7 Common Examples of Legal Malpractice
Lawyers, like all professionals, owe their clients a duty of care. However, when lawyers make mistakes, they can cost their clients large sums of money and compromise their rights.
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Examples of Legal Malpractice
Taking a case with no experience or training. Not all lawyers are prepared to handle every type of legal dispute. For example, a person who practices only divorce law might make critical mistakes when handling a car accident case. When your inexperienced lawyer makes an error that a seasoned lawyer wouldn’t, you might have a legal case for lawyer malpractice.
Failing to meet deadlines. Lawyers must meet tight deadlines set either by a court or by the law. Any blown deadline can cost their clients dearly. For example, Connecticut has a statute of limitations that gives injured victims a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit. If your lawyer waits too long, then you lose out on the ability to hold the defendant accountable.
Failing to learn the facts of the case. Most lawsuits are 10% law and 90% facts. A lawyer who does not learn all of the facts cannot adequately represent your interests. For example, a lawyer might not learn where you fell before bringing a slip and fall lawsuit. At trial or in settlement negotiations, the lawyer could make critical errors that cost you money.
Contractual inconsistencies. Careless attorneys can draft contracts that contain inconsistent provisions. These inconsistencies can end up costing the client thousands of dollars and make it hard to win a lawsuit. For example, your lawyer might include two different deadlines for when a vendor needs to deliver goods to you.
Failing to communicate with clients. Lawyers owe their clients an ethical duty to keep them notified of what is happening in their case. As the client, you have the final say on important matters, such as whether to file a lawsuit or when to accept a settlement. If your lawyer does not keep you updated, then they cannot adequately represent your wishes.
Settling too soon. Your lawyer should negotiate a settlement only once all of your damages are known. In short, you should reach maximum medical improvement so that you can calculate the full economic losses associated with your injury. If the lawyer negotiates a settlement too soon, they can leave money on the table.
Initiating litigation without a reasonable basis. Connecticut judges do not like people filing frivolous lawsuits to harass people. Instead, lawyers must perform a reasonable investigation to determine whether valid grounds exist for filing a lawsuit. Obviously, a lawyer cannot uncover all evidence before filing, but they cannot file an obviously meritless case. If they do, their client could be sued for vexatious litigation.
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Incompetent and negligent lawyers hamper the state’s justice system. If you believe that you are a victim of legal malpractice mentioned above, we want to hear from you.