Many people think they will hire a personal injury lawyer who will be the only one handling their case from their initial consultation to the end. While this is sometimes the case, it is not always true. It is always a good idea to ask, “Will other attorneys be working on my case?”
Your law firm should answer to the best of its ability based on how it works and what its attorneys know about your case. However, the answer to this question may depend significantly on the circumstances. Some scenarios may require the help of additional lawyers, or your firm may assign multiple advocates to each case.
Your Case May Be More Serious or Complex Than Initially Thought
Often, a personal injury case becomes more serious as the medical treatment unfolds. For example, if you suffered a back injury in a crash, it could be months before the doctors have a good understanding of your prognosis and lasting impairments.
Once the seriousness of your injury becomes apparent, the law firm may transfer your case to another attorney who is more familiar with back injuries or add a lawyer to your team so that your case can benefit from their experience.
This also happens when cases become more complex than initially thought. For example:
- The liable party blames you for contributing to the accident
- The liable party countersues you
- The insurer denies your claim or denies the at-fault party has a policy
- Certain evidence makes a claim harder to prove
- Multiple liable parties exist
- A company is vicariously liable for your damages
Recognizing a more serious injury or a more complex case than previously thought are among the top reasons why a law firm may swap the attorney managing your case or add another lawyer to your team.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Conflicts of Interest
Your law firm could assign a new lawyer to your case or even transfer you to another firm if there is a conflict of interest between you and other clients at the firm. Conflicts of interest can occur in many scenarios, but legal professionals are strongly warned against them in the Rules of Professional Conduct.
As an example of a conflict of interest, imagine you were the passenger in a vehicle during an accident. You hire an attorney, and the driver also hires a lawyer from the same firm. If it turns out that the vehicle’s driver shares fault in the crash, you might need to file a claim against them.
According to the American Bar Association, this could violate Rule 1.7 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. This section prohibits a firm from filing a claim against its own clients. As explained in the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.7:
A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:
- Representing one client will directly affect another client’s case
- There is a significant risk that an attorney’s ability to represent one client will be limited by their responsibility to another client, a former client, or a personal interest of theirs.
If either of these exists in your case, your law firm should resolve the conflict of interest. It can assign your case to a new lawyer, transfer you to another firm, or take another action to eliminate the issue.
Informed consent may be an option if you do not have a claim against the other party but was involved in the same crash. Under Rule 1.7, a lawyer may continue to represent a client when:
- They believe they can provide “competent and diligent representation” to both parties
- The two parties do not have a claim against one another
- Representing both parties is not illegal
- Both clients confirm they have been informed and consent in writing
Whether you want to continue with the same attorney when there is a conflict of interest is up to you. Some people may opt to move to a different attorney or firm even if informed consent is possible.
Another Attorney May Have Experience or Special Knowledge that Could Help Your Case
Sometimes, your case may have an issue that another attorney at our firm specializes in handling. This may occur in a products liability case, a medical malpractice claim, a defective drug case, a mass tort, or another type of case.
When this occurs, it may be in your best interest to have your case referred to another lawyer. This could be within the same firm or to another firm. Your attorney will do this only when they believe it gives you the best chance of success in your case. If another attorney receives your case on referral, there is generally a fee split arrangement between the firms.
It is important to know that this will happen only when you agree to representation by all the lawyers your case involves. You also must understand how their fees will work.
What You Should Discuss With Your Law Firm to Learn More
If you have concerns about who will be working on your case, you can discuss this with the attorney who handles your free consultation. Most personal injury firms will offer complimentary case assessments and a time to answer questions. You can go over the following with an attorney:
- Whether one or more attorneys will be working on your case
- If your case may require expert knowledge or a lawyer knowledgeable about specific topics
- If they will be the attorney filing your case
- Who else is on their team who may work on your case
- If they may work with more junior lawyers or more senior attorneys on your case
Speak With an Attorney From Morris Bart, LLC
At the Morris Bart law firm, our attorneys always strive to work on behalf of the client’s best interests and follow the Rules of Professional Conduct. This may mean you work with one attorney or that there will be other lawyers working on your case. We are happy to answer any questions you have about your case.
Call (800) 537-8185 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys, or you can ask your attorney if you are already working with our team.
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