After several consultations all lawyers provided me with a contingency fee agreement and wanted me to sign it. I do not know whether the lawyer still can choose not to take the case after I sign the contingency fee agreement. If so, should I wait until the lawyer completes case evaluation after he collects all records? If he eventfully chooses not to take the case, I can go for the other contingency fee agreement. Is it correct?
Yes - a lawyer can stop his/her representation of a client, including yourself, even after the contingency agreement is signed. In turn, the contingency agreement also allows for you to end the particular attorney's representation regarding your case if you are not satisfied with the representation. The terms associated with terminating the representation should be contained within the contingency fee contract.
In Florida, once you have signed the contingency fee agreement you have three days to cancel the agreement in order to forego any attorney fees to the attorney. However, if YOU decide to terminate the relationship after the three days, the attorney can place an attorney's lien on your case for the work that the attorney complete on your behalf. In addition, if you hire a new attorney, your new attorney, more likely than not, will not share his fee with your old attorney. Therefore, you will be responsible for paying the percentage owed to your new counsel and the hourly fee to your old counsel. Of course, your prior attorney must provide an itemized bill regarding the hours and type of work performed.
If your attorney chooses to terminate the relationship, you are not responsible for attorney's fees. I wish you the best of luck in your choice.
DISCLAIMER - Any information provided is not legal advice. There is no attorney client relationship created in this group discussion. Do not rely on informal comminucation in this forum as legal advice. If you wish to obtain legal advice you should hire an attorney in your State. Olga Porven, P.A. practices in the area of Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Auto Accidents, Slip and Fall, Trucking Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, and Catastrophic Accidents - with a particular focus on Litigation.
You, as the client, have the choice to hire any licensed attorney of your choosing. If the attorney you first hire decides that your case is not worth pursuing after reviewing all your medical records and/or documents available to him/her, you have the right to hire a different attorney. Good luck.
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Yes the attorney can choose to terminate representation so long as it is within a reasonable time frame and does not prejudice your case. You also can terminate the relationship at your discretion and in fact can do so easier than the attorney. Choose someone you feel is trustworthy and move ahead. Good Luck
You can get a new lawyer this very minute if you so choose.
You can always decide to change lawyers. It is possible that a lawyer can evaluate a claim and then decide not to pursue the claim as long as you are not prejudiced as a result.
If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.
I agree that you have the right to choose anywhere you want. You need to feel comfortable with the attorney who is handling your case and confident that they will get the best resolution possible for you. You need to weigh practical considerations when choosing the attorney, those which you will have to determine yourself. The considerations could include how much experience the attorney has, how many clients the attorney has, the attorneys track record, how close they are to you, how much time s/he will devote to your case, your perception of the attorney's enthusiasm about your case, etc. Once you have picked a lawyer, I generally do not think it is a good idea to bounce around between attorneys. Each successive attorney will consider whether or not your case is worth pursuing and how difficult of a client you will be.
The other consideration is also whether or not the attorney has done work on the case. They will have a fee lien against the file for the work that they performed. This could reduce your overall recovery in a contingency fee arrangement. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you have a just recovery for your harms and losses.
Attorney David Snyder is licensed to practice in the State of New York where he operates the Snyder Law Firm located at 6876 Buckley Rd., Liverpool, NY with a web address of www.snyderlf.com and www.syracuseworkerscomp.com. Mr. Snyder’s answers are intended to assist legal consumers in obtaining the most accurate information possible and to find the most appropriate lawyer when necessary. In no way can any of his answers be construed as legal advice without being retained and having all relevant information available to him.
This is simply THE WORST possible way of handling a personal injury case that could be used.
First, no lawyer is going to bear the expense and effort of collecting up records and evidence FIRST and then evaluate the case at their expense, and then have you going from lawyer to lawyer to see who you like at that time. While this may seem like a good deal from a client perspective, absent a million dollar catastrophic level case, you would be expecting lawyers to shell out thousands of dollars of expense and legal effort for no value to them.
Second, perhaps the MOST important function a lawyer serves in a personal injury case, is the guidance, direction and problem solving associated with the initial phase of the case, well before any claim is made. This allows lawyers to keep you from giving bad recorded statements, making comments that can hurt your case, making sure you treat with doctors consistently and with the right doctors to get good evidence documenting your claim, to avoid insurance pitfalls like losing PIP benefits for not treating in 15 days or not having an EMC documented or not racking up liens that eat up settlements.
Finally, in segue to the last point, while you wait for the case to develop, and then decide to hire a lawyer at a later point, YOU will have to make all of the above decisions and dozens more that can literally tear a good case apart if mismanaged. These are things that lawyers CANNOT UNDO nor go back in time to prevent. I have seen more than one case in my 25 years as an injury lawyer where a client did something terrible thinking they could settle a claim themselves and then sought to hire lawyers to "fix" what happened. Two examples come to mind. In one I saw a client that lost a HUGE chunk of a $250,00.00 settlement because he tried to settle it on his own, and a judgement creditor swooped in and forced the insurance carrier to honor the judgment lien. The client was devastated when lawyer after lawyer told them they could not reverse the damage and that this could have all been avoided by some fairly simple means well known to lawyers. The second was a client that filed a small claims suit to get a judgment for his car repairs, thinking he'd hire a lawyer later to handle the injury claim which was likely over $100,000.00, only to learn that in getting the default judgment for the car, he waived his injury claim.
Do yourself a favor don't be pennywise and pound foolish. Hire an injury lawyer immediately as it will likely save you lots of grief.
If the issue is you expect a lawyer to take the case and not decide later to withdraw for some reason or other, there is NOTHING you can do to make the happen as lawyer always have this option, and whether they decide to do so will revolve around a huge variety of legal and financial issues that cannot be accounted for in advance. The closest way to minimize a lawyer not choosing to drop an injury case after taking it on initially is to pay the lawyer a cost retainer and his services at an hourly rate, as this will eliminate the biggest issue with contingent fees, the risk of not getting paid for the legal work performed.
Responses provided represent entirely un-researched, casual opinions and cannot be relied upon in any way or manner as legal advice. No communication here is intended to establish an attorney-client relationship.
I suggest that you speak with an attorney you are comfortable with and sign the contingency fee agreement, assuming you agree to the terms. This will officially authorize your attorney to act on your behalf. You will also need to sign various consent forms to allow your lawyer, as your representatives, to receive your confidential wage and medical information, etc.. You or the attorney will need to pay for the cost of these records. The attorney will feel much more comfortable knowing that you have signed and that he is not doing a lot of work or spending his money not knowing what your intentions are. You can always fire your attorney, if that becomes necessary. Similarly, your attorney has the ability to discontinue your representation as well. This protects both sides.
Legal Disclaimer: If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
You have the right to terminate your attorney. With that said, they may retain a lien on your settlement should they expend any costs in your cases. Good luck.
For any lawyer to act on your behalf a retainer agreement must be signed. Also For an attorney to be willing to spend money of your case he/she will want to know that the terms of the retainer have been agreed to. I view contingency agreements to be the best because you both have a stake in the outcome. In other words you're on the same team.
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