When we think about malpractice, it is normal to associate this legal matter with the healthcare industry. However, that is not the only industry that can face malpractice cases, as there are also legal malpractice claims. Legal malpractice occurs when the attorney you hired fails to represent your interests, resulting in a significant financial loss.
To be able to sue a lawyer, you will need to understand what legal malpractice is by proving you had an existing attorney-client relationship, that the lawyer was negligent, and that the negligence resulted in injuries and financial loss. You also need to get help from a qualified legal malpractice attorney to initiate a lawsuit.
Four essential elements of legal malpractice must be present in order to have a claim against an attorney. Each element must be tested against the concept of what another lawyer would have done in similar circumstances and whether the other lawyer’s actions would have been different, resulting in a different outcome.
It is important to remember that not every careless action or mistake is grounds for legal malpractice. It is only when the lawyer handled the case inappropriately, resulting in negligence against the client, that a malpractice claim can be explored.
Some common examples of legal malpractice include:
Please remember that there are also other actions your lawyer could have made that could be considered negligent and legal malpractice. Generally, you must be able to demonstrate you would have won your case if your lawyer had not been negligent, careless, or made significant mistakes.
Like other personal injury cases, there are different types of monetary damages one can seek, such as:
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing legal malpractice is two years “from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered.” If you fail to file your claim within this period, you cannot seek any damages from the lawyer.
If you suspect your lawyer is committing legal malpractice, it is essential to take action as soon as possible. The first thing you should do is talk to the lawyer, share your concerns with them, and allow them to respond.
If the outcome of that meeting does not go well, or the lawyer fails to respond, the next step is to gather evidence relating to your case and consult with another attorney who specializes in legal malpractice claims. If there is legal malpractice, then you can have this attorney take action to file the appropriate legal forms to seek damages and sue the other lawyer.
The amount of time it takes to settle a legal malpractice claim depends on the willingness of both parties to reach a settlement during negotiations. If the defendant is not amenable to reaching a settlement and the case must go to trial, then it can take longer to settle. On the other hand, if the defendant is open to negotiations and willing to settle, the case could be resolved in a matter of months.
If you suspect your lawyer is engaging in legal malpractice or your case did not turn out as planned due to their negligence, mistakes, and carelessness, it is vital to get honest, legal advice from Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys. Our experienced Tampa personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation to help you understand your legal rights and options. In the event that legal malpractice has occurred, we will work diligently in your best interests to ensure you are compensated fairly and justly.
Buckner, S. (2023). What Is an Attorney Conflict of Interest?
Khoury, G. (2019). What Is Prejudgment Interest?