Ask Kathryn: My Auto Accident Attorney Withdrew From My Case, Now What Should I Do?
Occasionally I meet with potential auto accident clients who have had an attorney working on their case and then they receive a withdrawal of representation letter from their attorney. They are left to find a new attorney and often times the potential client doesn't have enough information about their case for me to make a decision about whether I could do anything that their former attorney couldn't; so sometimes I'll send them back to their old attorney to get a complete copy of their file before I can make a decision about whether to get involved. Attorneys withdraw from auto accident cases for different reasons so just because an attorney withdrew from a case, doesn't mean that there is no claim; but as the new potential attorney it is important for me to determine what the former attorney's reason for withdrawing was and whether that would be a reason to prevent me from getting involved, or whether it was a reason that I could resolve and get involved and help.
5 Quick Tips for Finding a New Auto Accident Attorney After Your Old Attorney Has Withdrawn From (or "Dumped") Your Case:
1. If you are looking for a lawyer and you have already had a lawyer working on your case who is no longer working on it, make sure you get a COMPLETE COPY OF YOUR FILE from your old lawyer before meeting with the new potential lawyer.
2. Having a complete copy of your old lawyer's file will make you and your potentially new lawyer's lives a lot easier; make sure that your old lawyer has given you more than just copies of your medical records – make sure the disclosures of insurance and correspondence with the insurance carriers are included; having a complete copy of your file is especially important if there are statutes of limitations involved in your case and if time is of the essence. Without enough information, a new potential lawyer is less likely to take your case. Here's a quick reference, think of it as more of an example than something to rely upon in an actual case, for the Florida Statute of Limitations in civil cases:
Injury to Person 4 yrs. §95.11(3)(o)
Libel/Slander 2 yrs. §95.11(4)(g)
Fraud 4 yrs. §95.11(3)(j)
Injury to Personal Property 4 yrs. §95.11(3)(h)
Professional Malpractice 2 yrs.;
Medical: 2-4 yrs. §95.11(4)(a) and (b)
Trespass 4 yrs. §95.11(3)(g)
Contracts Written: 5 yrs. §95.11(2)(b), 1 yr. specific performance§95.11(5)(a)Oral: 4 yrs. §95.11(3)(k)
Collection of Debt on Account – Judgments 20 yrs. domestic §95.11(1); 5 yrs. foreign judgment §95.11(2)(a)
PLEASE NOTE THAT STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS VARY AND CHANGE AND THE ABOVE SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON BECAUSE IT MAY BE OLD OR WRONG WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT – CHECK WITH THE CURRENT STATUTES IN YOUR AREA AND CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY.
3. Find out why your old attorney dumped your case – knowing this will help your new lawyer pick up where the old one left off. Just because an attorney withdrew from a case does not mean that you do not have a claim; remember different attorneys will look at your case differently and some decisions to keep or withdraw from cases are made because the lawyer's needs rather than the particulars of the case.
4. Ask friends and family or someone you have known and trusted for a long time before the accident to refer you to an attorney that they have had a positive experience with; call the local bar association; or check the Martindale Hubbel Website for attorneys in your area.
5. Keep trying to find a new attorney; know that it is usually harder to find an attorney after another attorney has withdrawn from a case, so know this going in to see any new potential attorneys, bring as much information as you can with you for the new potential attorney and be prepared to consult with several attorneys before finding the perfect fit for you and your case. If the potential attorney turns down your case, find out why. Learn as much as you can about the strengths and weaknesses of your case so you can help your new attorney help you.
For more information or a free consultation on your legal issue contact The Law Offices of Charles D. Scott PLLC, your injury law and family law attorneys, at 727-300-4878. http://www.yourstpetelawyers.com