When you enlist in the help of an attorney and use her services, you expect her to uphold her duties and perform as she should. You are, after all, entrusting your case to her. However, what if the attorney fails to do her job correctly and thwarts your case? What is she acts in such a way that causes you financial harm?
If your attorney makes an unreasonable mistake and you sustain financial loss, you might be entitled to file a legal malpractice claim to seek recovery. Seek counsel from a legal malpractice attorney in your area to determine if you qualify.
What is legal malpractice?
All lawyers have an obligation to comply with their state’s code of ethics for attorneys and maintain their practice in alignment with those ethics. They must act in a fair and honest manner, with integrity, and in good faith when working on their clients’ behalf. They must uphold the terms of any attorney-client contracts that are in place. Attorneys also must meet certain certification criteria and possess the skills generally required of other attorneys in their field.
When attorneys breach these duties, i.e., when they are negligent, it may be legal malpractice. Wronged clients may be entitled to sue for recovery of financial losses.
In a 2010 article published in the magazine, Law Practice, the American Bar Association provided a list of some of the most common types of errors claimants alleged in legal malpractice claims. Below are the top 10 types of errors attorneys make.
- Failing to know or apply the law
- Planning mistakes
- Inadequate discovery/investigation
- Failing to file documents
- Failing to calendar
- Failing to know the deadline
- Failing to get clients’ consent
- Conflict of interest
Do I have a valid legal malpractice case worth pursuing?
Not all mistakes lawyers make are legal malpractice. In order for the case to be valid, you must be able to prove the following.
- There was a valid client-attorney relationship.
- The attorney failed to provide you with reasonable representation and services that other attorneys would have provided you in the same situation, i.e., the attorney breached his duty of care.
- The attorney’s negligence caused you harm.
- You suffered financial loss as a result.
What types of damages can I recover in a legal malpractice claim?
If your case prevails, you can recover several types of damages. First, you can seek an award for your compensatory damages, which reimburses you for your financial losses that you suffered as a result of the malpractice. In some cases, the courts might award you punitive damages as well, which courts award to punish the attorney for gross wrongdoing and discourage future misdeeds. Lastly, you may also recover your expenses and legal fees you had to pay in order to correct the attorney’s mistakes.
Speak with a legal malpractice attorney for help investigating and pursuing your case. Primerus can help you find a legal malpractice attorney near you.