In Texas, you have the right to change lawyers in the middle of a personal injury case. While minor disagreements with your attorney are not usually a threat, serious conflicts could affect the outcome of your case.
If you struggle to communicate with your lawyer or do not like your current attorney’s strategy for your case, you may want to discuss your case with another lawyer or change lawyers altogether. For representation for your Houston personal injury case, contact D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ today.
What will Happen if I Change Lawyers in the Middle of a Personal Injury Case?
In most cases, your best bet is to clearly communicate your issues with your current attorney. Often, you can reach an acceptable agreement without changing lawyers. Occasionally, switching attorneys is necessary.
When you change lawyers, the Rules of Professional Conduct protect your best interests by holding your previous lawyer to a high standard, including upholding all tenets of the attorney-client relationship (per the Texas Bar). A lawyer who fails to uphold this standard may face sanctions or even lose their license.
As a part of these rules of conduct, your attorney must turn over all documents related to your case. Your new lawyer can request your file and handle this process. Most attorneys work together to make this process easier, although some may make it more difficult to obtain your case file than others.
How will My Attorney’s Payment Change if I Change in the Middle of the Case?
In many cases, attorneys handle personal injury claims without requiring upfront costs. This means your attorney pays all upfront costs and subtracts their expenses from your settlement award. You receive the remaining portion.
When you change attorneys, your new lawyer will need to pay your original attorney before sending you a settlement check. In some cases, your new lawyer may be able to negotiate a lower payment with your first attorney. You will need to discuss this with your lawyer to understand how much you can expect to pay.
How Could Changing Attorneys Affect My Case?
Changing lawyers once you are well into a personal injury case may delay proceedings. This is because your new lawyer will need time to review your case, conduct any remaining research, and understand any motions your previous attorney already filed. This could also mean paying out extra for your attorney and staff to catch up on what already happened in your case.
However, it is also paramount that you have an attorney who understands your priorities and preferences and respects your wishes. If you cannot get a satisfactory response after having a frank conversation with your lawyer about your concerns, it may be time to make a change.
Common Reasons People Change Lawyers During Their Case
Finding and hiring a lawyer to manage an injury case is a personal decision, and so is the kind of lawyer a person decides to hire. People switch attorneys for many reasons, and they can at any time. If they feel like something isn’t sitting well with them, they may begin to have second thoughts and decide to change their lawyer at any phase of their case.
Any of the following can make someone change their mind about their lawyer:
- The lawyer is hard to get a hold of or does not return calls, emails, or texts.
- The attorney’s attention span is stretched thin, possibly from having many clients.
- The lawyer doesn’t seem like they are devoting enough time to the case.
- The case seems like it is not moving as quickly or as smoothly as planned.
- The case strategy the lawyer has decided to use isn’t as effective.
These are just a few reasons people decide to change attorneys in the middle of their case. What’s important is that the client feels comfortable and that they can trust their attorney to represent them and their interests appropriately and fairly. If matters can’t seem to be worked out, then it is time to seek legal counsel elsewhere.
Other Considerations when Changing Lawyers Mid-Case
While you can change your lawyer in the middle of your case, keep in mind there may be some consequences for doing so. The new attorney you hire will need time to become familiar with your case and the laws it involves. This can delay your case’s timeline, which means you will have to wait longer before learning if you will receive a settlement agreement or court award, depending on how your case is resolved.
You also may be required to pay the attorney you are parting ways with for the work they have already done. This will be an additional bill on top of the costs you may have to pay your new lawyer. So, changing lawyers can add to your costs. If you can manage your expectations, possible time delays, and the possibility of additional costs, then changing your attorney mid-case could work for you.
How Can I get a Free Consultation with D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™?
You can reach the legal team at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ today by calling (713) 850-8600. We offer free case evaluations to our clients in Houston and the surrounding cities.