Has a Florida attorney handled your case in a negligent manner? Did it cause you injury?
If so, you may be able to file a legal malpractice lawsuit against them. In this post, we’re going to describe what damages you can sue your ex-lawyer for.
First let’s look at what it takes to have a winning case.
Understanding the Legal Malpractice Laws of Florida
If an attorney acts with negligence that causes losses for you, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them.
How can you prove that they are guilty of malpractice and should be held liable?
The court will look at several key components before ruling on your case:
- Did the attorney owe you a duty of care?
- Did he or she breach this duty through negligence or misconduct?
- Did this breach create financial harm for you?
- Are the financial losses you suffered due to the breach eligible for compensation?
It is worth noting that not every negative situation warrants a legal malpractice case. For example, if your attorney is seen in a social environment with the other party’s attorney, this does not necessarily indicate a breach in the attorney-client privilege. Likewise, simply being disappointed with your case’s outcome is not grounds to sue your lawyer – an attorney cannot guarantee a case’s outcome even if he or she does everything correctly.
Here are some common examples of behavior that does qualify as legal malpractice:
- Not attending to the case details in a timely manner
- Failure to file the case in court
- Failure to meet court deadlines
- Failure to file within the statute of limitations
- Failure to check your case for conflicting information
- Incorrectly applying the law to your case
- Making settlements without your consent
- Violating the attorney-client privilege
- Mishandling the funds in retainer
A judge will be willing to hear a case that has reliable, specific evidence to show proof of the charges.
Types of Damages in a Legal Malpractice Lawsuit
A legal malpractice lawsuit cannot contain punitive damages, and it does not compensate you for new attorney fees for the new case. However, you are allowed to seek damages for any fees you incurred in hiring another lawyer to remedy the previous situation. What other types of damages can you claim?
If your attorney failed to complete your requests in a timely manner, you may have had to pay more in your original case due to their actions. You can be compensated for these economic losses in a legal malpractice case.
If you had to take time off work to remedy errors your lawyer made or to find another attorney to take over your case, you may be able to receive lost income damages.
Loss of Income Potential
Beyond things like missing work, your lawyer’s mistakes may have also prevented you from earning the best income available to you. If this is the case, you can recover the difference in a legal malpractice lawsuit.
In some cases, an attorney’s misconduct can cause you to suffer physical ailments. If you needed to seek medical care for your suffering, you can recover damages for your medical expenses.
If you suffered emotional distress due to your lawyer’s mishandling of your case, you could receive financial compensation for your emotional losses.
Why Floridians Wronged by a Lawyer Should File a Legal Malpractice Claim
If you have suffered due to an attorney’s negligence or misconduct, the only way to get the compensation you deserve is through a legal malpractice lawsuit. This is just one reason to file a claim, though.
When you hire a lawyer, you expect them to handle your case with professionalism and skill. If your attorney didn’t live up to his or her side of the bargain, it is a black eye for the entire profession, and they need to be held accountable for their actions so they don’t treat others in the same way. The experienced Florida legal malpractice attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey can help.
Legal malpractice lawsuits can be a long, hard fight. It’s not something you should attempt on your own. A knowledgeable lawyer who has successfully represented clients in other legal malpractice lawsuits will know exactly what need to be done to help you reach the outcome you deserve.
Your new attorney will carefully comb through the details of your case and determine if there is enough evidence to enable you to receive damages. Your lawyer will also be able to tell you what kind of damages you can expect in your particular situation.
Don’t hesitate to consult with a malpractice attorney if you believe you qualify for damages. You have two years from the original judgment to file a legal malpractice lawsuit. The sooner you consult with a new attorney, the more time your attorney will have to gather evidence that supports your charges.
About the Author:
Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.