A bad or incompetent attorney reflects poorly on the entire legal profession. If a client has been the victim of legal malpractice, there is more that he or she can do than simply complain about their attorney and representation. They can file a lawsuit against the attorney for legal malpractice – but there are specific rules to follow. Just as doctors and hospitals carry liability insurance for medical malpractice claims, lawyers and their firms carry legal malpractice insurance. If the attorney in question is a member of a law firm rather than a sole practitioner, the firm becomes part of the litigation. An experience legal malpractice lawyer can help a client receive compensation because of the actions of a negligent attorney.
The client must prove that actual harm occurred because of the negligent actions of the former attorney. Basically, you must show that your case would not have turned out the way it did because of your attorney’s actions or inactions. The greatest challenge is proving that, had your lawyer performed his or her duties correctly, you would have won the case. Because that burden of proof is so high, many legal malpractice cases are not pursued.
However, there are many instances in which legal malpractice does not revolve around a lawsuit and its outcome. For example, if your prior attorney committed financial legal malpractice, that’s a different situation. It is easier to prove an attorney misused funds in a trust account, or spent a client’s funds for personal use, than determining whether or not a lawsuit should have turned out differently. In these situations, the attorney may face disbarment along with criminal prosecution. Theft is theft, whether a burglar breaks into your home or an attorney embezzles from a client’s account.
It is important to note that once a former client sues an attorney for legal malpractice, the attorney/client privilege is no longer in effect. That usually means anything you told your previous attorney may be divulged.
Statute of Limitations
Colorado law requires that all legal malpractice claims are filed within two years of the time the client new – or should have known – that the former attorney was negligent. That means if you feel your former attorney was negligent, you must contact a legal malpractice attorney to review your case and then file a lawsuit within a reasonable timeframe. Collecting evidence and building a case takes a considerable amount of time.
If you believe you are a victim of legal malpractice, call the Viorst Law Offices for a free initial consultation at 888-371-2803. We will evaluate your case and let you know your options going forward.