When you hire an attorney to represent you in a legal matter, you do so with faith in both their ability and their diligence. Unfortunately, this trust is not always well placed, and attorneys can fail to provide the level of professionalism and performance that you deserve. If you believe that you’ve been the victim of negligence or malfeasance on the part of your attorney, you may be eligible to file a legal malpractice lawsuit against them. In doing so, your most valuable evidence may be testimony provided by another attorney acting as an expert witness.
Expert witnesses are professionals with a significant level of subject knowledge in a specific area. They help judge and jury to understand complex issues so that they can make well-educated decisions. Just as a physician may present expert witness testimony in a medical malpractice case or an engineer may present expert witness testimony regarding defective product design, an attorney can be an expert witness against another attorney or law firm that is accused of legal malpractice.
Legal malpractice can take many forms. Attorneys may fail to meet deadlines for filing suits on behalf of their clients, or fail to respond or file the appropriate paperwork, resulting in a claim not being pursued. They may demonstrate a lack of knowledge or research into law that works against their client, or a failure to investigate a situation that leads to a client’s inability to prevail. They may fail to provide their client with the information that they need to make decisions integral to their claim, or they may have conflicts of interest that they failed to reveal.
To establish that legal malpractice has occurred, there are certain elements that must be proven. These include the existence of an employer/employee relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant attorney, the duty created by that relationship, the breach of duty that occurred, and the damages that the breach created. When an attorney testifies as an expert witness against another attorney, it is their goal to explain what should have happened – in other words, the standard of care that any other attorney would have provided – and why the defendant attorney’s level of service did not provide what it should have. They can explain the rules of professional responsibility, statutes that may not have been properly addressed, the definition of professional negligence, and more.
When an attorney acts as an expert witness in a legal malpractice case, their testimony can right a wrong on the part of another lawyer. For information on how our firm can help, contact us today to set up a time to discuss your situation.