Nobody’s perfect – even attorneys.
Attorney malpractice is a type of case that helps keep lawyers in-check, empowering their clients to make sure attorneys do their job well. Even if they end up not winning the case, they should still adhere to both ethical and professional duties between lawyer and client, including confidentiality.
There are many ways that a lawyer can cause you grief, especially with the sensitive information that they’re handling.
In fact, regardless of the case is won or not, your attorney should do what’s supposed to be done according to their professional rules.
What are the Criteria for Legal Malpractice
Proceedings for legal malpractice can rack up over time, making it a very expensive case. Knowing the what the criteria of malpractice can help you see beforehand if you’re ready for the long and arduous battle.
Here three questions that you need to answer before making a legal malpractice claim:
- Was your attorney negligent?
- Did your attorney’s mistake cause any damages?
- Was the cost of damages significant?
Even if an attorney was negligent, you should be able to prove that it has caused significant damages to you. Legal proceedings become so expensive if you file for malpractice over the underlying case being worked on.
Failure to Know The Law
Lawyers are expected to know the law, more so in their area of expertise. Believe it or not, though, this is the most common malpractice claims filed in the U.S.
Attorney malpractice may be filed if your lawyer has the following actions are done:
- Failure to keep up with recent law changes
- Misunderstands the law
- Does not apply the law correctly
An attorney is more likely to do this type of negligence if he or she practices in multiple areas of the law.
Failure to Meet Deadlines
Missing a court-imposed deadline when filing paperwork can cause significant damages to the case, and the client as well. Deadlines are usually missed if there is too much paperwork that needs to be done, whether because the case is very complicated or the attorney is overloaded.
This type of negligence can be easily proven, especially if it has cost the client significant amounts of money. It can become even more substantial if the court throws out the case because deadlines have not been met.
Planning errors are broad and can cover a multitude of things. It could mean mistakes in planning a competent strategy (quite common in civil cases), or missing out on the submission of important papers leading to the dismissal of the case.
You can file for attorney malpractice if your lawyer was not able to come up with an adequate plan for the case. Most lawyers who end up with this malpractice are those that have inefficient ways of document retrieval.
“Discovery” in legal terms means all legal mechanisms that attorneys use to compile evidence for a case. Failure of an attorney to discover all pertinent or relevant information regarding a case is a valid ground for an attorney malpractice claim. A lawyer is expected to be able to uncover all important information such as all financial assets of a spouse in a divorce case.
Some lawyers who are handling too many cases may end up cutting corners or miss doing enough data collection. Some information may end up irrelevant after all. However, missing out on relevant information can lead to losing the case and causing damages.
Failure to Calendar
Failure to calendar is more specific than just overlooking deadlines. When your lawyer missed taking action or filing a suit within the window of a particular case, this translates to negligence. For example, if an attorney missed filing a claim within the bounds of the statute of limitation on personal injury litigation, he or she can be sued for legal malpractice.
Even a simple clerical error can lead to a client sustaining significant damages.
Don’t Stay a Victim to Attorney Malpractice
Lawyers are supposed to protect their client’s privacy and rights. However, if their negligence has ended up damaging the client’s morale and financial status, they had to pay for their negligence.
Since you’re going to go against a seasoned lawyer that can be backed by his or her law firm, winning the case can be a difficult one. You’ll need to consult with experts like Judge Arthur J. Gajarsa to help you fight for your civil rights.