If you or a loved one has suffered a motorcycle accident, you know how important it is to hold the liable party accountable. A motorcycle accident lawyer in Houston or San Antonio can help you recover the money you need to pay for medical expenses and compensate for lost wages. With so much at stake, what should you do if you feel that the lawyer you chose isn’t doing a good job?
Is It Legal to Change Lawyers in a Personal Injury Case?
Yes. In Texas, you can legally change lawyers, even if you are in the middle of a case. Unless a judge specifically prohibits the switch (which rarely occurs), the process of getting a new lawyer is fairly straightforward. When you are dealing with something as serious as a motorcycle accident, it usually pays to find new representation if your current lawyer if coming up short.
What Reason Do You Need to Give?
When you decide to change motorcycle accident lawyers, you do not need to give a specific reason. That said, some of the most common reasons for changing lawyers include:
Lack of Communication Skills
Motorcycle accidents are complicated incidents involving many factors. You and your lawyer will need to talk about road conditions, how the accident occurred, where it happened, and how your injuries affected your life. A good lawyer should be able to ask the right questions and take the time to thoroughly consider your answers.
Additionally, the legal system is complicated. Your motorcycle accident lawyer is responsible for clearly explaining:
- Which aspects of the crash you can leverage for your argument
- How to file your claim
- What legal protocols you must follow
- How to handle communications with the insurance company
- How a jury would likely respond to your case if you went to trial
- How to anticipate the defense’s counter arguments
- How to evaluate your options if you are offered a settlement
The Lawyer Is Unreachable
Even if your lawyer is great at communicating, his or her communication skills won’t help your case unless you can get in touch with him or her directly. Personal injury claims are time-sensitive, and it is important for you to be able to reach your lawyer anytime something important comes up.
If you find yourself calling the firm constantly, only to get handed off to someone who is not your lawyer, you might want to consider hiring a new motorcycle accident lawyer. An lawyer who does not respond to emails or messages personally probably doesn’t have enough time to live up to his or her promises.
An Unprofessional Demeanor
In addition to understanding the law and crafting effective strategies, lawyers need to demonstrate poise and professionalism at all times. If you notice any sloppiness in your lawyer’s work, such as typos or forgetfulness, you should consider how your lawyer will likely appear when communicating with a judge or a representative from the insurance company.
The Lawyer Is Rushing Your Case
Lawyers are bound by professional standards to act in the best interests of their clients. However, you might find that your lawyer is urging you to accept a settlement offer that is too low or that he or she refuses to take your case to court.
Some lawyers find that it is more profitable to resolve claims quickly by encouraging their clients to settle for less money than their cases merit. If you feel that your motorcycle accident lawyer is giving you advice that benefits the firm more than you, it could be time to switch.
The Importance of Working With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you are considering getting a new lawyer, you should be sure to find someone who has successfully handled motorcycle accident claims in the past. A lawyer might wow you during the free consultation, only to show later on that he or she lacks relevant experience.
Lawyers are allowed to practice in multiple areas, which can yield good results as long as those areas are related. However, Jack-of-all-trade lawyers and people who are fresh out of law school often lack the nuance to take on challenging cases.
Motorcycle Claims Are Different From Other Motor Vehicle Claims
Representing people and families who have experienced motorcycle accidents requires a specific skill set. Motorcycle crashes typically involve more serious injuries than other accidents. Additionally, your lawyer will need to address the stigma against riding motorcycles that can often bias a court against the motorcyclist. Therefore, it is important for you to choose a lawyer who has experience with motorcycle claims, specifically.
Your Lawyer Needs to Demonstrate Causation
Causation refers to the connection between the liable party’s negligence and the injuries you sustained in the accident. In order to help you win compensation, your motorcycle accident lawyer will need to prove that the other driver was more than 50% responsible for the crash. To do so, your lawyer might argue that the other driver:
- Was speeding
- Ran a red light
- Changed lanes without signaling
- Was intoxicated
- Was distracted (i.e. by texting)
- Was fatigued
- Failed to keep his or her vehicle in safe operating condition
Does It Cost Money to Change Lawyers?
There is no financial penalty associated with getting a new lawyer. Personal injury lawyers usually work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they receive a percentage of the payout as opposed to getting money upfront. Hopefully, that means that you didn’t incur any sunk costs by beginning your case with a lawyer you want to leave.
If you can show that you have “good cause” to terminate your relationship with your current motorcycle accident lawyer, you might be able to avoid giving them a portion of your payout at the end of your case. Additionally, even if you cannot demonstrate a “good cause,” your new lawyer might be able to negotiate a way to split the contingency fee with your old lawyer at no expense to you.
What If You Just Want a Second Opinion?
In some situations, you might want to get a second opinion without completely severing the relationship with your original lawyer. For example, if your lawyer recommends that you accept a settlement offer that feels too low, you may want to hire a new motorcycle accident lawyer to take a look at it. Getting a second opinion is within your rights as a legal client, and doing so should not jeopardize your relationship with your original lawyer.
Your Old Lawyer Needs to Uphold Your Best Interests
Getting a new motorcycle accident lawyer does not change your original lawyer’s duty to act in your best interests with respect to confidentiality and handling key pieces of evidence. Your new lawyer can coordinate with your old lawyer to obtain all of the documents relating to the facts of your case.
Handing over the documents and maintaining confidentiality are part of your old lawyer’s responsibility to uphold the client-attorney relationship he or she established with you. If he or she fails to act in your interest, he or she risks losing his or her license and incurring other sanctions for violating the Rules of Conduct set by the American Bar Association.
Find the Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Houston or San Antonio
When you have been harmed by a negligent driver, you need your personal injury case to go smoothly. Unfortunately, not all lawyers are qualified or willing to fight aggressively for all of the compensation you deserve. If you feel that your current lawyer isn’t providing the best legal representation available, finding a new motorcycle accident lawyer in Houston or San Antonio might be a good option. To get in touch with our team, contact Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC, today!