Legal malpractice means that the lawyer breached his or her duty of care to the client. The client was harmed as a result. For example, in New Jersey, a cause of action for legal malpractice requires. “(1) the existence of an attorney-client relationship creating a duty of care the defendant attorney. (2) the breach of that duty by the defendant, and (3) proximate causation of the damages claimed the plaintiff. ” (Alevras v. Tacopina). In Louisiana, § 5605 defines legal malpractice as an alleged act, omission, or neglect on behalf of the lawyer. Additionally, the statute states a statute of limitations for filing such claims. In Missouri, “a claim for legal malpractice has four elements: (1) an attorney-client relationship; (2) negligence or breach of contract by the attorney; (3) proximate causation of plaintiff’s damages; and (4) damages to the plaintiff (Viehweg v. Mello).
Similar to medical malpractice, legal malpractice occurs. When a lawyer doesn’t do what they supposed to do, and their error hurts their client. Lawyers have a duty to follow certain standards of ethical and professional conduct. When they fail to follow those standards, they can sued for legal malpractice.
Yet, it’s not as simple as saying, “my attorney didn’t work hard enough to win my case.” You must be able to show that your attorney didn’t do what they were supposed to do according to their profession’s rules.
Legal malpractice defines any situation in which an attorney fails. In his or her duty to provide competent legal counsel to a client. This may include negligence, breach of contract, or a breach of a fiduciary duty. That causes measurable harm to the client.
ERRORS OF NEGLIGENCE
Legal procedures are unpredictable and require intensive information on the law. The components of a case, and the necessities for squeezing a case forward. In certain circumstances, a lawyer might be blameworthy of negligence in the event that the person makes an egregious mistake. That another sensibly gifted lawyer would not have made. The offended party’s direction should demonstrate that the respondent had an obligation to satisfy their commitments to the offended party. With sensible consideration, neglected to do as such, and that disappointment hurt the offended party.
While legal malpractice follows rules like individual injury law as far as requiring proof of negligence, the customer suing (the offended party) should likewise give proof of what might have happened had the lawyer (the respondent) not been careless. This is known as “yet for causation” and can be undeniably challenging to demonstrate.
Can I Sue My Lawyer for Malpractice?
If you can show that your attorney did one of the following, then you may be able to bring a legal malpractice lawsuit against your lawyer:
- The attorney’s conduct was negligent
- Attorney was in breach of a contract
- The attorney’s actions violated the American Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct (adopted by all state bars except California)
If your lawyer has violated these rules (such as commingling financial accounts or creating a conflict of interest) or acted negligently in some way, you may file a legal malpractice claim. In order to win your case, you would have to show that a typical (and competent) lawyer would have prevailed in your case.
If you are bringing a legal malpractice claim based on your attorney’s negligence, you need to show:
- Your lawyer had a duty to represent you competently
- Your lawyer made a mistake or otherwise acted in a way that breached their duty to you
- Their actions caused harm to you and you lost money as a result.
What is Legal Malpractice?
Legal malpractice defines any situation in which an attorney fails in his or her duty to provide competent legal counsel to a client. This may include negligence, breach of contract, or a breach of a fiduciary duty that causes measurable harm to the client. A client who has harmed in such a way an attorney will have the option to sue that attorney for damages.
When it comes to suing an attorney, you’ll need a legal representative who knows how to navigate such cases, one you can trust to fulfil his or her obligations faithfully and thoroughly. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common types of legal malpractice, so you understand your attorney’s obligation to you.
ERRORS OF NEGLIGENCE
Legal proceedings are complex and require thorough knowledge of the law, the elements of a case, and the requirements for pressing a claim forward. In some situations, an attorney may be guilty of negligence if he or she makes a grievous error that another reasonably skilled attorney would not have made. The plaintiff’s counsel must prove that the defendant had a duty to fulfill his or her obligations to the plaintiff with reasonable care, failed to do so, and that failure harmed the plaintiff.
While legal malpractice follows guidelines similar to personal injury law in terms of requiring proof of negligence, the client suing (the plaintiff) must also provide proof of what would have happened had the attorney (the defendant) not been negligent. This known as “but for causation” and can be very difficult to prove.
BREACH OF DUTIES
An attorney may be guilty of legal malpractice due to a breach of contract or a breach of fiduciary duty. When an attorney enters into an attorney-client relationship, a contract outlines the terms of the representation that both parties sign. An attorney who fails to uphold the requirements agreed to would be guilty of a breach of contract. In other cases, an attorney can be guilty of breaching his or her fiduciary duties to the client. If an attorney were to take action in self-interest rather than in the interest of the client, and this action harms the client, the attorney is guilty of legal malpractice.
In some states, you must prove your innocence before you can sue your attorney if you were found guilty. You must prove that you are in fact innocent and would have been found so had your attorney fulfilled his or her duties and acted with reasonable care. That being said, legal malpractice can occur and knowing what to look out for can be the difference between a successful outcome and a long process of complex litigation.