Was your attorney negligent in handling your case? Did you miss out on compensation you were rightfully owed? Did your attorney fail to file your claim within the statute of limitations? If so, you may be able to file a legal malpractice lawsuit against them. Below, we’re going to describe which damages you can sue your former lawyer for and what you should do if you experience legal malpractice.
What is Legal Malpractice?
Legal malpractice is when an attorney fails to act reasonably and responsibly while representing their client. As such, common examples of legal malpractice may include:
- 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
- Charging an excessive fee
- Commits fraud by lying to you about their experience
- And more
How is Legal Malpractice Determined?
When it comes to determining whether or not an attorney committed legal malpractice, the court will look at several key components before ruling on your case. These include:
- 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.
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 were in need of 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. Emotional losses may include stress, anxiety and even depression.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Legal Malpractice Claim in Florida?
In Florida, 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.
What do I Need for My Legal Malpractice Case?
In order to successfully bring forth a legal malpractice claim against your former attorney, you will need to:
- Establish that there was an attorney-client relationship
- Provide evidence of communication with your lawyer, or attempts to communicate with him/her
- Provide evidence from your original case
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 needs to be done to help you reach the outcome you deserve.
Contact A Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Legal Malpractice Case Today
Were you or a loved one wrong by a negligent lawyer? You have rights. When you go to hire a lawyer, you do so with the expectation that they will help you. When they fail to do so, they must be held accountable for their negligence. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients in legal malpractice cases in Broward, Dade, Palm Beach Counties, and throughout Florida. Call 954-525-2345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 as well as offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Pompano Beach and Plantation.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.