Most Common Legal Malpractice Claims
Just as doctors can be liable for medical errors that harm their patients, lawyers can be held responsible for mistakes they make that cause losses for their clients. Professional malpractice in the legal field is more common than many people realize, as demonstrated by American Bar Association statistics that rank these types of incidents. Though there are many breaches of the duty of care that an attorney owes to a client, some legal malpractice claims are more common than others. Here are a few that you should review to understand whether you have a case against a negligent lawyer.
Errors Regarding State or Federal Law
When an attorney overlooks or doesn’t understand the laws that impact your case, this failure may amount to legal malpractice. Failing to meet this standard may be grounds for a malpractice claim.
Failure to Plan Properly
Planning mistakes may happen when the attorney is knowledgeable of the facts and law, but makes an error in judgment in handling the client’s matter. Failure to properly plan often arises in tax cases, such as where a tax payer relied upon the lawyer’s advice and was penalized by the IRS after an audit reveals a problem.
Mistakes in Discovery of Information
This breach of duty relates to the facts of a case, as opposed to the law. It’s a lawyer’s obligation to investigate all relevant details that are legally available or accessible through readily available methods of discovery. The failure to uncover certain facts through careful investigation, in a situation where a reasonable attorney would have done so, there may be a claim for malpractice.
There are two situations where a missed deadline comes up in legal malpractice cases:
- Documents: In civil litigation, tax matters, and criminal cases, federal and state courts have strict deadlines for filing documents. The failure to prepare and properly file paperwork can have significant consequences for a client who relied upon an attorney to handle a case.
- Court Appearances: When you retain a lawyer to represent your interests in civil or criminal court, he or she is obligated to attend all court appearances on your behalf. Failure to properly calendar and cover hearings is grounds for a legal malpractice claim.
These are only two of many examples of many examples of a lawyer being liable for missed deadlines. In either scenario, a client can suffer financial losses or – even worse – be sentenced to considerable criminal penalties.
Talk to an Attorney About Legal and Other Professional Malpractice
These are just a few examples of issues that may allow a client to recover for an attorney’s negligence, but there are many more scenarios. Your biggest challenge if you don’t have a legal background may be recognizing that malpractice is a factor, because so of these breaches of duty are complex. If you would like more information or want to discuss your situation with an experienced legal malpractice lawyer, please contact the law firm of Stanger Stanfield Law today. We can schedule a consultation to review your case and available options.