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Legal Malpractice

Legal Malpractice

legal_malpractice

Unfortunately, lawyers, like everyone else, make mistakes. If a client is damaged by his or her lawyer’s mistake, the lawyer may be liable for legal malpractice.

As the number of practicing lawyers grow, the number of legal malpractice cases will likely increase at the same rate. In fact, statistics seem to indicate that the number of legal malpractice cases is increasing at a rate greater than the growth of the legal industry.

How Do You Establish Legal Malpractice?

It can be very difficult to win a malpractice case. Just because a lawyer may have made a mistake does not make them liable to the client. Instead, it must be shown that the lawyer failed to use the ordinary skill and care that would be used by other lawyers in handling a similar problem or case under similar circumstances.

To win a malpractice case against a lawyer under a negligence theory, the following must be proven:

  • duty — that the lawyer owed the client a a duty to act properly. This is established by the existence of an attorney-client relationship.
  • breach — that the lawyer failed to use ordinary skill and care that would be used by other lawyers.
  • causation — that the lawyer’s conduct caused damages to the client.
  • damages — that the client suffered losses as a result.

Causation is usually the most difficult part.  After establishing that the lawyer committed malpractice, you must then prove that you would have won the case but for the mistake, and that you would have been able to collect money from the defendant in the underlying case.

What To Do If You Suspect Legal Malpractice……

If you suspect that your lawyer committed legal malpractice, you should try and arrange a meeting with your lawyer to discuss the situation in detail. If the lawyer refuses to meet with you or won’t directly answer your questions, then by all means consult an attorney for a second opinion. You should be careful about firing your current lawyer until you have another lawyer to take over your case. Otherwise you might be left with a case and no lawyer!

Remember That Time Is Of The Essence…

You should not delay in speaking with a lawyer after an accident, no matter how minor the accident may be. A successful case must be investigated immediately. Evidence must be preserved. Additionally, the law provides certain time limitations in which action must be taken. If the required action is not taken within that time, your case will be lost forever!

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