If you believe your previous lawyer made a serious mistake that caused you to suffer financial loss, you may be able to receive compensation from that lawyer’s legal malpractice insurance. We are working with experienced legal malpractice lawyers around the country, who can file a lawsuit for you and charge no legal fees unless you receive a settlement or award. Contact us toll free anytime, or fill out a contact form on our website for a free (no obligation) case evaluation.
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What Is Legal Malpractice?
Legal malpractice occurs when a lawyer makes a mistake that causes you financial harm. For example, most people think if their lawyer loses their case that they made a mistake. This may not necessarily be true. If you lost your case because your lawyer committed a critical error, which a lawyer in the same situation normally would not have committed, your lawyer may have committed legal malpractice.
Legal malpractice can also a violation of a lawyer’s ethical duties. If a lawyer is found to have committed legal malpractice, they may be disciplined by the court by receiving a public reprimand, a suspension, or perhaps even disbarment.
What Are Common Examples Of Legal Malpractice?
Clients often have complaints about their lawyers, whether it be a lack of action on their case, a lack of communication, or some other source of concern. These complaints may or may not amount to instances of legal malpractice, depending upon the circumstances. Some common types of cases are:
- Your lawyer does not file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations has expired. The statute of limitations is a time limit that you have to file a lawsuit, which is typically three years for a personal injury case, but varies depending on the type of case. Lawyers must act diligently to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out. If they do not file the lawsuit in time, they may have committed legal malpractice.
- Your lawyer settles your case for less than it is worth. If your lawyer advises you to settle your case for less than it is worth, then they may have committed malpractice. Lawyers have a “fiduciary duty,” which means that they always have to act in your best interests. Sometimes, lawyers advise their clients to settle a case for less money because it means that the case will take less time, but this is not always the best decision for the client.
- Your lawyer fails to discover additional types of insurance coverage. For example, a general practice lawyer, who does not handle a lot of car accident cases, may not realize that there is an underinsurance policy that could provide extra compensation for their injured client.
- Your case is dismissed from court because your lawyer performed no work on it. This may constitute legal malpractice, depending on the circumstances. You would need to show not only that your lawyer did not handle the case properly, but that if the case had been handled correctly, you would have won and received an award.
- Your lawyer settles your case without getting your authorization. Lawyers are not permitted to settle cases without getting their client’s approval. To successfully win a legal malpractice suit, you will have to show that the settlement your lawyer agreed to enter into was for less than the value of your case.
- Your lawyer discusses your case with another party and discloses confidential communications. This is a violation of your lawyer’s duty to you. This is an ethical violation that could lead to your lawyer being disciplined by their state bar. If the disclosure of information caused you financial harm, then you could also have a legal malpractice claim against the lawyer.
- Your lawyer misuses the fees and/or money you paid as a retainer for representation. This can constitute legal malpractice because your lawyer has a duty to use your money only for your case. If your lawyer misuses your money, you may sue them for legal malpractice to get your money back. This also violates legal ethical rules as well and would subject your lawyer to being disciplined by the state bar.
Why Does Legal Malpractice Occur?
Usually, legal malpractice occurs because a lawyer or law firm takes on too much work or a lawyer may have personal problems such as a divorce or alcohol abuse, which causes them to neglect some of their cases. The most common complaints that clients have about their lawyers is that they do not respond to phone calls, or that they miss deadlines. Unfortunately, these happen because lawyers sometimes have so many cases that they cannot possibly keep up with every single one. However, lawyers are legally required to take the steps required in your case.
What Is a Legal Malpractice Case Worth?
If your legal malpractice lawsuit is successful, you could be entitled to collect damages. If your lawyer misplaced funds, you could receive the money that your lawyer mishandled. If your lawyer settled a case without your permission, you may be able to collect the difference between the amount that you received and the amount that the case was worth.
In certain cases where a lawyer’s malpractice is intentional or especially out of line with what a normal lawyer would have done, you may be able to get an award of “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are intended to punish the lawyer because their conduct was so outrageous.
Why Call Us?
If you suffered financial loss because your lawyer made a serious mistake while handling your case, you may be entitled to compensation. Our firm is working with experienced legal malpractice lawyers, who can file a lawsuit for you and charge no fee unless you win your case and get an award or settlement. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call our toll free number or fill out a contact form on our website.