Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney does not handle a case appropriately. This may involve negligence towards the case and harm caused to the client. In order to prevail in a legal malpractice case in most jurisdictions, you may have to prove the following:
An attorney-client relationship between you and the attorney
Here you must show that the attorney gave you legal advice, hence creating an attorney-client relationship. Usually, such a relationship is signed and confirmed with a written contract; however, having such a contract is not always obligatory.
The attorneys negligence to provide proper representation
This implies proving that the attorney did not perform his/her duties carefully and with due diligence. However, remember that failure to win a case for the client does not yet mean that the attorney had conducted breach of duty.
With regards to this, you must prove that if the lawyer had not been negligent, you would have not suffered financial losses. Here again, it can be rather hard to show that the outcome of a lawsuit would have been different if your lawyer had acted in a different way or had chosen a different strategy.
Common Examples of Legal Malpractice
Some common kinds of legal malpractice are the following:
If you think your lawyer malpractices, you should first of all send them a letter or a fax asking them for an explanation of what is going on with your case. If you do not get a response, you may already consult another attorney. Speaking with a different lawyer may help you assess the situation and see whether you have a strong case for legal malpractice or not.
- Failure of the attorney to meet deadlines
- Failure to apply the law appropriately to a client’s situation
- Failure of the attorney to communicate properly with the client (not answering emails and phone calls)
- Failure of the attorney to sue within the statute of limitations
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