How do I know when legal malpractice occurs?
When sworn in to become a member of the Bar, an attorney vows to uphold the law and maintain ethical standards that are beyond reproach. He or she also commits to being diligent in the pursuit of their client’s legal claims. However, what if your attorney deviates from this oath? What if, due to your attorney’s lack of due diligence or competency, you lose your case or worse yet, your case is thrown out? You may have a viable cause of action for malpractice against your former counsel.
An attorney commits legal malpractice when he or she does not meet his or her legal obligation as an attorney. A case alleging malpractice may include one or more of the following scenarios:
• Your attorney does not diligently perform his or her duties. The attorney may fail to investigate your claim or make mistakes in court amounting to grave or serious errors.
• Your attorney misappropriates your funds. In this scenario, your attorney may have misused the money you have paid or does not perform the work for which you have paid.
• Your attorney lets the statute of limitations for your case expire. This means your case will not be heard and there is no additional remedy for you to recover any losses or compensation for injury or damages.
• Your attorney fails to act in a timely fashion. Your attorney may not respond in a timely manner or at all to motions. Alternatively, your attorney may not make required court appearances. Both instances may result in a default judgment against you.
• Your attorney breaches his or her fiduciary duties owed to you. In the event there is a conflict of interest or similar situation, your attorney may do what is in his or her best interest while neglecting your interests.