A lawyer can make or break your personal injury case. Whether you had a slip and fall, a car crash, a truck accident, or another personal injury, choosing the “right” attorney for you can be a lot of pressure.
Sometimes you make the wrong first choice. But you don’t have to be stuck with the wrong lawyer.
Illinois law allows you to change legal representation no matter where you are in your personal injury case. Learn more about when you can switch lawyers and the process.
Yes, you can change your personal injury lawyer anytime during your case. Laws protect a client’s right to an attorney, which includes changing or firing counsel.
However, you should always try to mend your relationship with a lawyer before taking drastic measures. Discussing your concerns and frustrations might help them better cater their services to you. If you are still unhappy with them, you can hire someone else and fire your current lawyer.
There may be exceptions to switching personal injury attorneys. The judge in your case must approve your request. If you are too close to the court date, or there’s a conflict of interest with the lawyer you want, the court might not allow you to change counsel.
If you want to change your legal representation, you don’t need a specific reason. The decision is yours to make, even if it’s just a gut feeling.
However, changing counsel is often a last resort. It will likely impact the time and money you spend on your case. Depending on your contract, you may owe the former lawyer a percentage of their fees, and the new lawyer will need to catch up on your case thus far.
You might decide to change lawyers if:
Knowing the source of your dissatisfaction can help you pinpoint your needs moving forward. It will also help you fire the lawyer with concrete reasoning.
The process of changing counsel can vary depending on where you are in your case.
No matter how far along you are in your case, you should refer to any agreements you made when you hired a lawyer before terminating their services. They may have a procedure for firing them or financial strings attached.
Follow any steps they outline. If you disagree with any, your new lawyer might be able to negotiate with them.
You should also ensure you have another lawyer before officially firing your current one. Otherwise, you could be left without representation for some time. Secure any files related to your case, so progress isn’t hindered.
Changing lawyers can be straightforward if you have yet to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Once you hire a new attorney, they could draft a letter explaining the situation to your former lawyer.
Your former lawyer can transfer the case files to the new lawyer helping you.
If you’ve already filed a claim or lawsuit, you must follow a procedure with the courts to change counsel.
Your former lawyer will file a motion to withdraw. This will remove them from the case and restart your claim or lawsuit.
Your new lawyer will then file a motion and order requesting to substitute as your legal representation. You and your former lawyer must sign the documents before a judge approves them.
The hardest step was deciding to change personal injury lawyers. You should be proud for taking the initiative in your case and recovery.
Hopefully, now that you know what didn’t work with your last personal injury attorney, you can recognize what will. Here are some “green flags” to look for in the next personal injury lawyer:
Nothing is more frustrating than putting recovery on hold after a personal injury to pick up a lawyer’s slack. Or feeling like your attorney isn’t 100% on your side. You shouldn’t have to handle legal burdens on top of financial and health concerns. That’s why changing legal counsel might be the right option for most Illinois cases.
When you trust a legal professional who turns out to be the wrong fit, it can be hard to know who to trust next. Let Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. show you why thousands of Illinois clients believe in our skills. Our Chicago attorneys can reveal the full potential of your case and help you recover smoothly.