5 Situations Not Considered Legal Malpractice in Florida
Florida legal malpractice occurs when a lawyer handles a client matter in a way that is negligent. In order to have a full and meaningful understanding of legal malpractice in Florida, it is important to understand that not every mistake by a Florida lawyer constitutes legal malpractice. Indeed, five particular situations aid in understanding that not all errors by an attorney equates to malpractice.
Failure to Win a Case
With some regularity, a person can be heard complaining that a lawyer is guilty of malpractice because the attorney lost a case. In fact, failing to win a case does not always equate to malpractice. Indeed, it rarely does. An attorney must exercise reasonable care in handling a case, not perfect care. Even when the lawyer has used reasonable care, a case can still be lost due to other factors relating to lack of or conflicting evidence or the use of strategy that proved to be unsuccessful.
Failure to Return All Phone Calls
An attorney must communicate with a client in a reasonable manner. It can be frustrating, to say the least, when an attorney fails to pick up the phone when you call or fails to return your call immediately. But an attorney is not obligated to return every phone call from a client immediately, particularly when the client’s calls may be excessive (and many times understandably so, given the stress of litigation or of the injury or event that led to such litigation). In this type of situation, the attorney does not commit malpractice by reasonably regulating the manner in which he or she communicates with a client.
Violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility
An attorney must abide by a specific code of professional conduct. A violation of the code may mean that a lawyer is also guilty of negligence. However, a violation of certain rules of professional conduct does not automatically mean that a lawyer committed malpractice.
Absence of Attorney and Client Relationship
An attorney is not guilty of legal malpractice if no attorney and client relationship exists. For example, if another person in a social setting asks an attorney a question, and the attorney makes clear he or she is neither giving advice nor representing the questioner, the lawyer cannot later face a malpractice claim.
Lawyer Withdraws from Representation
Provided an attorney follows the guidelines set forth in the rules for professional conduct when withdrawing from representing a client, quitting a case does not constitute malpractice in and of itself.
Retain Legal Malpractice Attorneys in Florida
If you believe you may have been the victim of attorney malpractice, you should schedule an initial consultation with legal malpractice attorneys in Tampa.
A legal malpractice lawyer can assist in discerning whether or not you have a case for legal malpractice.