Legal Malpractice: What To Do When Your Attorney Fails You
Sometimes your legal case doesn’t end the way you want it to. That is a natural and normal part of the law. Someone wins and someone loses in every case. However, if you lose your lawsuit or end up with an unfavorable outcome due to negligence on the part of your attorney, then you don’t have to accept the situation. You have rights to file a legal malpractice claim against your attorney to hold him or her accountable. Just like you would sue for medical malpractice if a doctor mistreated you
To file your case, you need a personal injury attorney who understands this area of law. It can be tricky to file such a claim because these laws are quite exact and precise.
Legal Malpractice Defined
The legal profession is highly regulated by professional laws and standards. Every attorney must have a license to practice law in his or her state. They must follow certain rules and meet professional standards. When an attorney breaks these rules and standards, it is malpractice.
The professional standards include honoring your rights. For example, attorney-client privilege is your right to have anything you say to or share with your attorney kept private and confidential. A violation of this right is legal malpractice.
You also have a right to the fair handling of your case and competent representation. Your attorney must follow all rules of the court, provide you with adequate care and do everything possible to properly represent you in court. If he or she fails to do this, then you may have a malpractice case.
It is important to understand that malpractice does not mean that your lawyer must win your case. You do not have a claim simply because you are not happy with the outcome of your case or because you didn’t like your attorney. You must have some proof of negligence.
Elements To Prove Legal Malpractice
Not every mistake is malpractice. You must be able to identify and prove a specific action on your attorney’s part that had a detrimental effect on the outcome of your case. There are several elements that you have to prove to win your legal malpractice case.
To begin with, you must show that the attorney in question had a duty to you. What this means is that this attorney had a legal obligation to provide you with representation in a legal case. This is probably the easiest element to prove since you just have to show he or she worked on your case.
You must show that you suffered a loss or something negative as a result of your attorney’s actions. If you are simply unhappy, then you did not suffer damage from the situation, and you have no case. In any civil case, you need to have a tangible loss so that the court can determine the proper award to make up for that loss.
Proving legal malpractice also requires that you prove your attorney did not meet the standard of care. In a legal situation, the standard of care expected of an attorney is providing you with proper representation every step of the way. This covers the initial gathering of information and evidence, preparing your case, meeting deadlines and following other court rules and providing a case in court.
Finally, you must show that your lawyer caused you damages because he or she did not honor the standard of care. For example, you could show that your attorney did not properly gather evidence when it was easily available or that he or she did not meet a deadline, which led to you losing your case or having the court throw it out.
You must prove every single element to win your case. This is referred to as a burden of proof. This often requires understanding not only legal malpractice law but also professional standards for attorneys and court rules and procedures. Because of this, legal malpractice cases are especially difficult to bring to court and win.
Types of Legal Malpractice
There are a number of ways in which legal malpractice can occur. Missing deadlines and not gathering evidence properly are just two examples.
Malpractice can also happen when your attorney doesn’t communicate properly with you or fails to properly handle the retainer you paid for representation. Your attorney may also create issues if he or she lacks proper knowledge of your type of case and the area of law pertaining to your case but still agrees to represent you.
If you tell your attorney to do something or not to do something but he or she does not listen, this can also be malpractice. Any situation of fraud is also a problem that you can make a claim over.
Conflict of interest is another malpractice area. Such conflicts can arise in many ways. It is your attorney’s responsibility to excuse him or herself from your case if there is a conflict of any kind that could impede his or her ability to handle your case fairly.
Consult a Malpractice Attorney
Filing a legal malpractice case is difficult because this area of law is very strict. The court will require you to build a substantial and clear case with convincing evidence. You likely cannot do this by yourself.
While you may be hesitant to work with another lawyer after your experience, it is essential to put your case in the hands of a competent legal malpractice attorney who understand the law and knows how to build this type of case.
A malpractice attorney has experience bringing such cases to court. He or she understands the elements you must prove to win and knows how to construct the case properly. Your attorney also can protect your rights, help you understand the process and ensure you recover damages for the losses you’ve had due to your prior attorney’s negligence.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer
Put your trust in a personal injury attorney who can handle your case and seek justice for you. Hold irresponsible and reckless lawyers responsible when they are negligent by filing your case. Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!