New Yorkers who retain an attorney for legal matters expect to receive quality representation. However, lawyers sometimes make mistakes just like anyone else. It’s important to know when mistakes might be considered legal malpractice.
What is legal malpractice?
An attorney is considered to have committed legal malpractice if they fail to perform what’s reasonably expected from them based on their normal services and a client suffers damages as a result. Like other professionals, lawyers are held to a high standard and are expected to perform their jobs in an ethical manner. Legal malpractice doesn’t mean that the attorney failed to win their client’s case.
How can you prove legal malpractice?
There are certain elements that must be proven in a case involving legal malpractice. Those elements are based on the theory of negligence. If the attorney behaved in a negligent manner, it means that they breached their duty to their client. The attorney’s actions must have also violated the Rules of Professional Conduct as set forth by the American Bar Association.
You would need to prove the following elements in a legal malpractice case:
• Your attorney had a duty to competently represent you in your legal claim
• Your attorney behaved negligently or made a mistake that breached the duty they had to you
• The attorney’s actions caused you harm, resulting in a loss of money
For example, if you suffered injuries after a slip and fall accident, your attorney would have to make sure to file your claim within the statute of limitations for such a case. However, the attorney has many cases and fails to file within that time frame, leaving you unable to have the case heard by the court. This would be considered an act of legal malpractice and you would have a claim against the attorney.
Legal malpractice can cause you serious harm. Holding the at-fault attorney liable is wise.