Meta Tags: Lawyers accidentally commit mistakes. And of course, mistakes have consequences. Definitively, a viable claim in legal malpractice will turn on the facts of the case. This article will discuss three (3) basic things to take into consideration in knowing if an attorney’s mistake justifies a lawsuit for legal malpractice.
These questions will make it clear for everyone whether a lawsuit will prosper or not:
- Was the lawyer negligent or not? Oftentimes, client makes a due diligence on the actions of a lawyer with the comprehensive advantage of hindsight, but to know negligence, you have to put yourself in the shoes of a lawyer when the so-called “mistake” occurred. Unreasonable decisions at the time may seem to be foolhardy with the advantage of hindsight. Nor is every lawyer expected to be Perry Mason. Instead, lawyers by nature must act in coherence with the community norms and standards of care. To be simple, not every mistake reflects a breach of duty of care.
- Did the said mistake resulted in damage or not? This is the point where the rubber meets the road in terms of legal malpractice suits. Even when a lawyer committed an apparent mistake, the same must have injured his client. A basic example of negligence is a lawyer who did not file the lawsuit prior to the statute of limitations lapsed. Even if it turned to be an inexcusable error, it manifests a probable claim for legal malpractice only if said client proves to a “legal certainty”, he or she would have won the case had it been filed on time. Also, the client must also prove the amount of money he or she would have won and said judgement proves to be collectible.
- Were the damages significant or not? It is a known fact that legal malpractice are a bit pricey since one is essentially litigating two (2) cases: the case on legal malpractice and the original underlying case. To add to the legal fees and charges, the client will surely have to need an expert to always establish that the conduct of the attorney fell below the very standard of human care and diligence. In other words, the economic must justify the fees and charges of pursuing such litigation.
Whether mistakes gets in the realm of legal malpractice will turn on a host of other parameters, but maintaining these fundamental questions in mind is a fair start when analyzing. At the end of the day, the mistake shall be justified and shall be within the bounds of malpractice in order to be viable and might result into a positive outcome for a lawsuit.