Can You Fire Your Personal Injury Attorney?

When you have been injured in an accident due to another’s negligence, retaining a personal injury attorney is crucial to ensure fair compensation. However, in Tampa, Florida, you do have the option to fire your personal injury attorney if you believe they are not providing you with the proper representation or performing to your expectations. It is understandable to want to know if you can fire your personal injury attorney and what options you have for continuing to seek damages for your injury claim.

A gavel sitting on top of a book labeled personal injury.

Reasons You May Consider Letting Your Attorney Go

There are many different reasons why you might want to consider letting your attorney go and finding a different one, including:

  • Lack of confidence in your attorney: If you are not confident in your attorney’s abilities to obtain a favorable settlement or they do not have the experience needed for your case, then it may be time to let them go
  • Disagreement on case issues: If your personal injury lawyer is not listening to what you want and you are constantly in disagreement, it may be worthwhile to let them go. For instance, you received a settlement offer you deemed fair, but your lawyer wants to go to trial.
  • Poor communications: If you are not being kept current as to the status of your claim, or your attorney is not responding to emails, text messages, or voicemails, it may be time for a change. However, before firing them, request a meeting to attempt to clear up any misunderstandings.
  • Unsure about your attorney’s ethics: If you have concerns about your attorney’s integrity, honesty, or ethical behavior, it may be a red flag to consider letting them go
  • Missed deadlines: If your attorney constantly misses deadlines or fails to keep you informed about important dates and timelines, it could negatively impact the progress of your case and potentially harm your chances for a successful resolution

Steps to Fire Your Personal Injury Attorney

Should you decide to terminate the relationship with your personal injury attorney, it is important to follow these specific steps:

  • Review the contract: Before taking any action to fire your attorney, carefully review the terms of your representation agreement. Pay attention to clauses related to termination, fees, and any potential consequences of ending the relationship early.
  • Terminate the attorney-client relationship in writing: Provide written notice to your attorney that you are terminating their services. Clearly state the reasons for termination and cite any relevant causes, such as ethics concerns, ineffective counsel, or missed deadlines.
  • Request copies of your client file and invoices: Upon terminating the attorney-client relationship, request copies of all documents in your case file held by your current attorney and inquire about outstanding invoices or billing statements that need to be settled
  • Hire a new attorney: It is important to promptly secure new legal representation after firing your previous attorney to ensure continuity in handling your personal injury case effectively
  • Notify the court: If there are ongoing court proceedings related to your personal injury case, inform the court about changing legal representation by submitting a formal notification or updating official records with details of your new lawyer’s contact information

Do I Have to Pay an Attorney After I Have Fired Them?

If you have decided to fire your attorney, you are still required to pay for the legal services rendered up until the termination of the attorney-client relationship. The terms and conditions regarding payment should be outlined in the initial representation agreement you signed with your attorney.

Most personal injury attorneys bill clients on a contingency basis, meaning they collect a percentage of the settlement as their fee. So, if you fire your first attorney and hire another when your case is settled, then the money is usually split between both lawyers.

What will most likely occur is that the first lawyer will file a quantum meruit, which is a lawyer’s lien that secures their right to receive their fee for the work they completed on your case once it settles. Once the second lawyer settles the case, they will pay the lien out of the money they collect as their fee.

When Should I Look for a New Personal Injury Attorney?

You should start looking for a new personal injury attorney as soon as you have decided to fire your current one. There are statutes of limitations, filing deadlines, response deadlines, and other such time-sensitive communications that still need to occur to keep your case moving along.

It is important to let the new attorney know your reasons for terminating your other lawyer and your concerns. This can be beneficial when they decide whether to accept your case or not. Additionally, depending on the reasons, you might have grounds for legal malpractice.

If You Need Assistance With Your Case, Give Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys a Call

A personal injury attorney working on paperwork and using a gavel as they talk to a client.

If you need assistance with your personal injury case, do not hesitate to call Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, in Tampa, Florida. Our experienced team is here to help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Let us advocate for your rights so you can focus on healing and recovering from your injuries.


FLA. STAT. § 95.11(4).

McDuffey, T. (2024). Sample Retainer and Contingency Agreement for an Injury Case.

Settlement Versus Trial. (2023).

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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