FAQs About Changing Personal Injury Lawyers

As is the case with all relationships in life, some are good, and some are not so good. It is no different with attorney/client relationships. Some clients may be quite satisfied with their lawyer, while others may be frustrated with their current lawyer. They may be so frustrated that they even want to change lawyers.

For example, you may have been involved in a car accident. You hire a lawyer and discover the lawyer is not returning your phone calls, or seems to not be working very hard on your case.

Many people in this situation call us wanting to know if they are allowed to change lawyers. Here are answers to some FAQ’s about changing personal injury lawyers.

Yes. And you don’t even need a reason. This applies to all personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. The reason is because the attorney/client relationship is a contractual one. It is an agreement for services. But no party is ever required to stay in a contract. Therefore, the client can exit the contract at any time. The attorney can too, but if the case is in litigation, then the attorney will need permission from a judge to withdraw from the case.

Lawyers are strictly mandated by the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct to provide a client with a copy of her file upon request. If the lawyer refuses to provide the file, then that may give rise to an ethical violation that may subject the attorney to discipline.

This is a common question we get asked at our law office. Most lawyers place in their contingency fee agreements a paragraph regarding their rights in the event they are fired by the client. Generally, the attorney is allowed to collect quantum merit, or compensation for the reasonable value of the services he performed up until the time of termination. He can also collect the expenses he advanced into the case. This could be charges he paid to collect medical records, and other case expenses commonly associated with personal injury cases. Frequently when we take over a personal injury case from a prior lawyer, we give him 1/3 of the legal fee generated, plus their expenses.

Be sure to reach out to us if you have more questions about changing lawyers.