Can My Disability Attorney Stop Work on My Claim?

Fee Agreements often have clauses that allow attorneys to drop a client and a client to fire an attorney with little reason.

Ask a Disability Attorney

Q:  My friend recently received a letter from his disability attorney saying they were no longer working on his disability claim. Can they do this? Why?

Age 45, Office Manager

A Social Security Disability attorney can usually be fired from a claim. Check your fee agreement to see if anything is laid out.

Clients and Social Security DIsability Attorneys can usually part ways.

A:  Unfortunately, there are times when an attorney has to let a client go. In most cases, there is nothing that prevents a disability attorney from dropping a client. The one exception is that if the case is scheduled for a hearing.  Losing the client would result in the client being unable to retain a new attorney prior to the hearing, then likely the attorney will not be permitted to withdraw from the case.When a disability attorney withdraws from your case, they may also ask Social Security for the right to be paid for work they did on your case. The withdrawing attorney may submit a petition to Social Security outlining the work they performed on your case and ask social security what amount they can collect. If approved, the money will be collected from your back pay.If your attorney drops your case, don’t give up! Always seek an opinion from another attorney. Different attorneys have different experiences and while some might not see a path to winning your case, others may. You may also want to ask your attorney why your case was dropped, often it’s because of a simple misunderstanding that can be worked out. Either way, don’t make the mistake of going without an attorney. Attorneys know the ins and outs of disability law. Don’t let one bad experience with an attorney scare you away; there are plenty of competent attorneys that would be glad to take your case.

It is Common to See a Clause in a Contract the Allow Attorneys and Clients to Fire Each Other.

Social Security Disability Attorneys can stop work on a claim for almost any reason.

Reasons for dropping a case can vary.  The most common reason is that a client has just become too much to handle.  I always do my best to manage expectations with my clients and teach them to understand that there are no guarantees and that there will be a lot of times where it seems like I am doing nothing.  Sometimes in a Social Security claim there is a lot of waiting.  That is the nature of the beast, and there is not anything that can be done.  If a client starts to become time-consuming and not responding reasonably to my explanation of their current claim, I will have to consider dropping them.  I can’t spend half my week dealing with one client when that client has nothing to deal that should have been explained with one phone call.   Also, I always want my clients to understand that most of the time when there are bumps in the road for their claim that are easily fixed, and I won’t update them on these hiccups.  I don’t need to stress my client out over things that are simple fixes.  They may not seem like simple fixes to my client because they haven’t worked in thousands of disability claims, and I understand that.  One of the biggest reasons  I am hired is to make the disability process as stress-free as I can and to give my clients the best shot possible.  90% of the time all I need from a client is to continue treating with their doctors and the other 10%  I will contact them.  Now, this isn’t to say that I discourage any client from contacting me and asking about their claim.  Open lines of communication are necessary.  I just don’t need a ‘girlfriend’ who calls and texts 150 times a day minutes asking me what I am doing.

Another reason people get dropped often is that the claim just was not what the attorney thought it was.  It is always best to be upfront during the initial interview with any law firm.  I have seen in personal injury, employment, Social Security, Bankruptcy cases where clients elaborated or downright made up details about their cases.  If you are not honest about the details of your case, an attorney will probably drop you.  These details are what get evaluated when deciding whether to take on a potential claim.  Just because you signed a contract doesn’t not mean anyone has any obligation to each other.  I guarantee the contract you signed has a clause stating the attorney and the client can walk away at any point for any reason.  If it doesn’t, you may not have the most competent attorney.

By all means, I am not saying your friend was dropped for any of these reasons.  These are just the two most common reasons.  If a person has a legit claim and has reasonable expectations, then they have the potential to make money for an attorney.  We like to get paid and will not usually drop claims that are worth our time.

A Social Security Disability attorney usually can stop work on a clients disability claim for little to no reason.

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