Can I hire a different attorney than the one I have representing me now in an auto accident? 32 Answers as of April 24, 2013

I was in an auto accident in July 2012. The other driver was 79 yrs old and turned right in front of me. I couldn’t stop. It was totally her fault and I have witnesses. The insurance company is trying to deny my case. My lawyer said he will let me know IF we are going to litigate. I lost everything due to this accident and my attorney couldn’t care less. There is no way I can lose this case and I want a lawyer that will fight for me. Can I get a new lawyer?

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Lapin Law Offices
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
Yes you can hire a different attorney than the one you currently have representing you. You are free to discharge your attorney for any reason you want and either hire a new attorney or represent yourself. If a lawsuit is on file, your first attorney would have to ask the judge to be permitted to withdraw from your case. Judges in civil cases routinely grant this request especially if you have a new attorney. Depending on the fee agreement you signed with your current attorney he or she may be entitled to be reimbursed his or her costs and expenses as well as fee based on the time spent working on your case.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 1/16/2013
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
Before replacing you current attorney, I would seek a second opinion to determine for you whether or not your displeasure with your current attorney is warranted.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/11/2012
Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C.
Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. | Jonathan Safran
Your current lawyer will first have to decide whether to continue representing you in litigation. If he chooses not to, I assume he will agree to relinquish any claim for his attorney fees or costs. Otherwise, Wisconsin law allows any client to change attorneys, for any reason. If you choose to change attorneys, and if there is a contingency fee retainer agreement which you signed, your attorney may still have a right to his contractual attorney fees, contingent on a future recovery by you, if another attorney takes over the case from your current attorney, if it is decided that you violated the contract by changing attorneys. You should probably discuss that issue with potential future attorneys before deciding to leave your current attorney.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 12/10/2012
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
You can always retain a new attorney. However, depending on the fee agreement, you will have to pay your current attorney for his services.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 12/10/2012
Barr, Murman & Tonelli, P.A.
Barr, Murman & Tonelli, P.A. | Daniel P. Mitchell
Yes. You may always discharge your attorney and retain new counsel.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 12/10/2012
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Yes, you can fire your lawyer. Think twice before you do, because the insurance company may see you as a flake.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/10/2012
    Law Offices of Philip S. Setrakian | Philip S. Setrakian
    Yes...You will have to get your entire file pay him for his services until you fire him and hire a new atty...If your damages are substantial and you have serious permanent injuries I will consider looking at the file.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/9/2012
    Law Offices of Mark West
    Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
    Yes. You have a right to change your attorney at any time. Your current attorney may have the right to make a claim against any recovery you get for the reasonable value of his services rendered to date. Is there a police report?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/9/2012
    M.R. Parker Law
    M.R. Parker Law | Michael Parker
    At any point during representation you can drop your lawyer if you are unhappy with them. Just be aware that the lawyer will then likely have a lien against your case for the hours that they put in to it. However, if your attorney "drops" your case, then you no longer have to pay him anything if you end up hiring other counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/9/2012
    Pearson & Associates
    Pearson & Associates | Gary Pearson
    You can always get a new lawyer. Old lawyer can if he wants file a lien for his time spent on the case. That will come out of the new lawyers fee so client does not pay twice.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 12/9/2012
    Paul Levin | Paul Levin
    Changing attorneys is permissible in the State of Connecticut. What has to occur is for you to meet with an attorney that you are comfortable with proceeding with and he or she will have you execute appropriate documentation with instructions to have the file immediately transferred.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 12/9/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/24/2013
    John Russo | John Russo
    No one can assure you that you will prevail in your matter, no matter how much in the right you believe you are. Yes you can retain a new attorney, and your old attorney will place a lien on your file which they are 110% entitled to do. Just because you and your witness believe you are right does not mean you are, also what does the person age have to do with liability. Your logic is flawed, if you claim that the person in front of you stopped suddenly, and you could not stop and hit them does that mean it was their fault? So without more facts just because you claim somebody turned and you could stop is not proof that they were at fault.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 12/9/2012
    Law Offices of Stanley S. Lopata
    Law Offices of Stanley S. Lopata | Stan Lopata
    You can always change attorneys. However, it may be other problems in your case like the amount of insurance available, the insurance company (some insurance companies are just plain nasty about settling a case), etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/9/2012
