For some of you, there may arise a time when you think your workers’ compensation attorney is simply not up for the task. Be it the case taking too long or something as simple as a personality conflict or lack of trust, you may want to consider replacing your lawyer. You have every right to do so, but there could be some consequences to the case. Before pulling the trigger on such a drastic move, there a few things you may want to consider.
Considerations Before Firing Your Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
As stated above, you have every right to fire your attorney if you are not happy with him or her but know this is generally a major red flag for other attorneys. Whether you are completely justified or not, some attorneys may immediately consider you to be hard to work with, so it will be important to document the reasons as to why the change was needed.
Another reason it may be hard to find a new attorney is the reality that the case may not pay them as much, especially if most of the legwork has already been done by the previous attorney.
You should also consider that the reason you may be considering firing your attorney is not the attorney’s fault. For instance, if the case is hit with significant delays, this could just be the natural course of the case rather than anything the attorney did wrong.
Reasons to Consider Firing a Worker’s Compensation Lawyer
Here is a list of some of the most common reasons someone may want to fire his or her attorney:
- The case is taking too long
- Lack of communication
- Lack of experience
- Attorney “not working hard enough”
Taking Too Long
The sad reality of these cases is that they take time to process. For instance, something as simple as a request for medical records could take nearly two months to be fulfilled. Once the records are received, it could be several more months before you can see a specialist to evaluate the case. With just those two items, you could be looking at three to four months before the attorney can even start to make headway on the case. In most cases that “take too long,” it is just the process, not the attorney.
Lack of Communication
This is something that should have been worked out before an attorney was even hired. Who is directly responsible for providing updates to the case? In many cases, your direct point of contact will not even be the attorney but rather an assistant or paralegal that is assigned to the case. Before cutting off your attorney for this specific reason, make one more phone call to work out a direct point of contact to ensure the lines of communication are open and clear.
Lack of Experience
Workers’ compensation is a very specific niche of law and hiring a jack-of-all-trades attorney will generally not work out. If your current attorney is simply not grasping the intricacies of the case, by all means, look for a new attorney, and make this very clear during your search that this is the specific reason you are seeking a more experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
Not Working Hard Enough
Your attorney has to act aggressively on your behalf because this type of law is far from passive. Due to the natural delays of these types of cases, it is up to your attorney to keep the pedal to the floor at all times to ensure the machine is moving along at the proper pace. If you are not seeing steady progress, such as requests for medical updates, appointments, and follow up inquiries, you have every right to ask your attorney why this is not taking place.
What About the Fee?
Earlier, we mentioned that some attorneys may be hesitant to take a case that has already had someone else work on it, and that is because attorneys can only get a percentage of the benefits earned in the case, which is generally maxed out around 20 percent. If the case has multiple attorneys, that commission has to be split between them. How it is split will depend on how much time each attorney has spent on the case and exactly how much work he or she has done. That being the case, a case that is fairly well along will be difficult to reassign simply because the attorney will not want to make a small fraction of the fee he or she is usually accustomed to.
Are you unhappy with your current Workers’ Compensation Lawyer and considering hiring a new attorney? If so, please give us a call at 855-633-0888 to discuss your case. Your consultation is free of charge and you will be under no obligation to use our services for your inquiry. If you would like to learn more about our legal services before contacting us, please click here.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and Injury law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any injuries from vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice.