawyers in a Personal Injury Case?

Switching personal injury lawyers involves a specific procedure, which varies depending on the stage of your case.

If you have already initiated your court case, you must execute what’s known as a ‘substitution of counsel.

This entails formally notifying both the court and the other parties involved in the case that you are changing attorneys.

Conversely, if you have not yet officially filed a legal claim, the process of changing lawyers is simpler.

Your new attorney can take the initiative to inform your current lawyer about your decision to switch.

ALSO READ : Can I fire my Personal Injury Lawyer?

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