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Legal Malpractice FAQ's
What Do You Mean By "Legal Malpractice"?
Legal malpractice refers to the negligence of a lawyer while representing a client. An attorney is negligent when he or she fails to use reasonable care under the circumstances. To recover on a claim of legal malpractice, you have to show not only that your lawyer was negligent but also that you suffered damage because of that negligence. Typically that involves proving that you would have won your case had your lawyer not been negligent.
How Long Do I Have to Sue My Lawyer for Legal Malpractice?
Generally speaking, you have two years to sue your attorney for legal malpractice, but knowing exactly when the two-year clock starts to run can be tricky. The safest course of action is to consult with a lawyer, experienced in handling legal-malpractice claims, as quickly as possible. Once knowing all of the facts, your new lawyer can advise you as to exactly when the applicable statute of limitations will run.
What Kinds of Actions Constitute Legal Malpractice?
Whether your attorney has been negligent depends a great deal on the facts of each case. While it is impossible to list all circumstances that could give rise to a legal malpractice claim, some more typical scenarios include when your attorney misses an important deadline in the case, such as a statute of limitations, or fails to properly research the facts or the law governing your claim.
How Long Will My Legal Malpractice Case Last?
Cases vary considerably in their duration, which is influenced by many factors, including the complexity of the underlying claim and the eagerness of the defendant or his or her insurance company to cooperate. While some cases can be settled fairly quickly, the average legal malpractice case typically takes two to three years from filing to judgment.
Who Will Decide Whether and How Much I Win?
In Florida, you have the right to a trial by jury if you so choose. After hearing the evidence from witnesses and documents, the jury will decide how much, if any, money damages you are entitled to recover. In all cases, it is the judge who will rule on issues of law and tell the jury what evidence it is allowed to consider.