When someone entrusts their legal matters with an attorney, they expect their case to be treated with care from a professional that is supposed to provide them with sound guidance that protects their best interests. Unfortunately, some lawyers take advantage of their clients by not following proper procedures and commit legal malpractice.
The actions of a negligent attorney can lead to suffering damages for victims of legal malpractice. When you enlist the help of an attorney, you expect to receive adequate legal counsel for the services you paid for. Although it may feel terrifying to think of winning a lawsuit against an attorney, it is possible, and you deserve to take action and fight for the compensation you deserve.
How Do You Prove Legal Malpractice?
Legal malpractice cases can be difficult to prove, especially if the original case was complicated. Legal malpractice cases in Florida are based on “alleged” negligence. Therefore, there will need to be adequate proof in order to show the court that your attorney behaved in a negligent manner.
In order to win a legal malpractice case, your new lawyer will need to be able to prove the following factors to win a legal malpractice lawsuit:
- Duty: Does the lawyer owe you a duty of care? Is there physical proof that there was a contract or agreement between you and your attorney?
- Breach of Duty: Did the lawyer breach their duty due to negligence or misconduct? Your attorney had a responsibility to you where they were reasonably expected to prove skills and quality representation. If your lawyer failed to meet these expectations or acted irresponsibly, they behaved negligently with their duties.
- Financial Loss: Did this breach result in you suffering from financial harm? There needs to be proof that your attorney’s negligence resulted in a financial loss for you. This could possibly be proven through receipt records you spent on the case, as well as the time you spent meeting with your attorney.
- Causation: Was the breach of contract the direct reason for your financial losses? For example, say your attorney failed to meet a deadline that ended up getting your case thrown out the window; you would then need to show exactly how this missed deadline correlates to the money you spent on the case.
Breach of duty is often the most difficult reason to prove in a legal malpractice case. Every case of legal malpractice is vastly different. Testimonials from expert witnesses can assist with helping to determine what is reasonably expected from your former attorney and the case they were hired to assist you with. Causation can sometimes be challenging to prove as well, especially if you do not have comprehensive records.
How Long Do You Have to Sue an Attorney for Malpractice?
Under Florida law, malpractice claims against professionals, which include legal malpractice, typically have a two-year statute of limitations. This means that people who believe they are the victim of legal malpractice have two years from when negligent services were provided to file a claim against their prior attorney.
To make sure you are able to adequately protect your rights, it is crucial to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible. Call the Tampa legal malpractice attorney at Four Rivers Law Firm for a team with experience properly assisting those going through a legal malpractice case.