In general, if an attorney representing a Defendant (or a group of Defendants) in a personal injury case is doing a poor job or not simply not getting the results the insurance company was hoping for, is it common or uncommon for the insurance company to replace Defendants' attorney with a different attorney?
Think of lawyers for insurance companies as employees of insurance companies, because they are!
There can be political issues, it can be a matter of caseload, or it can be a match up of the value of the case with the skills of that particular lawyer. Some "insurance defense" attorneys develop reputations of "always coming in below the offer" or getting juries to "never exceed the policy limits." Some work best with males, others with females, sometimes with certain judges, and sometimes they move firms and someone else must fill in. It's all part of it.
Now, the most important player if you are the plaintiff is your own lawyer so focus on that.
I don't know anything about your case, who the insurance company is, or anything else, but I can tell you this happens in some situations.
Good luck in your case!
Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
Liability insurers generally retain the right to control the defense. It is not usually cost effective to change lawyers midstream. There could have been a conflict. You can ask the old and new lawyers to explain why this happened. You can also retain personal counsel to monitor insurance defense counsel and coverage concerns but you'll likely need to pay that lawyer yourself.
Having worked for insurance companies for 25 years as "panel counsel" or "outside counsel," I can tell you that replacement of outside attorneys (those not directly employed by the insurer as ”staff counsel") mid-case is a very rare occurrence. The five main reasons, in my experience, are:
1. The assigned attorney is either performing poorly on the case or, more likely, is habitually late in reporting to the insurer. In this case, the insurer will likely reassign the case to another attorney in the same firm.
2. The value of the case has substantially increased, usually due to a change in the nature of the injury, and the insurer wants to assign a more experienced attorney to the case from either the same or a different firm.
3. The attorney/law firm handling the case subsequently develops a conflict of interest in representing the insured. In this case, the insurer faces sanctions and/damages if it does not promptly replace the attorney from another law firm.
4. Attorneys and their insurer/clients often “tender" their insured's defense to another insurer since the other insurer also owes coverage to the mutual insured. If the other insurer accepts the tender of defense and agrees to provide coverage thereby taking over the case, they will usually always want their own attorney to handle the remainder of the case, and a change in law firms will occur.
5. The last reason is somewhat similar to the first except the law firm, not necessarily a single attorney, falls out of favor with the insurance company and the insurer decides not to use the firm any longer.
Get free answers from experienced attorneys.
28,879 answers this week
2,953 attorneys answering
Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.Browse our legal dictionary