Facing any kind of legal action can make you suddenly very conscious of the people who really support you — and those who don’t. One thing that you should never have to ask, however, is whether your attorney has your best interests at heart.
However, when the attorney you hire to represent you is not on your side, it can have severe consequences for your legal case and your future. Here’s what to consider if you’re wondering if you are the victim of legal malpractice.
You need to show 3 things to prove legal malpractice
When you contract an attorney, they agree to do their best to represent you. They need to give it their best shot within the realms of the law. If they do not, either through negligence or intention, you may be able to hold them responsible if you lose. To do so, you will need to prove three things existed:
- You need to show an attorney has a fiduciary duty toward you: You need to prove they agreed to represent you. This is usually easy enough, via your contract.
- You need to show how the attorney breached their duty: Losing your case does not make an attorney guilty of legal malpractice. Failing to prepare for your court hearing might, however. Telling you that they have the experience to handle an area of law that they do not may also justify a claim.
- You need to show the attorney’s breach harmed you: Even if your attorney turned up late to court while hungover and unprepared for your hearing, it does not guarantee the success of a legal malpractice lawsuit. You need to demonstrate that your adverse outcome in court was tied to that poor representation.
Legal malpractice claims can be challenging to prove. Seek the help of a new attorney if you believe yours has breached their duty and caused you harm.