Having a good relationship with your lawyer is very important, particularly when they are advocating for you for compensation after a life-altering injury. If you find yourself in a situation where you no longer trust your lawyer, are having difficulty communicating with them, or feel as if they are not acting in your best interests, you are within your rights to seek other legal representation.
If you have signed a ‘no win no fee’ agreement for a personal injury claim but wish to change lawyers in the middle of the claim it should be very simple to do and at very little cost or no cost at all. Here’s how it’s done.
Does it cost anything to change lawyers?
Most personal injury lawyers act on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, which means that the lawyer is paid only if a successful claim for compensation is made. Of this payment, they will receive a portion for their work.
The ‘no win no fee’ agreement you signed with your first lawyer usually contains what is known as a ‘Conditional Costs Agreement’. This agreement states that you do not pay any legal costs until your claim has been finalised.
As you do not typically pay any fees upfront for a ‘no win no fee’ arrangement, the cost of changing lawyers will usually only be for an initial consultation with your new lawyer if they do not offer a free initial consultation, plus any fees that the new lawyer bills you for the time they need to spend reviewing your file and familiarising themselves with your case. This fee will vary depending on how far along you are with the claims process and how complex your matter is.
Despite potentially owing to the old and new lawyer fees, you will only be liable for these fees if you are successful in seeking compensation for your personal injury claim.
How do I pay my old lawyer’s fees if I can’t afford it?
Many claimants are short on funds until they are successful in pursuing compensation for their injury. If you owe your old lawyer money for work they did before you decided to change lawyers, you are able to make a written undertaking stating that you will pay them for work done up to the point when you had the file transferred, but only in the event that you are successful in your claim.
This is essentially a promise that you will pay them for the completed work once you have been awarded compensation.
Your old lawyer is allowed to withhold your file from the new lawyer unless you provide them with this written undertaking but under a ‘no win no fee' arrangement they cannot demand payment of their fees unless and until you have successfully pursued your claim.
In the event that you are unsuccessful or decide not to pursue the claim any longer, the ‘no win no fee’ rule will safeguard you from being liable for legal fees, even in instances where you have changed lawyers.
How do I go about changing lawyers?
The process for changing lawyers is very straightforward.
Firstly, you should decide on which lawyer will be taking carriage of your claim.
Secondly, you will need to sign a document that authorises the new lawyer to take over the matter from your old lawyer. This authority asserts that you are no longer a client of your old lawyer.
If you are unhappy with your current personal injury lawyer and would like to seek advice from an experienced lawyer to finalise your claim, speak to our personal injury lawyers today.