Can You Fire Your Personal Injury Lawyer?

When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you hope to have a great working relationship that ultimately results in your compensation. What can you do if you’re not happy with your lawyer? Can you fire your personal injury lawyer? Maybe they’re not communicating with you the way they should. Maybe they’re not taking reasonable steps to advance your litigation. Or maybe they’re going against your wishes.

You can fire your personal injury lawyer at any time by telling them and having them submit withdrawal of representation paperwork to the court. If you fire your injury lawyer for good cause, you may be free from your representation agreement without owing them anything. However, it’s possible that your contingency fee agreement will still apply, and the court may refuse to delay proceedings for new counsel.

Should You Fire Your Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you’re unhappy with your personal injury lawyer, it may be right to fire them. If your lawyer is incompetent, if they’re not doing the job well, or if they’re not communicating with you, firing them may be necessary. However, it’s not a decision that you should make lightly. There may be challenges associated with replacing your legal counsel that may impact your case.

Are you unhappy with your personal injury lawyer?

You should know:

  • You may fire your lawyer at any time.
  • Even though you can fire your injury lawyer, whether or not you should depends on the circumstances.
  • If you fire your lawyer, you have a right to your client’s file and property.
  • Even if the lawyer is upset that you fired them, they must help mitigate the consequences. That means providing files to a new lawyer. (The lawyer may impose a retaining lien, as allowed by law.)
  • You may still owe the lawyer a percentage of your recovery if you signed a contingency fee agreement. It depends on whether you fired them for a good cause, how much work has been done, and any agreements reached regarding the fee.
  • The court probably won’t delay proceedings, especially if your trial date is near. Make sure your new counsel will have time to prepare.

Another lawyer may hesitate to become involved, not wanting a dispute about legal fees. And if you agree to pay another contingency fee, it may seriously impact your final recovery.

Firing your injury lawyer may be the right move – and it may seriously jeopardize your case. If you’d like to talk to a lawyer about your rights and options, contact Jordan Law Center for a review of your specific situation.

South Carolina Rules for Firing a Lawyer

Rule 1.16 of the South Carolina attorney Rules of Professional Conduct state that a lawyer must withdraw from representation of a client if they are discharged. In other words, if you fire your lawyer, they must accept it. In addition, a lawyer may choose to withdraw if certain conditions are present, as stated in Rule 1.16(b).

How do you fire your lawyer in South Carolina?

To fire your lawyer in South Carolina, notify them that you no longer want them to be your lawyer. It’s best to inform them in writing. The lawyer will submit a court motion to withdraw as counsel or a substitution of counsel depending on whether or not you have another attorney to take over representation.

The Rules of Professional Conduct recommend that the client and lawyer prepare a written statement explaining the circumstances of the withdrawal if there is a chance for future disputes, like a dispute about fees. The court will sign an order withdrawing representation or ordering relief of counsel.

Does a client have the right to change attorneys?

A client always has the right to change attorneys. They may hire the attorney of their choice, and they may fire them. Your attorney can’t stop you from changing attorneys, but they may still seek to enforce their fee agreement. In addition, the court isn’t likely to delay proceedings if your trial date is near.

How do legal fees work if you fire your lawyer?

If you fire your lawyer, you have the right to return advance payments of fees or expenses that have not been earned or incurred. If you paid a nonrefundable retainer, the lawyer may keep it, if it was reasonable. But personal injury lawyers often work on contingency, so how does that work if you’re not happy with your legal representation?

Do you have to pay for a personal injury attorney if you fire them?

Maybe. Whether you must pay for a personal injury attorney depends on the type of fee agreement you have and the reason you fire them. If you have an hourly agreement, you pay them for the work they have done up until that time. With a contingency fee, whether you still must pay depends on whether the firing is for just cause, the terms of the contingency agreement, and other factors. Firing an attorney is ending a contract between you and the attorney, and disputes about fees will be handled as a contract dispute.

How does someone get a replacement if they fire their lawyer?

If you fire your lawyer, you get a replacement in the same way you hired your first lawyer. You contact a lawyer and ask for a consultation. If the lawyer agrees to represent you, they will take over the case right where your last lawyer left off.

Can you fire your lawyer if they are court appointed in a criminal case?

An exception to the ability to fire your lawyer is if they are court appointed in a criminal case. When your counsel has been appointed at public expense, the court may refuse to appoint another lawyer.

Speak to an Attorney at Jordan Law Center about Changing Lawyers

If you’re unhappy with your personal injury lawyer, it may be possible to change lawyers. However, be careful – it’s not always the right decision, and you should make the decision being fully aware of the pros and cons. Contact us at Jordan Law Center to talk about your situation. Free initial consultations are available online and over the phone at 864-808-1810.

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