Changing Solicitors During Personal Injury Claims
You are entitled to change your solicitor during your personal injury claim.
Changing solicitors does come with some drawbacks which you should be aware of before you decide to make a switch.
Disclaimer: This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to make a personal injury claim. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a specialist personal injury claim solicitor for guidance on your specific circumstances.
Can I Change My Solicitor During A Personal Injury Claim?
Yes, of course you can change your solicitor during your personal injury claim. You’re the client, it’s your claim and you call the shots. But changing your personal injury solicitor is not always a pain-free process; it’s not something to be done lightly.
You’re not alone.
Let’s face it – as a profession, solicitors aren’t going to win awards for customer service any time soon.
People complain that:
- their solicitor doesn’t return calls quickly enough
- their questions aren’t answered properly
- they don’t feel like they are being kept informed
- each time they phone about their case, a different person is dealing with it
- their claim is taking too long
If you’re annoyed, it’s tempting to think about sacking your solicitor and transferring your personal injury claim to somebody else.
It is possible, but changing your solicitor in the middle of your personal injury claim is not always straightforward.
So before you say “you’re fired!”, here are a few points to consider:
- If you sack your solicitor, they are entitled to be paid for all the work they have carried out on your case so far. They can hold on to your file until you settle any outstanding bills.
- Are you funding your legal expenses yourself? If not, you will have to make sure that whoever is funding your case (e.g. legal aid, trade union, etc) approves of your new solicitor.
- The new solicitor will take some time to get up to speed with the details of your case (this will become a bigger issue the closer you get to a final hearing).
- There is no guarantee that the new solicitor will be an improvement on your current one.
Changing your personal injury solicitor – it’s not an easy decision to make.
It all boils down to the most important part of any solicitor-client relationship – trust.
Sometimes your problems are caused by a simple lack of communication. Although you’re frustrated, you still trust the solicitor to do a good job for you.
If that is the situation you find yourself in – you should get in touch with the solicitor. Explain what you’re unhappy about and tell them how they can improve.
Your solicitor won’t want to lose your business. Most of the time they will respond positively. Ironing out any difficulties in this way is the best outcome for everyone. But – what if the relationship with your solicitor has crumbled completely? What if you no longer trust that they are acting in your best interests?
Well, if you don’t trust your solicitor to get a good result for you anymore – that’s serious.
They will be handling negotiations that could have a lasting impact on your life.
If trust has broken down and you don’t think the relationship can be saved, you should move on.
And do so quickly – don’t wait around, because the longer you wait, the harder the transition will be. Make an appointment to see another personal injury solicitor now and see if you can transfer your claim.
Sometimes people are scared to tell their solicitor that they are taking their claim elsewhere. But avoiding an argument is no reason to stay with a solicitor you don’t trust.
If you decide to transfer your claim, you don’t have to tell your current solicitor yourself. Your new solicitor will contact the old one and handle the transfer for – you don’t have to speak to them if you don’t want to.
So don’t be worried!
Your personal injury claim is important. You should only give it to a solicitor who is willing to fight for the best outcome for you and your family.
The above article is part of our guide on how to make a personal injury claim in Northern Ireland.
If you are thinking about making a personal injury claim, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor who will help you assess the strength of your case.
If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch.
All the best,
The Team @ Lightlaw
Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.