If you hired a lawyer you trusted to represent you, and changed your mind but weren’t sure what to do about it, you are certainly not alone. There are endless reasons why people wish they had hired a different attorney for their personal injury case. However, at Buttafuoco & Associates, we’ve noticed that many individuals are hesitant to switch attorneys.
In this article, we’ll answer the most common questions we see regarding changing Northern New Jersey personal injury attorneys during a case and what that means for your attorney client relationship.
Why do clients change lawyers during a case?
Some of the most common reasons we’ve seen clients change their personal injury lawyer in Northern New Jersey include:
- Lack of experience in the case area: You want an attorney who specializes in the area of the law relevant to your case. Even in a simple case, that additional knowledge and experience can mean a huge difference between the ultimate dollar amount of your settlement. If your current lawyer or firm doesn’t have specialization in the practice area of your case, you may consider changing attorneys.
- Poor communication: If your attorney isn’t returning your calls or responding to your emails, this is a problem. If an attorney doesn’t have the time to communicate with you promptly or clearly, this is a clear indicator that you should look for other representation.
- Poor Professionalism: Personal injury cases have strict rules and deadlines; if your attorney cannot adhere to these, it does not bode well for your case. Furthermore, if an attorney is unable or unwilling to fully explain the details of the law in your case, this shows a lack of professionalism.
- Poor performance: If you dislike your attorney’s strategy in pursuing your case, or they’re attempting to pressure you into a low settlement, you might want to question your attorney’s performance. Even if you just don’t think the attorney can get the job done, it may be worth considering switching attorneys, or at least consulting with another attorney for a second opinion.
When can I switch lawyers? Will it delay my case?
You have the right to change representation during any part of the process before the case goes to trial, and it will not delay your case. To do so, contact and secure a new attorney as soon as possible. At Buttafuoco & Associates, we recommend looking at an attorney’s experience in the case area, testimonials from past clients, and seeking recommendations from trusted family and friends. If the case has been filed, the new attorney will need to file a “substitution of attorney.”
It’s a simple and common process.
If your case has already gone to trial or the trial date has been scheduled, changing legal representation is more complicated.
In these cases, changing attorneys can delay the case, so any new counsel must be approved by the judge. This is so that individuals cannot avoid trial by constantly switching attorneys. Statements must be submitted assuring that the change will not cause any delay in the case.
If you are in this position, Buttafuoco & Associates may be able to explain your rights during a free consultation.
Will changing counsel increase my attorney fee?
Many clients are worried that if they change attorneys, they’ll have to pay additional, exorbitant legal fees. However, in most cases, this is a misconception, and any reputable firm wouldn’t do this. If you change attorneys after a case is underway, the new lawyer and the old lawyer will negotiate splitting the originally agreed-upon fee to reflect the work already done by the first attorney.
In other words, no money will come out of your share of the settlement.
The right lawyer makes all of the difference. If you’re ready to make the switch, call 1-800-NOW-HURT to see if Buttafuoco & Associates is the right firm for your personal injury case. Remember, you only have one chance to get the results that you deserve.