If you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, you may have hired a disability lawyer to help you with your claim.
But what if you are unhappy with your lawyer’s performance or attitude? Can you fire them and get a new one? The answer is yes, but there are some things you need to consider before making this decision.
Reasons to Fire Your Disability Lawyer
You have the right to fire your disability lawyer at any time, but you should not do it lightly.
Firing your lawyer can complicate your case and delay your hearing.
You may also have to pay more fees if you switch lawyers. Therefore, you should only fire your lawyer if you have a good reason to do so.
Some of the reasons to fire your disability lawyer are:
- Lack of communication: Your lawyer should keep you updated on the status of your case and respond to your calls or emails in a reasonable time. If your lawyer is ignoring you or giving you the runaround, you may want to look for a new one.
- Disrespect or rudeness: Your lawyer should treat you with respect and professionalism. If your lawyer is condescending, abusive, or dishonest with you, you have the right to fire them and find someone who will treat you better.
- Missing deadlines: Your lawyer should file all the necessary paperwork and appeals on time and prepare you for your hearing. If your lawyer misses important deadlines or shows up unprepared, you may lose your chance to get benefits.
- Incompetence or negligence: Your lawyer should have the knowledge and experience to handle your case effectively. If your lawyer makes mistakes, gives you bad advice, or fails to follow the rules and regulations of Social Security, you may want to fire them and hire someone who knows what they are doing.
Reasons to Keep Your Disability Lawyer
Before you fire your disability lawyer, you should also consider the benefits of keeping them.
Changing lawyers can have some drawbacks that may affect your case negatively.
Some of the reasons to keep your disability lawyer are:
- Continuity and familiarity. Your lawyer has been working on your case for a while and knows the details and history of your claim. A new lawyer will have to start from scratch and may not have enough time to review your file and prepare for your hearing.
- Trust and rapport. You have established a relationship with your lawyer and they understand your situation and needs. A new lawyer may not have the same level of trust and rapport with you and may not be able to represent you as well as your current one.
- Fees and expenses. Your lawyer works on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if you win your case. However, if you fire your lawyer, they may still be entitled to a portion of your back pay for the work they have done. You may also have to pay some expenses that your lawyer incurred on your behalf, such as medical records or expert fees. A new lawyer will also charge a contingency fee, which means you may end up paying more than 25% of your back pay in total.
How to Fire Your Disability Lawyer
If you decide to fire your disability lawyer, you should follow these steps:
- Notify your lawyer in writing. You should send a letter to your lawyer stating that you are terminating their services and requesting a copy of your file. You should also ask them to withdraw their representation from Social Security and stop working on your case.
- Find a new lawyer as soon as possible. You should look for a new disability lawyer who is qualified, experienced, and reputable. You can use online directories or ask for referrals from friends or family members who have gone through the disability process.
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- Sign a new fee agreement with your new lawyer. You should review the fee agreement carefully and make sure it states how much your new lawyer will charge and how they will split the fee with your old lawyer if necessary.
- Inform Social Security of the change of representation. You should fill out a form called Appointment of Representative that names your new lawyer as your representative and send it to Social Security as soon as possible.
Firing your disability lawyer is a serious decision that can have both positive and negative consequences for your case.
You should weigh the pros and cons carefully before making this choice.
If you are unhappy with your current lawyer, you can always try to resolve the issues with them first or seek a second opinion from another lawyer before firing them.
If you decide to fire your disability lawyer, make sure you do it in a professional manner and find a new one who can handle your case better.
Remember that hiring a disability lawyer is not a guarantee that you will win your case, but it can increase your chances of getting the benefits you deserve.
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