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Reviewing Legal Malpractice: When Errors Constitute Negligence

Nobody's perfect and mistakes happen in every profession and all walks of life. But when your attorney commits substantive errors and omissions that are responsible for a detrimental outcome to your case, he may be guilty of legal negligence. In these situations, you might have a viable legal malpractice claim.

Types of Potential Negligence Errors

Lawyers owe their clients a duty of care. As a legal client, you can expect your attorney and his staff to dedicate the time and focus necessary to provide the most effective counsel possible. This covers a lot of ground, but at its core, it requires attention to detail and a commitment to efficiency.

Some common legal errors that may cross the line into negligence include the following:

Inaccurate understanding and/or application of the applicable law - Continuing Legal Education (CLE) is a necessity for attorneys to ensure they remain well-apprised of the law and any applicable changes. A failure to meet this requirement may result in significant errors due to a failure to recognize amendments and modifications to existing law. If your lawyer applies old law and outdated knowledge to your claim on standards and rulings that have changed, this is likely to lead to a very poor outcome for your case.

Inadequate investigation and discovery - An attorney who "wings it" is doing his clients a disservice. It's imperative that your lawyer, his staff, and/or hired experts perform adequate investigation and discovery roles to fulfill important objectives:

  • Develop your legal strategy
  • Identify potential issues and problems with your claim, and
  • Uncover vulnerabilities and errors in the opposing party's legal arguments.

Planning errors and omissions - If your lawyer has the necessary understanding, experience, and skill to provide you with an acceptable standard of legal counsel, he must apply this knowledge and know-how to case planning and strategy. A failure to do so can easily lead to a poor outcome due to negligence.

Gross administrative errors - Attention to detail, careful planning, and continued oversight on your case would prevent numerous clerical and administrative errors that could otherwise sink your claim. Some examples are:

  • Clerical/stenographic/transcription errors
  • Document filing errors
  • Calendar errors
  • Deadline issues and omissions
  • Lost/missing evidence, files, and documents
  • Inaccurate mathematical calculations
  • Procrastination and lack of follow-up

Failure to obtain client consent - You have the right to be fully informed about the state of your case, offers, negotiations, plea bargains, case strategy, and more. If your attorney makes decisions and acts without informing you and obtaining your prior consent, this could be legal negligence.

If you suspect that you have received negligent legal counsel, you may be able to recover damages to compensate you for your losses by ways of a legal malpractice claim. Contact an established legal malpractice attorney in Colorado to discuss your unique situation.

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