Coronavirus (COVID-19) May Cause Surge in Legal Malpractice Claims After Pandemic is Over
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted every person’s life in some way.
The economy has come to a screeching halt. Most people are engaging in social distancing as recommended by government and health officials. Even our court systems have been drastically altered by this pandemic.
Recently, Connecticut governor Ned Lamont issued an executive order suspending “non-critical” court operations and associated requirements.
As soon as this order was issued, the legal community began debating the language and the effect that it had on attorney’s obligations and ability to litigate civil cases.
One thing became very clear.
Many attorneys disagreed on what this meant, and how to work within its restrictions.
Further, our courts do not have the infrastructure necessary to handle the number of hearings and cases under the new Coronavirus restrictions. Judges and other court staff would need to work from home and have sufficient video conferencing equipment to manage everything.
This has been most prevalent in the areas of employment law and personal injury, but almost all aspects of our civil and criminal system have been affected.
Our Connecticut legal malpractice lawyers can help you determine if you have a valid legal malpractice case.
Coronavirus and Statute of Limitations Suspensions for Filing Lawsuits
One of the most notable suspensions included in Governor Lamont’s order is the suspension of the statutes of limitations for bringing certain actions.
The statute of limitations is the time by which you must file your lawsuit.
According to the order, the suspension of many deadlines will remain in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 public health and civil preparedness emergency, unless otherwise modified by Governor Lamont. Attorneys must pay close attention to deadlines and understand what to do when this suspension is lifted.
There will likely be challenges, many of them frivolous, to the application of this order as one side or the other seeks to create doubt as to its validity in a particular. These will create some challenges for other lawyers when the client seeks our assistance to determine if they have a legal malpractice claim.
At this time, it is unclear when these suspensions will be lifted.
Lawyers Must Adhere to the Standard of Care Amid Pandemic
Coronavirus-related suspensions should not prevent attorneys from properly calculating statutes of limitations and other deadlines, and determining what steps are needed or advisable.
It should not prevent attorneys from properly tracking dates. An unwary attorney may very well rely on this suspension and miss an important deadline.
There may be situations where a lawyer later accused of malpractice claims the court or service by a Marshall was not possible.
Expect your attorney to be mindful of your case, work on it to the extent possible and keep you informed of possibilities and decisions.
Modern technology allows for attorneys to continue to engage in many aspects of litigation that occur outside the courtroom. Depositions and mediations are still able to go forward in certain situations using technology although a determination of which ones and under what procedural understanding will have to be negotiated. By cooperating with counsel discovery can move forward. For most cases, there will be little reason to stop action altogether.
More importantly, this pandemic does not excuse an attorney from making mistakes on your case.
Regardless of this pandemic, and the effect it has had on our court system, your cases must be monitored and properly handled by your attorney within the reasonable constraints we currently operate under.
Contact an Experienced Legal Malpractice Lawyer for Help
At Stanger Stanfield Law, we encourage everyone to stay safe, abide by social distancing, and do everything they can to help everyone get through this pandemic safely.
However, if your attorney has made a mistake on your case, missed a deadline, or otherwise mishandled your matter, we can help you understand your rights and what damages may be available.
Our team of legal malpractice lawyers has decades of experience pursuing legal malpractice claims against attorneys who mishandle a client’s case. If you or someone you know is concerned that their attorney has made a mistake, call us at (860) 561-0651 or send an online message today.
We can help.