Can I Change My Personal Injury Lawyer? personal injury law with gavel

They say you can’t choose your family or who you fall in love with. But you can choose most other things, and that includes your Orange County personal injury lawyer.

And if you choose the wrong personal injury lawyer, you may find at some point during your case that you are unhappy with the legal representation they are providing you. That may leave you wondering: Can I change my personal injury lawyer?

Your current attorney might not like it very much, but in most cases, you absolutely can change your personal injury lawyer. 

In this blog post, the Case Barnett Law team explores changing personal injury attorneys, reasons to do so, how to find the right lawyer, and more. Read on to learn more, or reach out to Case Barnett Law to schedule a free consultation with a trusted attorney.

The Answer Is Almost Always Yes

Let’s not hide the headline here: In almost every case, it is possible to change your personal injury lawyer.

You don’t even have to say why you want to change your attorney. There’s no requirement that you have a reason for switching attorneys that sounds good on paper. You can switch lawyers at your discretion and for any reason you like.

Of course, there are some exceptions to that general rule. But the point remains: If you’re wanting to switch attorneys, you probably can.

When You Can’t Change Your Personal Injury Lawyer

Your right to choose your attorney is extremely broad, but it doesn’t cover every possible scenario. To be clear, these cases are rare, but sometimes, you may be unable to change your personal injury lawyer.

For example, if you are trying to switch personal injury lawyers in the final stages of your case, the court may not allow you to do so because a switch could cause delays. This is meant to keep people from using an attorney swap as a tactic to get more time in an active case.

With that said, it is still possible to switch lawyers late in a personal injury case. However, the earlier in the process you decide to switch, the more likely you are to be able to switch attorneys.

Another case where you may not be able to switch attorneys involves conflicts of interest. Attorneys are not allowed to take on cases in which they have a conflict of interest. So, if you are trying to switch to a different attorney, but that attorney, for instance, is a family friend of the person you are suing, the attorney would not be able to take your case.

Conflicts of interest can apply to plaintiffs, defendants, judges, and more. This is a serious rule that lawyers are professionally bound to follow. 

Of course, not all attorneys will have a conflict of interest involving your case. So, you may not be able to switch to the exact attorney you want in some cases, but you can always switch to another personal injury lawyer who does not have a conflict of interest.

Reasons Clients Choose New Personal Injury Attorneys

Let’s make something clear: You don’t have to give a reason for changing your personal injury lawyer. You can change lawyers based on a feeling you have in your gut — even a dream you have. It’s up to you.

However, there are some pretty common reasons people want to switch attorneys during personal injury cases. Here are some examples:

  • You and your attorney disagree on how best to approach the case.
  • Your attorney has died, become disabled, or been disbarred.
  • Your attorney is not communicating well with you.
  • Your attorney is telling you to accept a settlement that is unacceptably low.
  • You feel like your attorney is not giving your case enough attention.

These are not the only reasons why you might want to change your personal injury attorney, but they are some of the most common. Remember: If you have any doubt about your attorney, it’s worth exploring your options. After all, this case is likely your only shot at recovering full compensation for your injuries.

How to Find the Right Attorney

Maybe you know you aren’t happy with your current lawyer, but you’re not sure how to proceed. That’s actually pretty common. And while your choice of attorney is yours alone, there are some guideposts to keep in mind as you search for a new attorney.

First, there are some complicated legal things that need to happen in order for you to officially switch attorneys. However, an attorney who really wants your case will do those things for you. You shouldn’t have to worry about complicated court filings while you’re just trying to recover from your injuries.

Second, remember that every case is unique. In some cases, it’s going to be incredibly important that you do not have a gap in your representation, meaning you should find a new attorney before you fire your old one. In other cases, you might need to get rid of your current attorney as fast as possible. This all depends on the unique details of your case, and no one but you can make these decisions.

As you’re looking for a new personal injury lawyer, one of the most important things to keep in mind is what you didn’t like about your old attorney. If your past lawyer was pressuring you to settle your case for less rather than going to court to pursue full compensation, you will probably want a lawyer who isn’t afraid of going to court. 

Ask any attorney you are considering whether they will meet the standards that your previous lawyer did not, and ask them to prove it.

Case Barnett Law Is Here for You

Not only is your choice of attorney yours to make, but it’s also incredibly important. The personal injury lawyer you choose can make or break your case, which is why this is not a decision you should take lightly.

Take your time, do your research, and proceed cautiously. Interview attorneys to make sure they’re the right fit for what you’re looking for. Ask plenty of questions. And don’t be afraid to hurt someone’s feelings — this is your case and your life. In many cases, you only get this one shot to recover compensation.

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law