A legal malpractice lawsuit is based on an allegation that a lawyer negligently performed legal services on behalf of a client in an underlying claim or legal matter.
Possible forms of Legal Malpractice
1.Missing a statute of limitation
2.Failing to properly advise a client about the details of a settlement
3.Failing to sue the right defendants
4. Failing to advise a client of a corollary claim, such as a worker’s compensation claim, personal injury claim, or claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits.
5. Failing to obtain full information about a client’s injuries and damages (medical treatment, lost wages, and other recoverable damages).
failing to disclose witnesses
Improperly wrote a will or trust
Failed to inform a client about a claim
Failed to hire experts for a trial
Engaged in a conflict of interest
How to prevent Legal Malpractice
1. Be complete!
2. Be completely honest. (lawyer-client privilege)
3. Be clear in your objectives.
4. Ask questions!
5. Be involved.
Comment and questions
How far immunity extends?-------If there was a reasonable difference of opinion on the value of your case and you accepted a settlement, the lawyer is most likely not liable for malpractice. There must be mishandling of the case by the lawyer, not just a difference of opinion on case value.
The failure to act according to the standard of care is often referred to as a “breach of duty,” or a “deviation from the standard of care.” This alone is not enough to support a lawsuit for legal malpractice. The client must also have damages caused by the lawyer’s breach of duty in order to have a valid claim for legal malpractice.
If a lawyer mishandled your case and the mishandling of the case forced you to settle for less than the value the case would have had but for the lawyer’s mishandling, the lawyer can be liable.
A lawyer is not liable for mistakes in professional judgment. “Professional judgment” can cover a multitude of sins.
1.Slow and cost a lot of time
2. the position is still unclear = how far immunity should extend
3.open to further litigation = there may be another appeal
Barristers are not allowed to sue for their fees. To balance this, a barrister can not be sued for negligent conduct of a case in court not for negligent preparation at the pre-trial stage.
Question for Everyone
If I have Settled My Case. Can I Still Sue My Lawyer?