Yes, you can fire your personal injury lawyer in Ohio, and you do not need a reason for why you want to discharge your attorney. However, you may be obligated to pay a fee that covers the services your attorney provided you if you decide to breach the contingency fee agreement you made with them.
Ohio Established a Quantum Meruit Rule That Allows Plaintiffs to Fire Their Lawyers
In Scheinesohn v. Lemonek, the court mandated that when an express contingency fee contract between a lawyer and a client is breached by the client without just cause, the damages should be for the full contract price. However, in 1989, the Supreme Court of Ohio overturned this rule in Fox & Associates Co., L.P.A. v. Purdon.
This ruling led to a “quantum meruit” rule for discharged attorneys, which allows them to be paid a reasonable sum of money for their legal services, provided there was unjust cause for discharge.
The Supreme Court of Ohio Ruled That Plaintiffs Should Be Able to Fire an Attorney at will
The court in Fox & Associates Co., L.P.A. v. Purdon agreed with the defendant that the rule from Scheinesohn v. Lemonek, if continued to be used in such cases, would have a chilling effect on the client’s right to discharge an attorney, with or without cause. By overturning the rule to provide a “just cause” to fire an attorney, this allows plaintiffs to leave legal representatives they do not trust and work with those they do.
The most important aspect of the attorney-client relationship is your trust and confidence in your attorney. If you no longer trust your injury lawyer, it is necessary for you to be able to discharge them without having to show cause or present evidence in order to effectuate the discharge.
Quantum Meruit Rule Mandates Discharged Attorneys May Still get Paid
The quantum meruit rule entitles a discharged attorney, whether discharged with or without cause – and whether the contract was express or implied – to recover the reasonable value of services rendered before the discharge.
Therefore, you may fire your personal injury lawyer in Ohio for any reason. However, on the basis of quantum meruit, if you discharge your attorney without cause, you will be required to pay them the reasonable value of services actually rendered to you.
Make Sure to Fire Your Personal Injury Attorney in Writing, and Expect Delays
Many people wonder whether hiring a new lawyer is a smart move, especially if their case is close to its deadline set by Ohio’s statute of limitations, Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10. So, here are some things to consider when deciding to get a new lawyer:
You Should Fire Your Injury Attorney in Writing and Before Hiring a New One
With all legal matters, it is better to fire your attorney in writing. A short letter will suffice, but it should involve a written statement that affirms you no longer wish to retain their legal services.
Make sure to keep a copy of this letter (or email if you sent your notice digitally), as your new lawyer will likely ask for it.
Transferring Information to Your New Legal Team will Likely Cause Delays
In general, discharged attorneys are obligated to surrender information in a client’s case file. So, if you hire a lawyer from our firm to take over your case, we will request this information and review it as soon as possible so that we can take the appropriate legal steps.
Becoming familiar with your case may take time, especially if we need to confirm certain details, so one of our first concerns will involve identifying your case’s filing deadline. We can take appropriate measures to have your case filed on time so that it does not get dismissed.
Our Law Firm Provides Several Legal Services to Help You Build the Case
When you work with a personal injury lawyer from our firm, our team will do the following to help build your case:
- Review the information your current legal team has already collected for your case file
- Identify the filing deadline to determine how much time we have left to work on the case
- Investigate further if necessary, which may help us discover more information about the accident, the liable party, and your damages
- Collect additional evidence, including new expert witnesses if necessary
- Handle communications with all involved parties and inform them of your attorney transfer
- Prepare paperwork and submit these documents on your behalf
- Attend negotiation meetings to work out a potential settlement deal
- Represent you in court if you decide to file a lawsuit
Our team will also advise you throughout the case and confirm details you may have discussed with your current lawyer. We want you to trust who you are working with, so we aim to be transparent about our representation for you.
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Call the Fitch Law Firm LLC Today to Hire a New Personal Injury Lawyer
The bottom line is that you, the client, should always feel well-represented and have trust and confidence in your attorney. If you are unhappy, you have the right to fire your attorney and find a new one.
If you are searching for a new personal injury lawyer to work on your case, speak with a member of the Fitch Law Firm LLC today in a free consultation when you call (614) 545-3930. We serve people throughout Ohio, including Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Marion, and Springfield.