The short answer to this question is yes, changing lawyers will delay your case. How much it will be delayed depends on how complex your case is and how far along it has proceeded.
A simple slip-and-fall case that has just been filed is not going to be too badly delayed if you want to switch attorneys whereas a medical malpractice case, which is typically quite complex, is going to have to be put on pause as the new attorney reviews the file and gets up to speed.
The length of the delay is also likely to be impacted by how far along the case is. Prior to a case going to trial, the attorneys on both sides put a lot of effort into learning the facts of the case from the perspective of their own client, and then using the discovery process to learn other facts and perspectives on the case from the other parties involved. The discovery process also involves gathering evidence, finding witnesses and experts, and putting all the facts and bits of evidence together into a cohesive story that will persuade the other party to offer a favorable settlement or, if the case eventually goes to trial, will persuade a jury to rule in their favor.
If you switch attorneys before a lot of the work mentioned above has been done, the case is unlikely to be delayed too long. If discovery is underway or the trial is approaching, bringing in a new attorney may cause some delay because they are going to have to quickly review the work that has been done and determine whether it was done well enough that they can proceed from the current position or whether some backtracking and revision are necessary.
The next question you should ask is: does it matter? A delay might be well worth the lost time in the long run if it means you collect more money or are more satisfied with the overall outcome. If you are dissatisfied with the work your attorney is doing, there is probably a good reason why. Don’t settle for shoddy work done by someone you don’t really trust. We suggest that you read our article “Can I Change My Lawyer If I Have A Personal Injury Case Pending?" before you make any decisions.
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If you or a loved one was injured and needs legal assistance, call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212.227.2780 or submit an online questionnaire. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call to ensure that you do not waive your right to compensation. Or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.