Being involved in a car accident can be a deeply unsettling experience. You may have suffered injuries, property damage, lost income, and emotional distress. It’s understandable to want to move on with your life as quickly as possible. That’s why hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer after an accident is so important – they handle the complicated legal process so you can focus on healing and getting back on your feet.
But what if, after you’ve entrusted your car accident case to a personal injury lawyer, they suddenly drop your case? This unfortunate situation leaves accident victims feeling abandoned, anxious about their options, and overwhelmed about what to do next.
If your personal injury lawyer has withdrawn from your car accident case, don’t panic. Here’s what you need to know and do next to get the justice you deserve.
Why Would My Lawyer Dropped My Car Accident Case?
There are a few possible reasons a personal injury attorney may decide to drop your case, including:
- Conflict of Interest – If it’s discovered that the lawyer has a connection to the defendant, insurance company, or another interest that conflicts with fully representing you, they will need to withdraw.
- Lack of Communication – Failure to return calls, provide documents when requested, or otherwise not cooperating with your lawyer may cause them to end the lawyer-client relationship.
- Unrealistic Expectations – If you are unwilling to listen to their expertise and have unrealistic ideas about settlement amounts, the lawyer may withdraw rather than file a fruitless lawsuit.
- Lack of Merit – If further investigation and discovery shows your case has little merit, an ethical lawyer will be honest with you about low chances of winning compensation.
- Failure to Pay Fees – Lawyers may stop work and withdraw if you fail to pay agreed-upon fees as required in a written retainer agreement.
- Misconduct – Extreme client behavior such as threats, hostility, violence, or illegal requests may require the lawyer to immediately withdraw.
So in summary, there are ethical, logistical, and legal reasons an attorney may decide or be forced to drop a car accident case after initially taking it on.
I Don’t Want My Lawyer to Drop My Case! What Can I Do?
If you receive notice that your lawyer plans to withdraw from your car accident case but you want them to continue pursuing it, don’t despair. There are steps you can take to get back on track:
- Communicate – Schedule a meeting and have an open, constructive discussion about any issues that may have caused them to want to step back from your case. Clearing the air may help move forward.
- Compromise – Be willing to find reasonable compromises and meet them halfway on any points of contention like fees or strategy approaches. Flexibility prevents worse outcomes.
- Get Organized – Show you’re willing to take initiative like gathering documents, creating timelines, researching options, etc. to address their concerns about cooperation.
- Commit to Staying Calm – Pledge to remain composed going forward, not make threats, respect their time, and demonstrate you can have a constructive working relationship.
- Get a Second Opinion – Offer to get a neutral second opinion on your case from another reputable attorney to double check its merits. This gesture shows good faith.
With a cool-headed, conciliatory approach, you may be able to change their mind about withdrawing. This smooths the path to you getting the personalized legal advocacy you want.
My Lawyer Has Officially Dropped My Case – What Now?
If your lawyer has formally withdrawn from your car accident case and will not reconsider, all is not lost. Here are the steps recommended to secure new representation and continue pursuing fair compensation:
- Gather Details – Compile copies of all documents, records, notes, and communications about your case from the withdrawing lawyer to provide to a new one. Also get clear on why exactly they withdrew.
- Act Quickly – Time is of the essence. Contact other personal injury law firms about taking your case as soon as possible so your legal rights are preserved.
- Ask Questions – Interview lawyers carefully about their experience with cases like yours, compensation philosophy, and what strategies they would use to build a strong case. Go with one you trust and connect with.
- Review Options – Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, taking a percentage of final settlement/award. Know upfront what fee structure options are available.
- Be Honest – Provide complete details about what happened with your former lawyer so new counsel is fully informed and knows what needs to be done moving forward.
6 Reasons a Lawyer Might Decide to Drop Your Car Accident Case
While the reasons for withdrawal can be complex, here are the top 6 most common specific scenarios:
1. Case Is Deemed Frivolous
After examining a case in depth, a lawyer may determine there is no strong factual or legal foundation for the claim. Continuing a frivolous lawsuit violates ethics rules.
2. Uncooperative Client Behavior
Not providing key information or documents when needed, failing to appear at meetings, and not properly communicating can derail a case.
3. Failing to Follow Legal Advice
If a client disregards the lawyer’s professional advice about settlement or refusing beneficial procedural options, the lawyer may withdraw.
4. Client Demands an Unethical Course of Action
Any demands that the lawyer engage in unethical conduct like hiding evidence, lying under oath, or filing fraudulent claims would lead them to immediately withdraw.
5. Non-Payment of Fees Per Agreement
Not paying legal fees, costs, and retainers according to the mutually-agreed retainer contract typically prompts legal counsel to stop work on a case.
6. Lawyer Determines They Lack Relevant Expertise
If a case requires specialized skills beyond the lawyer’s capabilities, they might withdraw so the client can work with legal counsel who has the right experience.
Could Dropping My Case Constitute Legal Malpractice?
Possibly. There are situations where a lawyer improperly withdrawing from representing a car accident client’s interests could potentially be grounds for a legal malpractice lawsuit:
- Withdrawing extremely close to a court date or filing deadline causing missed opportunities or dismissal
- Withdrawing from a strong, clearly meritorious case â€“ especially to take a higher paying case
- Failing to properly hand off the case with sufficient notice, records, or a transition process to new counsel
- Withdrawing at a critical juncture due to lawyer negligence like missing a key filing rather than case weaknesses
However, lawyers always have a duty to avoid frivolous litigation. Only if strong evidence shows the withdrawal clearly harmed otherwise positive legal outcomes could you potentially pursue compensation via a malpractice claim.
Takeaways – My Lawyer Dropped My Accident Case
- It’s deeply frustrating and worrisome when your personal injury lawyer suddenly drops your accident case, but all hope is not lost.
- Reasons for withdrawal can include ethics rules, case weaknesses, client behavior, or failures to pay fees, among others.
- Strive to communicate openly, find compromises, and get organized to potentially change their mind if you want them to stay on your case.
- If your lawyer won’t reconsider dropping your case, act quickly to find a replacement with relevant expertise who you can openly communicate with and trust.
- While rare, some scenarios like withdrawal close to key deadlines, from strong cases, or caused by lawyer negligence may warrant consulting another attorney about potential malpractice.
The experienced personal injury lawyers in our firm provide focused, compassionate legal guidance to car accident victims. If your lawyer has dropped your case, contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation. We will help determine your best options and fight to get you the maximum compensation allowed by law. Don’t go it alone – call us today!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Can I file a complaint against my lawyer if they drop my accident case?
A: You can file a complaint with the state bar association if your lawyer’s withdrawal violated rules of professional conduct. However, lawyers do have valid reasons to ethically withdraw from cases.
Q: Will any personal injury lawyer take my dropped case?
A: Most reputable personal injury attorneys are selective about cases and clients they take on. Thoroughly discuss the case history for complete transparency on issues impacting willingness to represent you.
Q: What will happen to my case if I can’t afford a new lawyer after my lawyer drops me?
A: Unfortunately your options will be much more limited without legal representation. You can try negotiating a settlement yourself or filing suit without counsel, but the odds of winning adequate compensation plummet.
Q: How much time do I have to find a new lawyer after my current lawyer drops my case?
A: This varies by jurisdiction, but you typically must secure new representation within 4-6 weeks to preserve your rights and meet notice deadlines. Act as quickly as possible.
Q: Can I get my legal fees back if my lawyer drops my personal injury case?
A: If they violated fee agreement terms or committed malpractice, you may recover fees. But for an allowed withdrawal there is usually no refund. Any unused portion held in trust must be returned.