Can I switch my attorney during a slip and fall case? 34 Answers as of May 25, 2011

I currently have a slip and fall case. I spoke to the attorney's office and he sent a demand letter already without talking to me first and I do not agree with the price he is asking for. What do I do now?

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LT Pepper Law
LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
You can switch attorneys but you may be liable for the time he has spent on the case if a new lawyer settles the case. I would contact the attorney to discuss your concerns before hiring a new one.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 5/25/2011
Wilson & Hajek, LLC
Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
Work it out with current attorney, if not, move to another attorney with the understanding that the first attorney is due compensation for the work done so far on your case.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 5/23/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Talk to him to withdraw the demand before it is accepted (which it won't be). You may be able to work it out with that lawyer or terminate him if y'all can't get past it. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/20/2011
Cary J. Wintroub & Associates
Cary J. Wintroub & Associates | Sheldon J. Aberman
If you are unable to reach a mutual understanding with your present attorney concerning the value of your claim, you may obtain a substitute attorney to handle your claim.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 5/20/2011
Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky, P.A.
Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky, P.A. | Joseph Lipsky
As a client, you are free to retain whomever you desire to represent you. This means, you are free to change attorneys any time during your case. However, should you discharge an attorney without cause, that attorney will have what is known as a charging lien for his/her time and expended costs. Generally speaking, should a client change attorneys, the new attorney, at the conclusion of the case, will work out an agreement with the prior attorney to compensate them for their efforts.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/20/2011
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC | J. Todd Tenge
    You are always free to switch attorneys. However, you should have a frank discussion with your lawyer about your concerns. If you still believe you want to switch, then do so. Typically, "lawyer #2" will share his fee with lawyer #1, and the two lawyers will work it out between them. I tell you this so you don't think you would have to pay a contingency fee twice.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC | Sam L. Levine
    You need to speak to another attorney about your options. There is no downside to doing that & no obligation whatsoever. I am sorry that you are going through this. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    You can terminate him anytime. Read your contract and make sure you know what it says. If you have trouble with him you can report it to the bar. Slip and fall cases are not well thought of by anyone, judge or jury or insurance co so be careful you know what you are doing
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    You may not agree with the "price" that he is asking for, but you need to ask yourself this question: who has more experience in dealing with personal injury cases, and has more of an idea of what your type of injury will bring by way of a verdict than your attorney does, you or your lawyer? It has been my experience after doing this for 30 years that I have had quite a few clients who believe I have "undervalued" their claim, but I just remind them that they are not the ones who have been in the courthouse frequently, they have not been the ones who have heard the amounts of the verdicts, and they are not the ones who have checked with their colleagues and peers on what the value of their case is. There also is a service known as Jury Verdict Research, Inc., which is available to lawyers and which monitors verdicts around the country. Personally, I am on a listserve where when I send an e-mail to one e-mail address, it sends my e-mail out to about 100 personal injury trial lawyers around Central Florida, and I occasionally describe the nature of the liability, the medical bills and the injury my client has experienced and I get feedback from those lawyers on what they believe the value of the case might be. You don't have those things available to you to determine the value of your injury. The value of your case is not what you think it is, but what a reasonable verdict would be for your injuries. If I went shopping for a used Ferrari, I would have no idea what price to expect because I have no experience in the used Ferrari market. If there have been a dozen 2008 Ferraris which have sold for around $100,000, then I would be out of line expecting to be able to buy one for $50,000. If there have been several of the type of injury you suffered tried in your geographic area, and the verdicts (or settlements) have consistently been in the mid-6 figures (like $50,000) then if you believe your case is worth $100,000, then I would say you are being unreasonable. You have e-mailed this question because you want to know what to do. My advice is to make an appointment with your lawyer, and meet with him, and give him an opportunity to explain to you how he came up with the demand which he did in your case. If he says that it is based upon his experience, and he is an experienced personal injury lawyer, and if he says that he consulted with several of his colleagues or friends, and based upon that he came up with the number he did, then I think you should accept the value of his expertise and contacts. If he only says that was the number on the dartboard that the dart hit (and he'd be an idiot to say that) or something like that, then you have the right to discharge him and retain another attorney to represent you. If you do that, however, he probably has the right to assert a charging lien for the value of the services he provided you, which might end up costing you even more in the long run. Start with a face-to-face meeting with him (or her) and discuss why he believes your case is worth what you believe it's worth, but be prepared for the question he is going to ask you back: upon what research or discussions with others are you forming your opinion as to the value of your case? Good luck! And the old adage that good communication breeds good relationships applies to business relationships, as well.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A.
    Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A. | Lawrence A. Ramunno
    You can talk to your attorney about same. You can talk to another attorney. You can switch attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    West law Office
    West law Office | Russell West
    The attorney should have discussed the amount being asked for before sending in a settlement demand. Depending on your contract with the attorney you should be able to terminate the contract. However if the attorney has an offer on the table and you go to another attorney, at time of settlement the original attorney may be able to get his contingency fee based on the offer they had received from the insurance company. In addition, any costs the attorney has put up front for records, copies, postage, etc are subject to repayment.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    You have the right to change your attorney at any time. However, the attorney may have rights to lien your case for services rendered up to the time you discharge him. If you retain a new attorney, he or she should know how to handle the situation and would probably notify the insurance carrier right away that it was an unauthorized settlement demand. The new attorney should be able to tell you whether the prior attorneys offer was a reasonable one and if your idea of a settlement proposal is reasonable. The attorney should not make a demand without your prior approval unless you waived that right in your fee agreement. But that would be highly unusual.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    If you are unhappy with your accident attorney, you can discharge him or her and retain new counsel. It is important to detail why you are firing your lawyer as a discharge for cause affects the lawyer's ability to claim a portion of the recovery as his fee for work performed. I think it is good practice for a lawyer to keep a client informed of all case developments, including settlement efforts. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Slip and fall cases are very difficult cases. Oregon law favors the landowner or business over the injured party. Perhaps your attorney is trying to ask for a settlement that is a realistic figure. Injured parties have a very difficult time understanding that what they see on TV or hear about sensational cases are the exception and not the rule. This is especially true in slip and fall cases. I suggest you talk candidly with your attorney about expectations and realistic figures. He or she will talk to you and listen them, they probably have a little more experience in this area.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    The Kelly Law Firm, P.C.
    The Kelly Law Firm, P.C. | L. Todd Kelly
    Tell him, in writing, that you dont approve of the amount.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    Yes. You can switch attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Dont worry. They won't pay the demand anyway. You can get a new attorney anytime you wish.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    if you choose to hire other counsel that attorney will have to make arrangements with current counsel on the fee; but you may wish to tell your attorney to withdraw the offer and substitute a new one.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC
    Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC | Timothy G. Kearney
    You always have the right to switch attorneys, subject to a lien the current attorney may have for the work he/she has performed and any costs incurred. I would suggest that you first contact the attorney's office to discuss the demand figure.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC | Andrew F. Garruto
    Call your lawyer, ask for a meeting to discuss the value of your case, and take it from there.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    David Hoines Law
    David Hoines Law | David Hoines
    Sure, obtain a new lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Yes, of course you can switch lawyers at any stage in any case. As for not agreeing with what your attorney asked for on your behalf, if it was too little, then tell him/her so and have them increase it. If it was too high, then do the same thing. OR change attorneys and set the figure with them ahead of time. Also, please remember that all attorneys ask for more than they actually want because they know the insurance company is going to try to knock them down as much as possible, so they give themselves room to move when it comes time to negotiate. If it was too little, then that's a completely different thing and you have the right to remove the attorney at any time. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    You may have a case, based upon the information that you have supplied. We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation if you call my office at either of the numbers listed below. If my office accepts your case, there is no fee charged unless we are able to obtain a settlement for you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    You can always get another attorney. Talk with this attorney first to see if there is something to work out.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    You can always seek out new counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Law Office of Christopher F. Earley
    Law Office of Christopher F. Earley | Christopher Earley
    Yes, you may make the change if you want to.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    You can always switch; it doesn't affect your cut. I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle personal injury cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me if you wish to discuss your case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Van Sant & Slover LLC
    Van Sant & Slover LLC | David Van Sant
    You to immediately instruct your attorney to withdraw the demand if you do not agree with it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/19/2011
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
    You can switch your attorney at any time. However, you probably had to sign a contract for him/her to take the case. That may entitle your attorney to have a lien against any settlement should you recover something. I suggest you speak to your attorney and explain how you are dissatisfied. Hopefully you can work it out.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/19/2011
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