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The Importance of a Disengagement Letter

Sometimes you become dissatisfied with your attorney’s ability to manage your case and pursue the best possible outcome. As a client, you have a right to terminate your attorney’s services in accordance with the contingency agreement you signed when you first formed your relationship with him or her. As you will see on our practice area page regarding changing attorneys during a lawsuit, there are a variety of reasons why you may determine a new attorney would be better suited to handle your case.

Terminating Your Current Attorney

If your current attorney decides to withdraw from your case, the most important thing you need to do is to ensure your attorney has sent you what is called a “disengagement letter.” This letter is proof that you are no longer represented by that attorney, and you can then seek the advice and representation of a different attorney. Many times, clients will receive these letters and throw them away, not understanding just how imperative it is to keep this letter in your records.

When you look for a new attorney to represent you for your car accident case, your personal injury case, your medical malpractice case, or any other type of civil lawsuit where you have signed a contingency fee agreement, you will need to present the disengagement letter to your new attorney. This provides assurance to the new attorney that you are not currently represented in regards to your lawsuit and will allow your new lawyer to explain to you, what, if any, responsibilities you have to your former attorney..

Depending on how much time and money your former attorney spent working on your case, the disengagement letter may be accompanied by a list of expenses. You should not be responsible for these expenses out of pocket. However, if you recover compensation through the representation of a new attorney, your former attorney may ask that a portion of your recovery be reimbursed to cover the costs spent while working on your case, so you should be prepared for this if you choose to change attorneys.

The Dual-Representation Issue

Many clients may find an attorney to represent them in their car accident, personal injury, or medical malpractice case and sign a Retainer with him/her. If an attorney takes a while to get back with a client, the client may believe that the representation no longer exists. When a client feels this way, he or she may seek out another attorney, not understanding that an attorney-client relationship already exists with the first attorney. This is a common occurrence in large cases where multiple plaintiffs are filing the same type of lawsuit, such as a drug liability case where a particular medication has harmed thousands of people.

The dual-representation problem can seriously harm your chance to pursue a case because if your first attorney files a lawsuit, and your new attorney does as well, you essentially have two cases going on at the same time. Once a court determines you have two cases that are exactly the same, the court will dismiss both of them unless one attorney voluntarily dismisses your action.

Where To Go From Here

Regardless of whether you simply wish to change attorneys, or if you currently have not heard from your attorney and don’t know if you are still represented, you need to contact your initial attorney as soon as possible. That attorney will send you the required disengagement letter if they are no longer representing you to ensure you can prove to your new attorney that you are no longer represented. Don’t assume that you no longer have an attorney simply because you have not heard from your attorney’s office in a while. Attorneys should always update their clients on a regular basis, but sometimes clients don’t receive updates for a few months. To avoid being in a situation where you are represented by two attorneys, be sure to have a disengagement letter from the first attorney so you are free to choose another. If your lawyer does not voluntarily withdraw from representing you, you may discharge the lawyer. We recommend you speak with another qualified lawyer first before discharging your attorney so you can have your rights explained to you.

Contact Our South Florida Car Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys Today To Schedule Your Free Consultation

The law firm of Greenberg Stone and Urbano employs Miami Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers who have over 100 years of combined experience in advocating for clients who have been injured due to the negligence of others. Our skilled attorneys have been named “Superlawyers,” a title associated with being among the best lawyers in America. Our lawyers have also earned a rating of “AV” by Martindale Hubbell, and have been voted “South Florida’s Top Rated Lawyers” by the Miami Herald. They have also been invited to be members of Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Call Greenberg Stone and Urbano today to schedule your free consultation. One of our dedicated personal injury attorneys will investigate and evaluate the facts of your case and advise you of all your legal options. You can contact us through our website or call us at either (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400.

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