Can You Fire Your Workers’ Comp Attorney?
Filing a workers’ compensation claim after being injured on the job can be a stressful, complicated experience. However, you can fire your workers’ comp lawyer at any time if they are not providing the level of service and representation you expect.
Regardless of where the case is in the processing of the claim, you are under no obligation to continue using a lawyer providing unsatisfactory service or representation. It is crucial, however, to explore all considerations before deciding to fire your workers’ comp attorney.
When Should You Fire Your Workers’ Comp Attorney?
Many workers’ compensation claims are clear, quick, and easy. A lawyer is generally not needed when all parties agree. When the extent of your injury is questioned or long-term care expenses are disputed, you need a qualified attorney with experience in workers’ compensation law to get you the settlement you deserve.
Several reasons to hire a workers’ compensation attorney may include:
- The insurance company is being uncooperative.
- You have a pre-existing medical condition.
- Your employer has rejected or denied the claim.
- You are currently receiving government benefits.
- You need legal representation for a workers’ compensation hearing.
You can fire your workers’ comp lawyer if they do not return your calls, show a lack of in-depth knowledge, or fail to make meaningful progress in your case. Firing your workers’ comp attorney is a serious move that puts all parties in an awkward, uncomfortable position. Still, it is better to move on than stick with a lawyer that does not represent your best interests.
The following are examples of common reasons that you may elect to fire your attorney.
Lack of Communication
There should always be a free-flowing stream of communication between you and your attorney. A lawyer who will not return your calls or fails to promptly provide answers to your questions shows that they are not as invested in your case as they need to be to represent you fully and properly.
Lack of Workers’ Compensation Law Knowledge
Workers’ compensation is a legal specialty that requires a unique set of skills and experience that not every attorney possesses. A lawyer who cannot smoothly navigate the complicated process for workers’ comp cases will be unable to get you the best possible settlement amount or case outcome.
Lack of Progress
Cases involving workers’ compensation claims take time and are often bogged down by paperwork and insurance company delays. Even in the most complex cases, your attorney should be able to provide you with status updates to monitor your claim’s progress.
Keep in mind that while lack of progress over time is a valid reason for firing your attorney, the legal system can be slow. Switching lawyers in the middle of a case may cause further delays.
Your Case Is Taking Too Long
Law offices are busy places, and lawyers will often take on heavy caseloads. If the case is taking longer than a few weeks to a month to settle, your attorney is likely not prioritizing you as a client worthy of their time and effort. If your case is not progressing as quickly as it should, you are within your rights to fire your workers’ comp attorney and find one that will give your case the attention it deserves.
Steps to Take Before Firing Your Workers’ Comp Attorney
Firing your attorney in the middle of a claim can be risky. Missed deadlines or procedural steps will impact your ability to get the largest possible settlement or the best deal. Following these steps before figuring out if you can fire your workers’ comp attorney will ensure proper representation throughout the process.
Find a New Workers’ Comp Attorney
It is important not to fire your current attorney until you have found a suitable replacement for your case. Choose candidates carefully and be prepared when you meet with a new attorney for a consultation, which is typically free. This is your opportunity to find out as much as you can about their experience with similar claims and whether they are the right fit for you and your case.
Negotiate a Fee Agreement
A fee agreement details who pays for out-of-pocket costs for your case. When negotiating a fee agreement with your new lawyer, a written contract needs to stipulate that the new attorney is responsible for paying the fired lawyer from the contingency fee.
Request Your Case File
After retaining your new attorney, their first task is to communicate with your previous lawyer to stop them from working on your case. Even if your former attorney is notified by phone or in-person, a confirmation email or letter will confirm the request and provide a written record.
How Do I Fire My Workers’ Comp Attorney?
Ending a relationship with your workers’ comp attorney can be unpleasant, but you need to do what is in your best interests to receive the fairest settlement for your case. Once you have a new lawyer to represent you in your case, your case file will need forwarding to your new attorney. You may be required to sign a release to have your files forwarded to your new attorney.
Firing Your Workers’ Comp Attorney
If you are entitled to receive compensation for expenses associated with a work-related injury, your attorney is hired to process the claim on your behalf and represent you throughout the process. A lawyer that is not actively pursuing your case or lacks workers’ compensation claim experience is unable to get the type of outcome you deserve. If you are not satisfied with your current representation, you can fire your workers’ comp attorney and find one that is a better fit and secures the best settlement for your case.
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