Canceling a Retainer Agreement in a personal injury auto case

Asked over 1 year ago - Watsonville, CA

This might be a sensitive issue for attorney to field . I am not trying to not pay my attorney only how much to pay my attorney . My attorney withdrew from my case at my request after writing 2 letters in a four month time frame . He did send me the file with nothing but pages I had sent him and the two one page letters . He did agree via email that he would adjust his fee for what work he had done before his withdrawal . In his withdrawal letter to the insurance he included a lien without any percentage or fee amount . I anticipate settlement this week . How should I proceed ? I do want to pay what is reasonable but not 3 original retainer before withdrawal and agreement to reduce fee . This is not a large case . Soft tissue injury ant totaled car . I am not getting response from communicate

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Michael Raymond Daymude

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you retained a new attorney to settle your case, that attorney should be negotiating the fee with your prior attorney. If not, and if you discharged your attorney without cause, the attorney is entitled to a reasonable fee which may be the full agreed contingency fee.

    The insurance company will issue a joint check. Unless you and your attorney can agree on the amount of his fee, the disputed portion of the settlement should be put into an attorney trust account pending resolution through fee arbitration or otherwise.

    Once you have a settlement with the carrier and a check in hand, call the attorney. You and the attorney will have to come to some agreement for you to be able to negotiate the settlement draft.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for... more
  2. Paul J Molinaro

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The State Bar of California allows attorneys to charge a reasonable fee. What constitutes reasonable is an issue of much discussion and dispute - the reason retainer agreements are written and designed to head off any misunderstandings. In the case of the 1/3 contingent personal injury matter, many retainer agreements set forth that should the client terminate the relationship, the attorney will be compensated for time and costs at a certain rate or at an amount calculated to reflect said attorney's contribution and influence on the ultimate outcome of the case.

    Of course, disagreements can arise between a disgruntled client and a rejected lawyer, and that is why local county bar associations offer fee dispute arbitration.

    - Paul

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
    Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
    Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
    980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
    Corona, CA 92879
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    ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito... more
  3. George Costas Andriotis

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your previous attorney is under no obligation to communicate with you as he is no longer your attorney. He/she will communicate with the insurance company with regard to a lien which should be for time spent in addition to any costs. Though there were only two one-page letters written I'm sure the attorney also investigated the incident, sent out representation letters, etc.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at www.serviceandjustice.com.
  4. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Get another attorney who can negotiate down the lien, and maximize your settlement. Find a lawyer with a low contingency fee, less than 30%, so you get the lion’s share of the settlement, not your lawyer. Thus, don’t get hurt twice by paying a huge fee. Good luck.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

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