Firing a lawyer?

by admin on October 16, 2010

I hired a workman’s compensation lawyer at the end of January early February.
A little over year ago i had hernia surgery do a work injury.
Back in January, i had the flu and was in bed when a cough re activated the hernia.
I went to see the doctor because, during the surgery last year i devolved an infection
I ended up in the hospital for ten days after the surgery. Anyway The doctor said because of the infection the plastic whatever you call it to hold the hernia back. Didn’t hold because of the infection it made the tissue weak , and i was told this is not uncommon.
The Insurance company said no to the surgery so i hired a lawyer. They filed a suit. We had court about 2 months ago the Insurance company said they wanted me checked out by their doctor. And would said an appointment within ten days. I still to this date 6/22/07 have not had the checkup. Their lawyer said it was do to the claims adjuster. My lawyer has done nothing that i can tell even though they said we would go back to court.
Question Can i fire my attorney? and would another law firm take a Case once it has been open?
In regards to the person who was nice and posted a answer.
I wanted to add, that this case was started in Jan. So i believe that there is reason to be upset with my attorney.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Judge October 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I know that this sounds frustrating but it is not unusual for a case like this to drag along. In fact, 2 months is not very long in the scheme of things. However, the specific answer to your question is this: Of course you can discharge your lawyer at any time and cannot be forced to stay with the same one. There might be some consequences of the discharge – if the lawyer took the case on a contingent fee, he or she might be entitled to some sort of compensation for time spent and costs. Contingent fee lawyers take cases like this in the hope that there will be a settlement or judgment in which they can share (say 33% or so) but, until that time, they are not paid although they spend time on the case. If the lawyer took the case strictly on an hourly basis, you can discharge him or her but will have to pay for time spent until the discharge.

Another lawyer or firm will take your case if they believe there is a reasonable liklihood of success and the probability of a sizeable recovery. I would say it’s still a little too early to jump ship. Sometimes claims adjusters do take a long time to arrange meetings. On the other hand, it wouldn’t hurt for you to send your lawyer a certified letter detailing what has happened (or not happened) thus far and asking for a written status report. If the delay is your lawyer’s fault, this should shake the trees.

Jill M October 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm

You could ring a "no win no fee" law firm that handles workcover matters (since your original injury sounds like it was work matter)…like Slater and Gordon, who may take over your case after speaking with them by phone.
Or search on the internet for no win no fee lawyers. If you fire a solicitor (even if they are no win no fee lawyers) they sometimes wont release any of your file unless you pay them your bill, but if they havent done anything much then you dont need your file you could just start again after telephoning a new solicitor and telling them youre not happy with the company you have . (There is also the possibility that your old solicitor may release your file to the new solicitor, it just depends on how much in reports and other things that they have already spent on you I guess).
The new solicitor usually sends a letter to the old lawyer telling them they are now acting for you and then writes to the insurance company as well telling them the same.
If you ring the Law Institute of Victoria (or in the Law Institute in your state), they can also give you advice on ‘professional standards’ if you believe your solicitor has not acted properly for you.
Good luck

Rubyjewel October 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Yep, you can! But, it’ll take a while to get another attorney. If you’re not ready to wait, I suggest you’d put up with yours

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