What Will Happen After Your Personal Injury Attorney Dies Or Becomes Disabled?
After suffering injuries in an accident because of another party’s negligence, one of the first things you should do is look for a skilled personal injury attorney. Working with a personal injury attorney increases your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve. Suppose you have looked for a qualified attorney and began working on your case only for your attorney to die or become disabled while your case is pending. What would happen in such a case?
Personal injury attorneys are human beings like everybody else. This means they are prone to disabilities like anyone else; it means that some even die unexpectedly. Whenever an attorney dies or becomes disabled, it is a tragedy, often affecting the lives of many loved ones and those people with any dealings with the disabled or deceased attorney. Learning that your personal injury attorney has become disabled or died can leave you shocked and/or confused.
Unfortunately, a personal injury attorney dying or becoming disabled is not an uncommon occurrence. Therefore, clients and even potential clients need to understand the events that usually occur after an attorney dies or becomes disabled.
This article discusses some of the events that usually can occur after a personal injury becomes disabled or dies. So, read on!
Common Courses of Action When a Personal Injury Attorney Dies or Becomes Disabled
In Florida, one of the first things that can happen after a personal injury attorney becomes disabled or dies is the closing down of the law firm. However, there are laws preventing law firms from closing down and leaving clients in a confused state.
According to the law, all attorneys who practice in Florida are required to designate an inventory attorney. The purpose of this law is to protect clients’ interests if their originally retained counsel cannot do so. The primary role of inventory attorneys is to take possession of the files of a member who;
- is suspended or disbarred,
- suffers involuntary leave of absence due to military service, or
- becomes delinquent, and no other responsible party with the capability of conducting the member’s affairs is known.
After your personal injury attorney dies or becomes disabled, the inventory attorney is responsible for notifying you that your originally retained attorney can no longer offer you legal representation. After receiving this notification, you have the right to ask for your files, look for another attorney, or request a referral from the inventory attorney. An inventory attorney may accept to represent you, but they are not required to do so.
After your originally retained personal injury attorney becomes incapacitated or dies, you must remember that no one can substitute them unless you agree to the substitution. You have the right to receive written notice of any potential change to your attorney and be given a chance to either accept the substitute attorney or look for another legal representative.
Sale of Law Practice
Another potential course of action when a personal injury attorney dies or becomes incapacitated is the sale of law practice. As a Floridian, there are some important things you need to know about the sale of law practice.
- According to the law, a sale requires written notice regarding:
- The proposed sale
- The client’s rights if they fail to take any action or object within 30 days of receipt of the written notice.
- The client’s right to retain other counsel
- Court approval is required if a representation involves pending litigation. In a case where a representation involves pending litigation, there can be no termination of representation or substitution of counsel unless authorized by the court.
- If clients agree to the substitution of counsel, the purchaser must abide by existing fee agreements. Fees may not be increased because of the sale.
- If a client objects to a proposed substitution of counsel, the seller must comply with the requirement of rule 4-1.16(d).
A crucial tip for you to remember is that, even if another personal injury attorney within your attorney’s law firm decides to take over your personal injury case, you are not obligated to agree to them taking over your case permanently. When it comes to personal injury cases, individuals need to work with attorneys they trust and feel comfortable working with.
We’re Here if You Need Us
Learning that your Naples personal injury attorney has died or become incapacitated can be devastating. If you have just learned that your attorney died or is now disabled, remember that you have the right to retain another legal representative. You are under no obligation to work with a law firm that purchases your attorney’s firm or other attorneys within your originally hired attorney’s firm. If you need a new personal injury attorney, we can help you make a smooth transition to The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. Contact us today at 239-649-8050 to schedule a consultation.