What Is Legal Malpractice?
Lawyers must meet certain standards of ethical and professional conduct.
If they fail to do so and their error harms their client, they can be
held liable for legal malpractice.
Legal malpractice is the term for any professional
negligence, breach of contract, or breach of fiduciary duty by a lawyer while they
are performing services for their client.
If your attorney causes you harm, our Tampa legal malpractice lawyers are here to help.
When Does a Mistake Become Legal Malpractice?
According to the
American Bar Association, a mistake justifies a legal malpractice lawsuit when the attorney is
negligent, the mistake causes damage, and the damages are significant.
If another attorney would have behaved differently in your case, and you
would have won your case if your attorney did the right thing, you likely
have a legal malpractice lawsuit on your hands.
One classic example of legal malpractice is an attorney who fails to file
a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. Because the client
loses their right to legal action, they also lose any compensation they
could have recovered. Missing a deadline is an error most attorneys would
not make, so the situation warrants a legal malpractice claim—but
only if the client proved to a “legal certainty” they would
have won their case.
A Case Within a Case
Legal malpractice cases are special because there are 2 cases at hand.
The first case exists to decide whether or not an attorney was negligent,
and the second case helps determine whether or not the client suffered
harm. To prove damages, clients must not only prove their lawyer was negligent
but also that they would have won damages had their attorney acted correctly.
Because of this, legal malpractice cases almost always require expert witnesses “to determine that the attorney’s conduct fell below the standard of care.” These types of cases are difficult—and due to the cost of
litigation—only worth pursuing if the damages are significant.
If you choose to file a legal malpractice claim, you need dedicated attorneys
who will strive for maximum compensation. Fortunately, you’ve found
Four Rivers Law Firm.
What Happens When Your Lawyer Files Your Case Late?
If your lawyer missed a deadline, due to improper filing, late filing,
or the fact that he/she just forgot, you may potentially have to forfeit
your case. The attorney responsible for this could potentially be sued
for legal malpractice depending on the deadline that was missed.
As a result, if you were pursuing a lawsuit, such as a
personal injury lawsuit, you will not receive compensation for the damages you experienced if
you must forfeit your case.
For example, auto accident cases have a 4-year statute of limitations.
If your personal injury attorney doesn’t file your case in time,
you may be able to sue them for legal malpractice.
How to Sue an Attorney Who Files Past the Statute of Limitations
If your attorney made a serious error that negatively impacted your case,
or your ability to file a case, you can sue him/her. As proving legal
malpractice is difficult, you will want to hire an experienced lawyer
to assist you.
To win a malpractice case against an attorney, you must prove the following:
- Duty (the attorney owned you a duty to act properly)
- Duty was breached (the duty was breached, and the attorney acted negligently)
- Causation (this conduct hurt you financially)
- Damages (you suffered financial loss as a result)
Why Choose Us?
Our law firm is dedicated to our clients. We handle every case with a personal
touch, and you will work directly with your attorney and legal team every
step of the way. Although we are one of the most technologically advanced
firms in Florida, we never lose sight of the human component of litigation.
We are dedicated to justice, advocacy, and fairness for all. When you
are treated unfairly, we step in to balance the scales of justice.
At Four Rivers Law Firm, we offer free consultations. Your initial case
review will be especially useful in a legal malpractice claim because
we are skilled attorneys who can quickly identify negligence within our field.
To speak to a real attorney and get customized legal advice, please call
us at 813-331-5056 or contact us online for your free consultation.