Lawyer Malpractice Attorney | Attorney Malpractice | Lawyers that Sue lawyers
Legal malpractice occurs when a lawyer fails to render competent professional service to a client and the client is damaged as a result of that failure. There are three major theories of liability. They are:
- Breach of fiduciary duty; and
- Breach of contract.
Lawyers that Sue Lawyers for Negligence
What is lawyer negligence? Because lawyers handle so many different legal matters for people and companies, it would be impossible to list all the different ways that a lawyer can commit malpractice. It would be futile to even attempt. It is important to point out that, just like doctors, not every bad legal result is as a result of lawyer malpractice. In fact, when it comes to litigation, the very nature of our judicial system is founded upon some one will win and someone will lose. Does that mean that every losing party has a legal malpractice claim? Of course not.
However, there are some common areas that widely accepted as lawyer negligence when they happen. They are:
Neglect - Examples of lawyer neglect would be:
- Missing a statute of limitation and the Plaintiff would have prevailed in the case;
- Failing to conduct and respond to discovery so much that sanctions are levied or the case is involuntarily dismissed with prejudice;
- Failing to designate experts and/or proper witnesses and that failure probably caused the rendition of a verdict that would not have otherwise been reached
- Drafting errors in documents and/or agreements and that error is irreversible and has caused you injury
- Failure to know the substantive law;
- Failure to get a client's consent or to inform the client;
- Failure to calendar events;
- Not knowing or observing a deadline; and
- Insufficient discovery and/or investigation
What is the Standard of care?
- In most instances, your previous lawyer's conduct will be judged by ordinary negligence. That is he needed to have acted in a manner that is consistent with exercising that degree of care or skill as measured against an ordinary standard.
- In some cases, the standard will be higher when your previous lawyer was Board Certified or otherwise held himself out as a specialist or "expert" in a particular field of law.
As you can see, you not only need negligence but your Legal Malpractice Attorney must also show you have been damaged, or economically harmed, as a result of that negligence. This is sometimes the hard issue to prove and it is the area that your malpractice lawyer will focus upon in your initial meeting.
Lawyers that Sue Lawyers for Breach of a Fiduciary Relationship
To sue an attorney for a breach of a fiduciary duty, you must first establish that there was an attorney-client relationship. Once you establish a relationship, there exists a fiduciary relationship. Breach of a fiduciary relationship is different from negligence, in that your Breach of a Fiduciary relationship lawyer must prove that:
- Your previous attorney benefited from your relationship by "self-dealing"; or
- "Possessing an unrevealed conflict of interest or mismanaging of client funds".
In a Fiduciary relationship is one that is to be kept in the highest regard. Specifically, in the fiduciary duty owed a client may require:
- A Duty of Loyalty;
- A Duty of Good Faith;
- Integrity in all matters;
- Fair and Honest dealing;
- Avoidance of Conflicting Positions; and
- Disclosure of all material information potentially prejudicial to the client
lawyers that Sue Lawyers for Breach of Contract
Because the contract between your previous lawyer and you was most probably created by that attorney and you had nothing to do with the wording, courts have strictly construed them against the attorney if any of the terms are ambiguous.This is true both on the actual wording of the contract as well as the scope of authority granted in it. Any violations of contract can serve as a basis to sue.
What Damages are Available When you Sue an lawyer for Malpractice?
There are many types of damages available but the below chart sets forth the most common types of damages:
|Fee Forfeiture||Disgorgement||Accounting & Injunctive Relief|
|Recission||Constructive Trust||Exemplary Damages|
What is the Time Period in Filing an Attorney Malpractice Claim?
Every state has a different law, usually called a statute of limitations, that sets the time period in which a Legal Malpractice claim must be brought. You should always contact a Professional Negligence Attorney as soon as possible to preserve your rights.