Can I Fire My Attorney? If So, What Happens Next?
In Florida, you are able to terminate your attorney-client relationship and essential ‘fire’ your attorney. If the client believes their attorney isn’t representing them to the best of his or her ability and not providing them with proper communication about their case, they may decide to terminate the relationship. However, there are a few factors to consider before making that decision.
Statue of Limitations
A statute of limitations puts a time limit on cases. You can lose your rights in a case if it isn’t settled within the time limit. For personal injury cases, and many other types of lawsuits, The Florida Statute Section 95.11 sets the time limit of four years from the day of the accident. For medical malpractice and wrongful death cases, the limit is two years. Every case is different in the time it takes to reach a proper settlement, and having to find a new attorney and re-doing a portion of the process will prolong the case with the statute of limitation still approaching.
Even though a client decides to ‘fire’ their attorney, a contract was still made, and doing so will terminate the contract as well. So, in Florida, the attorney is entitled to compensation if the client is the one to discontinue the agreement. The attorney that is fired is entitled to an hourly fee if they can prove how much time they spent on the case. The client won’t owe the compensation right away, though. It will be considered an “attorney lien,” which still is based on contingency that their case will reach a settlement. If the new attorney is able to get the client a settlement, the attorney lien to pay the fired attorney will come out of that amount, lowering what the client will be able to receive from it after all the reimbursements.
The most occurring reason why clients contemplate firing their attorney’s is because they are upset with their settlement offers. It’s important to keep in mind that the initial offers from the insurance companies are typically very low, most of the time lower than your total medical bills, your attorney should be able to negotiate and get you an offer that will properly compensate you, so it’s best to be patient. However, if you truly feel that your attorney isn’t getting them to raise their offers, you do have the right to ‘fire’ them. Every offer is different for each case, but if your attorney’s professional opinion is that your case isn’t strong enough to get the large amount of money you were expecting, your new attorney will most likely tell you the same thing.
If you are contemplating firing your attorney, it is always recommended to seek a second opinion from another attorney. At the Law Office of Andrew G. Rosenberg, P.A we are dedicated to making sure you are one hundred percent satisfied with our representation.