Can You Fire Your Personal Injury Attorney in Connecticut?

Female client disappointed with her personal injury lawyer.

If you feel like you’re having frequent disagreements with your Connecticut personal injury lawyer or they aren’t providing the level of service you need, you can fire them. You’re under no obligation to work with them for the duration of your case.

However, this is also not a decision you should take lightly. There may be valid reasons to fire your attorney, but doing so can also negatively affect your personal injury case. Before you end your working relationship, it’s important to ensure you’ve thoroughly evaluated the situation, weighed the pros and cons, and have a clear path forward.

What Are Some Reasons to Fire Your Personal Injury Attorney?

If you’ve been injured and are pursuing compensation for your losses, you need an attorney who empathizes with you and has both an ability and a desire to fight on your behalf. Most injured people don’t have a pre-existing relationship with a personal injury law firm, which means they need to find legal representation quickly and don’t always know what they’re looking for in an attorney.

Unfortunately, even if you feel like you properly vetted your lawyer, you may discover you have concerns as your case proceeds. Here are some of the most common reasons people fire their attorneys:

  • The attorney wasn’t communicating clearly, often enough, or in a timely fashion.
  • They didn’t feel like the attorney was putting enough energy and attention into their case.
  • They were worried about how much the attorney’s services were going to cost.
  • The attorney’s personality didn’t mesh well with their own.
  • They had concerns about the attorney’s ethics.
  • The attorney missed critical deadlines with the court.
  • There was general disagreement between them regarding the direction of the case.

Depending on the overall quality of service your personal injury lawyer is providing, you may feel like you can overlook some of these concerns. But if you’re dealing with various problems with your attorney or they’ve done something particularly wrong, it’s natural to consider whether you’d be better off firing them and going with a different lawyer.

Is It a Good Idea to Fire Your Attorney Late in the Case?

Deciding to fire your attorney late in the legal process can have some drawbacks, mainly on the financial side. If your case is approaching a settlement and you fire your personal injury lawyer, they may be able to claim their full legal fee. Your new attorney will also need to be paid, meaning you’ll likely receive a smaller portion of your settlement than you would have if you’d stuck with your first attorney. Switching attorneys late in the case can also create delays and drag out your case.

What Are Some Negative Sides to Firing Your Personal Injury Attorney?

In addition to being on the hook for certain fees, there are some other possible side effects associated with firing your personal injury lawyer. For starters, your new attorney will be less familiar with the specifics of your case. It will take time for them to become fully acquainted with the details.

As your new lawyer is getting up to speed, the progression of the case itself may lose momentum, depending on how much progress your original attorney was able to make. If you’re worried about how long your case is taking, switching lawyers deep into your legal process is not likely to make the process go any faster – unless you think your attorney is the problem.

Can the Court Prevent You from Firing Your Attorney?

Generally speaking, the court will allow you to fire your attorney at any time. However, doing so when your court date is fast approaching may be frowned upon if the court suspects you’re trying to delay your trial. You should consider whether firing your Connecticut personal injury attorney is worth making a negative impression on the court.

What Are Some Steps to Take When Firing a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Before firing your attorney, there are several steps you’ll want to take to be sure you’re approaching the process correctly. Most importantly, you’ll want to have a new attorney lined up who has experience handling personal injury cases.

Once you’ve selected a new lawyer, they should send a termination notice to your former attorney, asking them to forward all documentation.

It’s also essential to make sure you review the contract you signed with your original attorney to be sure there aren’t additional steps they require you to take. Your new lawyer should be able to help with this step.

Can Your New Attorney Send the Old Attorney Their Termination Notice?

You must notify your former attorney of their termination in writing. You can either send them a letter yourself or have your new personal injury attorney handle this step on your behalf. This is another advantage of having a new attorney in place before you fire the old one. They can write and send this important letter and ensure the process is handled appropriately.

Will You Have to Pay the Lawyer You Are Firing?

Unless they did something illegal or unethical, you may still have to pay your former attorney. If they were working for you on a contingency basis, their payment will still come out of any compensation you might receive. Attorney payments will ultimately be split between your two attorneys based on how long they worked on your personal injury claim. You may be subject to additional fees per the terms of your contract.

Contact a Connecticut Personal Injury Lawyer

Are you in the process of a personal injury claim but fear your current attorney isn’t up to the challenge? If so, you have options. A Connecticut personal injury attorney with Jainchill & Beckert, LLC will meet with you to discuss your situation, explain your rights, review your legal options, and help you decide if switching attorneys might help the outcome of your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Author Bill Beckert

For over three decades, Bill has dedicated his career to helping injury victims throughout Connecticut secure justice and accountability for injuries sustained at little to no fault of their own. In all cases, he places the best interest of his clients above all else. Describing the services we provide here at the firm, he explains, “We are fighters who work to ensure that our clients are informed and empowered so that we can achieve an outcome that provides peace of mind.”

After graduating from the University of Connecticut in 1989, he then earned his law degree in 1993 from the Western New England University School of Law. Since then, he has striven to make sure every client who steps into his office gets the high-quality representation and undivided attention they deserve. In recognition of his work, Bill has been listed in The National Trial Lawyers Top 100.