Can I Sue My Lawyer For Negligence?
Like all professionals, lawyers owe their clients a duty of care. And like all professionals, sometimes lawyers make mistakes. If you believe your lawyer has made a mistake on your case which has caused you to suffer damages, you can sue the lawyer in order to receive the compensation the lawyer should have gotten you in your case.
If you are considering suing your lawyer for negligence, ask the following questions:
What Standard of Care Must a Lawyer Meet?
Lawyers are not required to be perfect. They aren’t even required to win your case. Instead, lawyers must use the care, skill, and diligence that other lawyers in the community commonly possess.
Often, you will need another lawyer to provide expert testimony about whether your lawyer used the necessary care and skill. When lawyers fall below this standard of care, they have committed legal malpractice.
What are Some Examples of Legal Malpractice?
Malpractice cases are very fact specific. A lot depends on what the lawyer knew or should have known. However, we tend to see common mistakes that lawyers make over and over, including:
- Inaccurate billing
- Missed deadlines
- Failing to communicate with the client
- Settling a lawsuit without the client’s consent
- Giving inaccurate legal advice
- Stealing or losing money or property that belongs to the client
- Incompetently drafting legal documents that do not protect your rights
If you suspect that your lawyer made a mistake that has harmed you, you might have a legal malpractice case.
Have I Suffered an Injury?
In order to have a successful legal malpractice case, it is not enough to say your lawyer screwed up. Additionally, you must have suffered damages.
Typically, injured clients suffer financial losses as a result of legal malpractice. For example, your lawyer might have missed a deadline in your car accident case, leading to your case being dismissed. Had the lawyer properly filed your paperwork, you would have been able to pursue compensation for the injuries you suffered in the collision. In a legal malpractice lawsuit, you can ask for the compensation you would have received but for your lawyer’s negligence.
Realize that the courts do not entertain legal malpractice cases just to tell lawyers they are bad at their jobs. However, you can always file a complaint with the state’s grievance committee if you think your lawyer is unethical. If you think your lawyer has committed a crime, you can also call the police to investigate.
What Evidence Should I Collect?
Before pursuing a legal malpractice case, pull together all relevant documents and information. For example, collect communications between you and your lawyer as well as information about the case that led you to hire the lawyer in the first place. For example, if you hired a lawyer to draft a marital separation agreement, find your copy of the agreement. Additionally, your lawyer is required to maintain a copy of your entire file, and give you notice before they destroy it. If you have a legal malpractice case you should obtain your file or hire an attorney who will obtain it for you.
Speak with a Legal Malpractice Lawyer in Hartford, Connecticut
Legal malpractice cases are complicated. There are not many legal malpractice lawyers, and if they do, very few have the experience of our firm. At Stanger Stanfield, we believe that injured clients deserve fair compensation for injuries suffered because of negligent legal representation.
To see if you have a valid legal case, contact us today for a free consultation.