People in every profession do things incorrectly from time to time, even though they have the best intentions. Although it’s an inconvenience or worse for you, it does happen. Things like that do not always signify someone’s inability to do their job.
What about errors made by your attorney? You rely upon that individual to guide you through the intricacies of your case, give you reliable, timely advice and vigorously represent you in court. You want and expect everything to be done right. As a client, you deserve that. However, if mistakes are made by your attorney, should they be classified as legal malpractice or get chalked up to simple human error?
Standards to apply when determining legal malpractice
There are a few elements to examine if you suspect legal malpractice by your attorney but are not sure. Ask yourself the following:
- Were you harmed by the error and can it be proven? For instance, an attorney missing a court appearance is very unfortunate and incredibly frustrating for you, but did it directly result in the loss of your case? Did you sacrifice a monetary judgment that otherwise would have come your way? Can you demonstrate that those setbacks for you came about because of your attorney’s actions?
- Does the mistake seem to have been caused by negligence by your attorney? Attorneys can only go by what they are aware of at a particular time. Looking back, it’s easy to say they could have or should have known something, but it might not have been possible at an earlier time. Ask yourself this question: Was the attorney’s conduct consistent or not with a reasonable level of professional behavior?
Consider the facts carefully before you act
If you do initiate a legal malpractice lawsuit, there is a lot to think over, like possibly hiring an expert to substantiate your claim of legal malpractice. You’ll also need qualified, experienced representation to help you prove your case.