You come to credentialed professionals in different fields to get the unique help they can offer. Typically, it involves a particular knowledge base and training that the average person doesn’t have. However, sometimes, those professionals fail to live up to the standard that is expected in their field. In these cases, that failure is known as malpractice. One of the professional fields where this could occur is with attorneys. When this happens, it’s known as legal malpractice.
Legal malpractice results in a financial loss or other harm. Those who have suffered these losses, though, are legally owed restitution. However, proving legal malpractice can be some of the most challenging cases out there. That’s why at the Tatum Law Firm, we carefully investigate our clients’ cases and put together a substantial argument in their favor.
Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney fails to meet the professional standard that a client is owed when hiring an attorney, and that failure leads to a negative impact, financial or otherwise, for their client. Some examples of behavior that could be considered legal malpractice include:
Proving legal malpractice can be particularly complex as it often is something akin to two cases in one. It will be necessary to prove some kind of negligence or failure to live up to the standard on the part of the plaintiff’s attorney, as well as looking at the original case in which the attorney and plaintiff were involved. Proving the elements of legal malpractice is a similar process to proving medical malpractice, with some twists that are specific to the legal realm. Making the case for malpractice comes down to proving three elements:
There are a few different forms of compensation that can be recovered in a legal malpractice case once it has been shown that malpractice has occurred. Of course, it is important that the plaintiff’s lawyer be able to demonstrate that the costs for which compensation is being sought are the direct result of the legal malpractice that was proven.
If your lawyer can prove a loss of value in the original case where the malpractice occurred, whether through losing the case or settling for less than you would have otherwise, then you may be able to receive compensation for those things. Additionally, from the original case, you may be able to receive compensation for any attorney’s fees or other legal fees.
It’s possible that you might receive punitive damages if there was something about your original attorney’s behavior that was particularly egregious or malicious. These are damages that act as a civil punishment against the lawyer and are hoped to be a deterrent against other lawyers acting similarly. These are rarely awarded, but in cases where there was intentional egregious behavior, then it’s possible that the court may choose to award them.
When you agree to work with an attorney, you are under the expectation that a certain level of professionalism, ethics, and service will be provided. We can understand how disappointing and frustrating it can be when these expectations aren’t met. When those shortcomings result in your case being lost or at least negatively impacted by the attorney’s behavior, then you do have legal standing to seek restitution. These cases, though, can often be some of the most complex because of all that needs to be proven to get a favorable verdict. To handle these cases does mean putting some faith in another lawyer, and we understand how that may be difficult to do. We are respectful of the frustration you are facing. We hope, though, that you will allow us to assist you in seeking compensation for the negligence of your past representation. Contact us today if you think you may have a legal malpractice claim.