May 4, 2023

Can You Change Lawyers in a Personal Injury Case in New York City?

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

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When pursuing a personal injury claim, you want the best working to ensure a positive outcome. Unfortunately, not every partnership is a good fit. Little misunderstandings or bad interactions can sour the working relationship between lawyers and their clients.

Hiring an attorney is stressful enough, but what happens when they aren’t the right fit? Learn more about New York’s laws regarding changing lawyers during a case.

Getting a New Attorney

It is possible to hire a new attorney even if you’ve started a case with another attorney. Under New York law, it’s possible for a client or an attorney to request a change in counsel or to withdraw from the case. If an attorney dies during a case, the case will be suspended until that attorney can be replaced.

Getting a new attorney will not slow your case and shouldn’t cost you more money. Replacing your representation can be straightforward, but it might not be your first, or best, option.

Why Would I Want to Replace My Personal Injury Attorney?

There could be several reasons to replace your attorney. Put simply, working with an attorney is like other professional relationships. If they aren’t treating you with respect or delivering on your expectations, you’re justified in questioning the benefits you get from the partnership.

You may wonder if an attorney is right for you if they:

  • Are rude to you
  • Talk down to you
  • Are hard to contact or communicate with
  • Try upselling you beyond your contracted needs
  • Aren’t listening to your input during the case
  • Don’t know what they’re doing or are just generally unreliable

There could be other reasons a lawyer or law firm isn’t the right fit for you.

Should I Replace an Attorney as Soon as They Disagree With Me?

If you need to hire an attorney, your legal matter is serious, and you want someone dedicated to getting you the payout you deserve after someone’s negligent actions hurt you. Juggling recovery with creating a winning case is bound to be stressful.

In the legal world, there are hardly ever easy answers. Even the best personal injury attorney in New York City will need some direction to reach your desired outcome, and they might have a different idea of achieving that goal than what you have planned.

If your attorney suggests different options for your case, you should keep an open mind before finding a new lawyer. Their experience and background could mean they know what strategies could work in your situation. However, if problems persist or continue to grow, understand that finding an attorney who will work for you is critical.

Can My Attorney End Our Contract?

Yes. Sometimes the attorney is the one who decides they’re not a good fit for your case. They could have several reasons to end your contract, but they’ll need to inform you and give you time to find new representation.

How Do I Get New Representation?

Before you fire your current lawyer, ensure you’ve talked to them about your concerns. Sometimes these matters can be settled with a conversation to clear the air. If they can be reasoned with and your case can be back on track, then you shouldn’t have an issue.

However, if your attorney doesn’t see reason, you should prepare to find a new one. If you have decided new representation is in order, you might consider getting a new attorney lined up, so your case doesn’t languish.

Suppose you haven’t filed a personal injury claim yet. In that case, you can change attorneys simply by letting your current lawyer know with a termination letter outlining why you’re ending your relationship and requesting any materials connected to your case. That should be the end of it.

If your claim has already been filed, you will have a few more steps to complete before getting new counsel.

Consent to Change Counsel Forms

These forms are used to notify the court and the other party involved in your legal matter who you are being represented by so your case can continue. You will need to sign the form, and you’ll also need your former attorney’s signature. The court will notify all parties involved when you get new representation, looking something like this.

What Does it Cost to Change Lawyers?

Although there could be some court fees to file your change of attorney and notification documents, in most cases there might not be additional costs when you hire a new attorney. Most personal injury lawyers operate on a “contingency” fee basis, also known as a no-win, no-fee contract. You should discuss the matter with your attorney before you terminate your contract: you could be entitled to any remaining balance in your fund.

Will Changing Lawyers Slow Down My Case?

In most cases, if you have a new attorney ready to replace your current one, it shouldn’t slow your case down. You have the right to retain any material your former attorney created or obtained related to your case. You can request they send it to your new attorney within a reasonable time.

Find a Personal Injury Lawyer You Can Trust

At the end of the day, you want to successfully resolve your legal matter. Your legal representative should be someone who understands you’ve endured a traumatic experience, empathizes with your needs, and is ready to reach the best outcome possible.

The New York personal injury lawyers at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., have helped clients recover millions over the years. We understand that most people may be uncomfortable working with lawyers, but we know that the right attorney can make all the difference. Get the help you deserve in your personal injury case. Call (212) 490-5700 or use our online form to schedule your free initial consultation.