Legal malpractice is a situation that occurs when a lawyer hired by an individual does something intentionally harmful or involves negligence that causes an injury to the client. If this occurs, the client may file a lawsuit against the attorney. If the lawyer engaged in any criminal activity, such as theft, they may also face criminal charges.
Clients also have the right to report attorneys to the state licensing and disciplinary board that regulates these professionals. Wining legal malpractice suits is challenging unless there is obvious evidence of negligence or fraud. However, it is possible to win, and getting to know the information here can help.
1. Get to Know the Actual Meaning of Legal Malpractice
While sites like thedicksonfirm.com provide more information on legal malpractice, it’s a good idea to start pursuing a case by understanding the actual meaning of legal malpractice. To prove a lawyer committed legal malpractice, the attorney must have been so careless or negligent in handling a legal matter that it resulted in injuries to their client. This means the lawyer must have failed to provide the proper and legal representation any other attorney would have provided in a similar situation.
There are several examples of legal malpractice. Some of the most common reasons to file a lawsuit for malpractice include the attorney failing to file a document or missing a deadline, borrowing or stealing money that belonged to the client, making errors causing the legal claim to be dismissed, neglecting the case, having an undisclosed conflict of interest, or settling the case without the client’s permission.
2. Understand the Statute of Limitations
Each lawsuit type, including a legal malpractice suit, is subject to a statute of limitations. This is a timeframe that limits when a suit can be filed. Each state has its own laws on this matter. If a client fails to file their lawsuit for legal malpractice within the statute of limitations, their ability to file a claim will be eliminated.
3. Hiring an Attorney for a Legal Malpractice Case is Recommended
Proving that legal malpractice occurred isn’t easy. While a client may be concerned about putting their trust in another attorney, they need to hire quality legal representation to have a fighting chance of winning a legal malpractice lawsuit.
When searching for a lawyer for help with a legal malpractice case, try to find one who doesn’t charge a retainer fee. Some attorneys charge a lot of money initially to take a case, which is called a retainer. While this is true, there are some personal injury attorneys that work on a contingency basis, which means they don’t collect fees unless the case is successful.
If an individual is having trouble locating an attorney to handle their legal malpractice case, they should get a referral from their county or state bar association. Finding the right attorney who has worked on similar cases in the past provides an individual with a greater chance of a successful outcome.
4. Understand the Factors that Make a Malpractice Case
If the attorney made a serious error (like the ones mentioned above), suing is a client’s right. To win a malpractice case against an attorney, there are four things that have to be proven.
The first is a duty to the client. This means the attorney owed their client a duty to act in a proper and ethical fashion. There must also be a breach of that duty. It means the attorney was negligent, didn’t do what they agreed to do, or made a serious mistake.
Causation must also be proven. This is an action or conduct that injured an individual financially. The last factor is damages. The client must prove they suffered a financial loss due to their attorney’s neglect or actions.
In more practical terms, if an individual wants to win a malpractice case, they have to prove the attorney made mistakes regarding how a case was handled. They must also show that the case would have been successful if the lawyer had not mishandled it. It’s also necessary to prove, if the case had been won, the client would have collected compensation, in some form, from the other party.
5. How to Recover Damages in a Legal Malpractice Case
When a client files a legal malpractice case, they can receive damages if the civil lawsuit against the attorney is successful. However, most legal malpractice claims settle before going to court and before the case is presented to a jury. When settling this claim, it’s best to negotiate with the other parties involved to receive what is considered a fair financial settlement for the neglect or wrongful act that occurred. Ideally, the settlement will cover what would have been awarded had the initial case been successful.
6. Consider the Legal Options Carefully
Filing a lawsuit is a serious matter. Before moving forward with this legal action, an individual needs to consider carefully if it is the best course of action for the case. As mentioned above, proving and winning a legal malpractice case is extremely challenging, so unless an individual has iron-clad proof of wrongful or negligent actions, they should proceed with caution.
Don’t try to pursue this case without legal representation. Layers know the law and have experience handling these situations, so having legal representation for the lawsuit can give an individual a better shot at a successful outcome.
Handling a Legal Malpractice Lawsuit
There are several factors that must be considered when pursuing legal action against an attorney who acted in a negligent manner. Understanding the factors above will provide an individual with a better chance of a successful outcome for their case. Don’t pursue this type of legal action without just cause, as it can cost a lot of time, money, and frustration over time.
Remember, finding the right attorney to handle the case is also necessary. Be sure they are on board before filing the lawsuit so they can help handle all the legal matters that will arise during the course of the case.