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    Yes you can. You have control. You can retain a new attorney and ask that your file me transferred to the new attorney. But carefully read the retainer agreement you signed with your present attorney before doing so. You will probably be responsible for any out of pocket expenses the attorney may have incurred on your behalf (e.g., costs of obtaining medical records). Additionally, most retainer agreements provide that if you terminate your attorney, your attorney will be entitled to a lien against your eventual recovery for the reasonable time already expended on your case. So if you want to change attorneys, the sooner the better.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/9/2012
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Yes. You can change attorneys at any time.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 12/9/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Yes you can get a new lawyer with no additional cost to you. You should have an aggressive attorney that you are comfortable with.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 12/9/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 4/24/2013
    Citrin Law Firm, P.C. | Robert Hedge
    Your employment contract with an attorney is considered sever able with or without cause, with limited exceptions. If a dispute arises between the client and the attorney, either party may terminate the attorney client relationship. The terms of the employment contract as to payment for services rendered will typically control, and there are special rules as it relates to contingency fee contracts. Our firm has both a pre-lit department, as well as a litigation department, so we are very familiar with the concept of trying to settle a case early, but only if that is in the client's best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    You can get a new lawyer any time you want to. Just fire the old one.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Maurice L. Abarr  Lawyer, Inc.
    Maurice L. Abarr Lawyer, Inc. | Maurice L. Abarr
    Of course you can discharge your current lawyer and either represent yourself (not advisable) or retain new counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Arkady Itkin
    Arkady Itkin | Arkady Itkin
    As a consumer you always have the right to switch attorneys. Your representation agreement should mention that as well. The only issue is that your prior attorney might have a lien on the fees earned by the next attorney, so if the prior attorney did a lot of work, he will expect a larger % of the fees from the next attorney's share, which might make it more difficult to find an attorney to represent you. If it's not an issue, and your current attorney isn't expecting too much from the case, then you should feel free consult with and retain other attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    Depending on the terms and conditions of the agreement with your attorney you do have the right to dismissed that attorney and retain other counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Lewis B. Kaplan | Lewis B. Kaplan
    Yes. Your obligations, if any, upon hiring a new lawyer will be spelled out in any written contract you have with your old lawyer. Any new lawyer you want to hire would want to see that contract .
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    Of course you can. Your lawyer works for you like anyone else you hire. You can hire/fire anyone anytime.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Blaske & Blaske, P.L.C.
    Blaske & Blaske, P.L.C. | John F. Turck IV
    Yes, of course. You vote with your feet by going out and finding and hiring another lawyer. Do it right away, however.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt & Smith | Nathaniel B. Smith
    Yes. However, depending upon the status of the case and the terms of your fee agreement, you may owe something to the attorney. It is often times best to work toward better communications with the existing attorney, however, if you and your attorney have reached irreconcilable differences, you have the right to terminate his services. Ethically, a new attorney cannot accept your case until you fire your current attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    SHAPIRO LAW GROUP | ERIC L. SHAPIRO
    Absolutely. Give our office a call and we will be happy to give you a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC | Paul Schroeder
    You are always free to fire your attorney and hire a new one. However, your first attorney may have a claim for fees and costs incurred while representing you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM | I.Donald Weissman
    Yes. You may change lawyers if you want to. S
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Pearson, Butler, & Carson, PLLC
    Pearson, Butler, & Carson, PLLC | Matthew R. Kober
    Yes. Once you hire an attorney, you are not obligated to stay with him until the end of the case. You can always discharge your attorney if you are not satisfied. The attorney has a right to attach a lien to your case for the amount of work already performed but he/she may or may not do that. You can always talk to your attorney and explain why you are unhappy and he may be more inclined not to attach a lien if he/she knows it could lead to a bar complaint.is strictly prohibited.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Ackley Law Group, PLLC
    Ackley Law Group, PLLC | Andrew N. Ackley
    You can hire a new attorney, though your old attorney may demand a portion of the eventual fee in the case, and reimbursement for costs. This is typically negotiated between your old lawyer and your new lawyer. Often times the old lawyer will not bother to assert a right to a portion of the fee. This stuff relates to how the fee is split only, and should not impact your bottom line in a settlement or judgment.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/7/2012
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