Are You Allowed to Switch Lawyers After You File Suit in Norfolk, Virginia?

Nobody wants to get hurt in a car accident. Even if it’s a minor crash, you still have to get checked out at the hospital. You’ll also need to find a way to get your car fixed. Once you’ve taken care of that, you have one more important decision to make. If your car insurance claim isn’t paid, or isn’t paid in full, you may need to hire a Norfolk car accident lawyer. They’re the ones who can get you the compensation you deserve. They’ll negotiate with the insurance company. If need be, they’ll suit on your behalf. The problem is, if you don’t choose the right attorney, you may be unhappy with the result. A lot of clients ask if they’re allowed to change attorneys halfway through the lawsuit. The answer is, for the most part, yes. However, you want to be aware of the consequences should you decide to do that. 

What Should You Look for When Hiring a Norfolk Car Accident Lawyer?

If you want to avoid ever having to switch attorneys, make sure you do your homework. Before you retain a Norfolk car accident lawyer, there are certain things you want to do. If you make the right selection the first time around, you won’t have to worry about changing lawyers a few months down the line.

Some of the things you should do prior to hiring a Norfolk car accident lawyer include:

  • Look to see if the attorney specializes in car accident cases
  • Look to see if there are client reviews on the lawyer’s website
  • Check with the Virginia Bar Association to see if there is a record of any complaints
  • Talk to people you know and see if they have heard good things about the Norfolk car accident lawyer you’re considering hiring
  • Do a google search and see if there are any new stories about your prospective lawyer

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to call and schedule your free, initial consultation. When you meet with your Norfolk car accident lawyer, you’ll get a better feel for their personality, attitude, and work ethic.

Why Would You Want to Switch Lawyers in the Middle of Your Case?

Of course, even if you’ve done your homework, you could still choose the wrong attorney. Maybe the lawyer you hire has too many cases going on at the moment. Or perhaps they’re going through a personal crisis, and you don’t feel they’re handling your cases properly. Hopefully, nothing serious has happened. If your attorney misses a court appearance or turns down a settlement without asking you for your opinion, you have a bigger problem. Not only should you then consider getting a new Norfolk car accident lawyer, but you may also have to report their behavior to the bar association. 

Switching Norfolk Car Accident Lawyers Midway Through Your Lawsuit Can Be Costly

Technically, if you don’t feel your attorney is doing their job, you can switch attorneys. You can contact our office, explain your situation, and schedule a consultation. However, if you do decide to switch lawyers, there could be negative consequences. This could be any or all of the following:

  • You may have to pay your previous attorney an hourly rate for any work they did
  • Your new attorney will have to do a lot of catch-up work which will eventually cost you more money
  • You take the risk that your new attorney won’t have ample time to prepare your case
  • If you are too far along in your case, the judge may actually deny your request

Ultimately, you can’t be forced to keep an attorney that you feel isn’t doing a good job. As long as the judge allows it, you have every right to change attorneys. You just have to do so with your eyes wide open. 

The Choice is Ultimately Yours

You do need to communicate your intentions to your old attorney. They will have to sign a substitution of attorney form and submit it to the court. Your new car accident lawyer in Norfolk, VA will have to sign off on this form as well. This form will be submitted to the judge, so they know what the situation is.

Contact an Experienced Norfolk Car Accident Lawyer Right Away

If you find that your current Norfolk car accident lawyer is not meeting your expectations, it may be time to look for a new attorney. Make sure you are diligent and try to work things out with your first attorney first. Either way, you can always contact our office and schedule your free initial consultation.

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