Most people are familiar with medical malpractice but don’t know what must be proven in order to win a case. They think that if they aren’t healed, or if their loved one died, they can automatically file (and win) a lawsuit. But in order to win a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has to prove specific points showing that the healthcare professional was negligent. The same is true when it comes to legal malpractice. Losing a legal battle is not enough.
If you’ve been involved in litigation and your lawyer has underperformed so significantly that you have suffered damages, or if they’ve conducted themselves in such a way that they breached their fiduciary duty to you, you may be able to file a claim for legal malpractice. Legal representation is supposed to meet a certain standard, and failure to achieve that standard may rise to the level of negligence.
Examples of legal malpractice include:
- Failure to file required documents
- Lack of attention that leads to delays or missed deadlines
- Failing to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires
- Failure to properly conduct discovery
- Failure to identify and hire expert witnesses in support of a claim
- Failure to disclose a conflict of interest
- Misuse of client funds
- Failure to seek authorization from a client prior to agreeing to a settlement
In order to prove that you have been a victim of legal malpractice, you need to be able to prove four specific points:
- That you had an attorney/client relationship with the lawyer and that thy had a professional duty to you. Asking a friend who is an attorney their opinion at a cocktail party is not the same thing as having a professional relationship and duty to the plaintiff
- That the duty that the attorney owed to you was breached or that they acted in a negligent way.
- That you suffered harm as a direct result of the negligence or breach.
- That the damage you suffered as a result of the breach or negligence was a measurable financial loss or actual loss.
Whether your legal issue has to do with a business matter, criminal defense, litigating a personal injury, or something else, you count on your attorney to provide you with representation based on their knowledge of the law and their experience. The outcome of a lawsuit can be significantly affected by the quality of the attorney representing each case. If you would like our professional assessment of whether you have been the victim of legal malpractice, contact our experienced attorneys today to set up a time to discuss your case.