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Dealing with a neglectful attorney: Legal malpractice

Your life was destroyed when the car accident happened. Your only goal now is to get compensation for your losses. With so little left to lose, you know that you have to make a future with what you can and make sure those who cost you your loved one pays.

When you choose an attorney to work with to achieve your goal, you want to make sure the person you choose is ethical and knowledgeable. An attorney who commingles funds or who doesn't respect your confidentiality could cause you to lose a case. When negligence results in the loss of your case, you can file a claim for legal malpractice.

Commingling funds is one issue that some clients discover their attorneys are participating in. This is not ethical, because it mixes the funds of the beneficiary, client, ward or employer with the attorney's own. This is generally a breach of fiduciary responsibility.

A lack of communication may also be a kind of malpractice. For example, if you call your attorney on Aug. 1, you expect the attorney to get back to you relatively quickly. If you still have heard nothing within a week or two or hear nothing after repeated attempts to call, then legal malpractice may be to blame.

Attorneys may not act fraudulently or deceptive in advertising. For instance, if you call an attorney and he guarantees that you will win a case, that's unethical. There is no guarantee, only a high chance that you could win your case. If an attorney promises this, it's a good idea to get a second opinion.

Source: FindLaw, "What are Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility?," accessed Aug. 03, 2017

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