Can You Switch Personal Injury Lawyers in Dallas, TX?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can be an excellent decision if you’ve been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, or other personal injury accident. But what happens if you later change your mind and decide you’d like to work with a different lawyer?
Usually, you have the right to choose who your legal representation is. This often includes the ability to switch to a new lawyer if you later change your mind. Keep in mind, however, that there are limitations on your ability to switch to a new lawyer. For example, you can’t switch to a new lawyer who has a conflict of interest that prohibits them from taking your case.
While in many cases you can switch attorneys, there are some limitations to this. Understanding what you need to know about changing attorneys in your personal injury case is crucial.
Why Do Some People Decide to Switch Attorneys?
People change lawyers for many different reasons. There may have been several instances where they were dissatisfied with their attorney or just a single event.
Some common reasons that people change attorneys include the following:
- The lawyer doesn’t respond to their calls or emails
- They don’t agree with the attorney’s strategy on the case
- The attorney doesn’t seem to have a strategy
- A lack of progress on the case
- They no longer trust the attorney
- The attorney doesn’t communicate well what’s going on with the case
- The attorney is disbarred, is injured, or dies
- The attorney pressures them to accept a settlement that they aren’t comfortable with
- The attorney has made several mistakes in the case
In addition, some people contact another attorney for a second opinion and decide to go with the new attorney.
How Do I Switch Lawyers in a Personal Injury Case?
The process for changing lawyers depends on whether you’ve already filed a lawsuit in court. If you have filed your case, then you will need to file a substitution of counsel with the court. This is a formal notice to the court and all other parties in the case that you are changing attorneys. In some courts, you may need to file a motion for substitution of counsel, in which you request the court’s permission to change attorneys.
If you have not filed your case in court, you just need to notify your old attorney and the other parties that you’re switching lawyers. Your new lawyer can even be the one to let them know you have new legal representation.
Are There Limitations on Your Ability to Switch Attorneys?
You generally have a right to choose your legal representation, which includes switching attorneys. However, there are a couple limitations.
First, if your case has been filed in court, the judge may not permit you to change lawyers if it will unreasonably delay the case. This limitation is designed to prevent people from switching lawyers simply to delay a case moving forward. If you decide to change attorneys, it’s important that you do this as soon as possible. This will minimize the risk of a judge denying your request to change lawyers.
Second, you won’t be able to switch attorneys if the new attorney you want to hire has a conflict of interest in the case. Lawyers are bound by ethical rules that prohibit them from representing a client if certain conflicts of interest exist. For example, the lawyer may represent one of the other parties on a different matter. Your prospective lawyer should review the parties in the case and determine whether they’d have a conflict if they represent you.
Considerations When Hiring a New Lawyer
If you’re thinking of switching attorneys in your Dallas personal injury case, here are some things to consider as you search for a new attorney:
- Do they have experience with personal injury cases like yours, whether it’s a pedestrian accident, car accident, or other type of accident?
- How much experience does the attorney have?
- Do they have a track record of getting results for their clients?
- Do they have any disciplinary actions on their record?
- Do you feel confident that they will fight for the best outcome in your case?
Scheduling a free consultation with an experienced Dallas personal injury lawyer is a great way to learn more about a prospective attorney and see if you want them to take over your case.
Do You Have to Pay Your Old Attorney if You Switch Attorneys?
Personal injury lawyers—including ours—usually work for a contingency fee, which is paid at the end of the case if the attorney successfully recovers compensation for the client. If you switched attorneys, your prior attorney likely has a right to be paid for their work, even if you had a different attorney when you recovered compensation in the case.
Your old and new attorneys can discuss how to apportion the attorney’s fees in the case and decide how much each attorney can recover in fees.
Consult an Experienced Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer if You Are Considering Switching Attorneys
Switching attorneys is a crucial decision in any personal injury case. Don’t delay getting the help you need and finding the right advocate for you to recover the compensation you need for your injuries. If you’re considering switching lawyers in your personal injury case in Dallas, TX, consult a seasoned personal injury attorney today.