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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

What you Need to Know About Switching Attorneys in Personal Injury Cases

How Attorney Fees Work in Personal Injury Cases in New York

In the state of New York, personal injury cases can be complicated, emotional, and expensive. If you are considering hiring a personal injury attorney, it is important to understand how attorney fees work in personal injury cases in New York, including contingency fees, expenses, and switching attorneys.

Contingency Fees

One of the most common ways that attorneys charge for their services in personal injury cases is through a contingency fee. Under a contingency fee agreement, the attorney's fee is based on a percentage of the amount recovered on behalf of the client. If the client does not recover any money, the attorney does not receive a fee.

Contingency fees can be beneficial for clients because they allow individuals to pursue legal action without having to pay for legal fees upfront. This can be particularly helpful in personal injury cases, where medical bills and other expenses can quickly pile up. In addition, contingency fees give attorneys an incentive to work hard for their clients and recover as much money as possible, since their fee is directly tied to the amount recovered.

However, there are limitations to contingency fees in New York. The New York Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit attorneys from charging unreasonable fees. While there is no set percentage that is considered reasonable or unreasonable, attorneys are expected to charge fees that are commensurate with the amount of work involved in the case. In addition, attorneys are required to provide clients with information about the fee arrangement in writing, including the percentage of the recovery that will be taken as a fee.

Expenses in Personal Injury Cases

In addition to attorney fees, clients in personal injury cases can expect to incur a number of expenses associated with their case. These expenses can include things like filing fees, expert witness fees, medical record fees, and more.

It is important to understand that while attorneys may cover some of these expenses upfront, the client is ultimately responsible for paying these expenses. In some cases, the attorney may deduct these expenses from the amount recovered on behalf of the client, in addition to the contingency fee.

Clients should also be aware that expenses can add up quickly in personal injury cases, particularly if the case goes to trial. Before hiring an attorney, it is important to discuss potential expenses and how they will be handled.

Switching Attorneys

Clients in personal injury cases may find that they need to switch attorneys for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the attorney is not communicating effectively, or the client feels as though the attorney is not providing adequate representation.

If you find yourself in a New York personal injury case and you decide to switch attorneys, there's some good news. You won't have to pay any extra legal fees as the incoming and outgoing attorneys will divide the 33% contingency fee.

This is great news for clients who may be dissatisfied with their current attorney or want to seek representation from another law firm. In the past, clients may have been hesitant to switch attorneys because they were afraid to incur additional legal fees. But, with this rule in place, switching attorneys is much easier and accessible.

The contingency fee is a popular fee arrangement used by many personal injury attorneys. Instead of charging an hourly rate, the attorney takes a percentage of the client's settlement or judgment. This fee arrangement is beneficial for clients who may not have the financial means to pay for an attorney's services upfront.

In New York, the typical contingency fee is 33%. This percentage is based on the total amount recovered, which can be from a settlement or awarded by a judge or jury. The attorney will take 33% of this amount as their fee.

While switching attorneys may seem like a complicated process, it's actually quite simple. The incoming attorney and outgoing attorney will work together to ensure that the client's interests are protected. Typically, the incoming attorney will file a substitution of attorney form to officially become the new representation for the client.

Once the new attorney is on board, they will work to get up to speed on the case and begin the necessary preparations to either settle or go to trial. The outgoing attorney will assist with the transition and will be entitled to a portion of the contingency fee for the work they have already done on the case.

In conclusion, if you're in the middle of a New York personal injury case and you're unhappy with your current attorney, know that you can easily switch representation without incurring any extra legal fees. Having this option provides peace of mind for clients knowing that they have the ability to seek the best possible representation for their case.


Personal injury cases can be complex and emotional, and understanding the legal fees involved can be overwhelming. By understanding how attorney fees work in personal injury cases in New York, including contingency fees and expenses, clients can make informed decisions about their legal representation.

If you are considering hiring a personal injury attorney, it is important to do your research and choose an attorney who is experienced, knowledgeable, and communicative. By working with a trusted attorney, you can feel confident in your legal representation and focus on healing and moving forward after your injury.


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