No one is perfect, including lawyers. And that’s why attorney malpractice is relatively common in the field of law.
Fortunately, there’s a type of case that helps keep attorneys in check. This allows clients to ensure that their lawyers will do well on the job.
Regardless of a case result, every attorney should always uphold professional and ethical duties, as well as confidentiality. Especially when the case involves sensitive information, there are various ways in which a lawyer can cause you harm.
In essence, your attorney should strictly follow the rules of their profession – whether the case is won or lost.
Criteria for Attorney Malpractice
You should first understand that legal malpractice proceedings can take a long time to finish. As a result, this type of case can be extremely costly. That’s why you should thoroughly determine if your case meets the criteria of malpractice and if you’re prepared to face a time-consuming and exhausting battle ahead.
You can take the following three questions as a guide before filing an attorney malpractice claim:
- Has your lawyer been complacent and negligent?
- Is there any harm done as a result of your attorney’s mistake?
- Is there a sizable amount of damages?
Remember that you should be able to present proof that the attorney’s negligence has caused you considerable harm and substantial damages. You should also note that the legal proceedings can become incredibly expensive if you’re filing a malpractice claim on top of another case.
1. Errors in Planning
The errors involved in planning can refer to a wide range of issues. The lawyer can make a mistake in strategy planning for civil rights cases or fail to submit critical documents, resulting in the case being dismissed.
If your attorney is unable to devise a better strategy for the case, you might have enough grounds to sue the lawyer for malpractice. The majority of lawyers who commit these mistakes have inefficient document retrieval methods.
2. Incomplete Investigation and Discovery
A lawyer’s failure to unearth all relevant or crucial information about a case is a reasonable basis for attorney malpractice. In divorce cases, an attorney is expected to unravel all pertinent information, such as all financial assets of a spouse.
Attorneys may fail to collect enough information due to time constraints if they are currently handling too many cases. The lawyer should not cut corners. If relevant information is missed, it can result in the case being lost and causing the client more damages.
3. Inability to Meet Deadlines
The case, as well as the client, can face serious consequences if a court-imposed deadline for submitting paperwork is overlooked. If your lawyer is swamped with other cases or you have a complicated case, there will be too much paperwork to complete. Thus, it can often lead to missed deadlines.
It will be fairly easy to prove this type of negligence, even more so if it has resulted in a considerable financial loss for the client. Plus, it can get far more serious if the court dismisses the case because you didn’t meet the deadline.
4. Failure to Understand the Law
Attorneys are presumed to be well-versed in the law, particularly in their field of expertise. However, there are many lawyers in the country that don’t fully know the law. For this reason, there are numerous malpractice claims of this nature filed in the United States.
You may file a malpractice claim against your lawyer based on the following:
- Failure to keep abreast of recent legislative changes
- Is misinformed about the law
- Does not correctly apply the law
Attorneys practicing multiple areas of the law like bankruptcy, intellectual property, and contractual disputes, are more likely to be negligent in this area.
5. Inability to Calendar
More than simply being unable to meet deadlines, failing to calendar is more specific. Negligence occurs when your attorney fails to file a suit or take action within the time frame specified for the case. Even a minor mistake in clerical work can result in huge financial losses for a client.
Know Your Rights and Don’t Become a Victim
Attorneys are expected to safeguard their clients’ rights and privacy. And if their malpractice harms a client’s morale and financial situation, they should face the consequences of their mistake. Consulting with experts like Judge Arthur J. Gajarsa can help ensure success in your case against a seasoned attorney.