Many clients come to us asking to change their attorney. Whether it is because the attorney does not give them proper attention, or because they feel the claim is not being handled properly, many clients seek to replace their personal injury attorney. Here are some things you should know about this process and how it is done.
STEP #1: Choose Wisely
Selecting your personal injury attorney is important. This person will be a part of your life for the next 8 months or more so make sure you get along with them. Don’t be persuaded or pressured to sign with anyone and make sure you feel good about your selection. So many firms post unrealistic multimillion dollar awards on their website to entice calls. It is important to make sure you chose the attorney you decide to work with for the right reasons.
If you feel like you made a bad decision, you can change your personal injury attorney. This process in California is relatively simple.
STEP #2: Changing Your Mind
Clients change their minds for a number of reasons. This can be because they are unhappy with the way the case is going, they don’t connect with their attorney or for any other reason. You have an at will right to change your attorney at any time and for any reason.
If you decide to change your attorney all you need to do is let your new attorney know of your decision. Your new personal injury attorney will send over the necessary paperwork to have him/her discharged and will request that all of your files be transferred to their office.
Under California law your former attorney has a duty to release and deliver all documents relating to your case. They are not allowed to hold hostage your documents and must release them to your newly appointed attorney.
After your new attorney has access to all records and files they will take over the file and begin working the case.
Will I Owe Money to My Former Attorney?
The answer is yes, but this is subject to negotiation. You are not permitted to not pay the attorney anything. In fact if the attorney spent a considerable amount of time on the file, then they can put what is known as a lien on the file. This will allow the attorney to essentially recover for the amount of time spent on your case.
Although this time is subject to negotiation and our attorneys can generally reduce any liens placed on the file. If you are considering changing your attorney for any reason contact Downtown L.A. Law for a free second opinion on your case. We will help evaluate your case and get you the settlement you deserve.