Will I have to pay attorney fees if I no long want my personal injury lawyer? - Accident Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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Will I have to pay attorney fees if I no long want my personal injury lawyer?

My attorney has been extremely rude to me on my case. He has been working on it since November but hasn’t done anything. I wrote a letter stressing my wishes to not be represented by him anymore. Will I still have to pay his fees?

Answer By Josh Lamborn
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
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What you have to pay your attorney depends on your contract with him or her. Usually, lawyers that work on a contingency fee basis include a provision in their contract that account for situation where they are "fired" by their client. This provision usually provides that if any money is awarded to the plaintiff in resolution of the case that the attorney worked on the lawyer is to receive a share consistent with the time they have spent on the case. If you fire your attorney right before the case settles then I would expect that you would have to pay the attorney the entire bargained for amount in the contract. If the attorney only worked a few hours on the case prior to being let go then it should be consistent with time worked on the case. If another attorney is hired and takes the case to completion there should be a pro-rata accounting of the attorney fee based on the hours spent on the case. If you do get money and your lawyer has worked on the case they will likely file a lien on the award if the case has been filed with the court. If not the insurance company is likely to cooperate with the attorney in making sure the attorney gets paid.

Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/1/2011

The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
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If you could truly prove that he has done nothing you could get a new attorney w/o worrying about the present attorney making a claim. However, I am sure your present attorney will claim to have done some work on your case and that the is therefore entitled to a lien on your recovery. You should contact a new attorney and if you like this new attorney and the new attorney likes you and your case a lot, the new attorney will take over the case and promise to pay the former's attorney's fees out of whatever fee the new attorney earns.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 7/30/2011

Answer By Thomas Bulman
Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
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It depends on what your contract says and whether your attorney has accomplished something. The first thing your new attorney should do is contact the first attorney and see what, if anything, he/she claims is owed.

Answer Applies to: Montana
Replied: 7/29/2011

Law Offices of Earl K. Straight
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You have every right to fire your attorney, but that does not release you from the employment contract you signed when you hired him. He may or may not place a lien on your settlement proceeds for payment of his fees, meaning when you settle your case his name will be on the check as an additional payee. The only way to avoid this is getting a letter from him not only stating that he no longer represents you, but also that he does not have any liens upon your claim. Sometimes an attorney will be willing to waive his lien in exchange for a referral fee from your new attorney as payment for services performed to date. Most attorneys dont want a disgruntled client and are willing to work with you to reach an amicable solution. You may need to sit down with your attorney to discuss the situation and hopefully reach an agreement.

Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 7/29/2011

Answer By Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman
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You must agree to pay him for the reasonable value of his services out of the eventual recovery. He will work it out with your new attorney.

Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/29/2011

Judnich Law Office
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Everything depends on the fee agreement you signed. However, in most states, attorneys are entitled to the work that they have performed on your claim.

Answer Applies to: Montana
Replied: 7/29/2011

Answer By Gregory Casale
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
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Your lawyer will be entitled to either 1) compensation for the amount of time he has put into your case to date, or 2) a third of the last settlement offer on the case, if there has been one made. It really shouldn't effect you though in the long run. The new attorney that you hire will have to deduct whatever amount is due to the first attorney from his portion of the settlement. So in effect, you will still end up with two thirds of the final settlement and the first and second lawyers will have to split the one third due them. You should not let this issue influence your decision as to who represents you. However, I usually advise clients who approach me who are unhappy with their initial counsel to discuss their concerns with their attorney to see if they can mend the relationship. I would imagine that the lawyer may have done more work than is apparent to the client. Often times with PI cases it seems as nothing is being done when in fact either it actually is being worked or the attorney is waiting for the client to complete treatment, since no demand can actually be made until the client has completely finished treatment. Speak to your attorney and voice your concerns. If you are still unsatisfied there is no reason not to seek new counsel with whom you can feel comfortable.

Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 7/29/2011

Answer By Richard Goolsby
Goolsby Law Office
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We recommend that you review your retainer agreement and talk with your own attorney to see if you can resolve your issues. Good luck.

Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 7/29/2011

Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
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This depends on your written fee agreement. The agreement probably provides that the attorney will be paid. You can pay him when you resolve your claim.

Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/28/2011

Answer By Dan Woska
A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C.
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In all likelihood your current attorney knows and is aware that he has a lien on your case for work performed. The point is this, if you fire him he will still be able to make a claim for fees whenever the case concludes. As far as how much he gets paid out of the fee, it will depend on proof and evidence of what he did for you compared to the work of the attorney who actually caused you to win. "Direct threats require decisive action."

Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 7/28/2011

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