West Palm Beach Legal Malpractice Lawyers
Malpractice Lawyers Provide Skilled Advice to Clients Harmed by Legal Malpractice in Palm Beach County
Claims for legal malpractice arise when a lawyer acts negligently or unethically, and, as a result, causes his or her clients to suffer harm. This harm can take on a variety of shapes, but the end result is that when a lawyer does not adhere to the strict standards developed by the American Bar Association and other governing bodies to protect people who rely upon a lawyer’s advice, clients suffer the resulting harm. This is simply unacceptable, and you may be entitled to recover compensation for that harm. At Lawlor, White & Murphey, our West Palm Beach legal malpractice lawyers are dedicated to holding lawyers who violate their clients’ trust responsible for their actions.
The attorney-client relationship receives privileged treatment for a reason—lawyers have access to your confidential information, and you trust them to protect your rights. If you have suffered harm because of legal malpractice that you believe was committed by a lawyer in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in South Florida, our reputable team of legal malpractice lawyers is here to help hold that lawyer accountable.
How to Establish that a West Palm Beach Lawyer Committed Malpractice
Lawyers can commit malpractice in any number of ways, resulting in harm to the client, such as in cases where:
- A lawyer’s negligent representation causes the client to lose a case
- The lawyer loses an important piece of evidence that reduces the compensation award a client should have rightfully received
- The lawyer misses a deadline
- The lawyer charges excessive fees
- The lawyer steals from the client
- The lawyer fails to properly inform the client of a course of action or its consequences
- The lawyer places his or her own best interests ahead of the client’s interests
Establishing whether your former attorney is responsible for legal malpractice first involves examining the standards that apply to lawyers operating within the profession. Lawyers are subject to what is known as a fiduciary responsibility to clients, which means that the lawyer has a heightened duty of care and is required to put the client’s best interests ahead of his or her own interests. To establish that a lawyer is responsible for legal malpractice, it is necessary to show:
- The lawyer’s legal duty of care to the client, usually established by proving that the attorney-client privilege existed
- What actions that the lawyer took (or failed to take) in representing the client
- How a reasonable lawyer would have acted under similar circumstances, with knowledge of all of the relevant facts
- The harm that you suffered as a result
- That the lawyer’s actions caused that harm
Lawlor, White & Murphey Legal Malpractice Lawyers Committed to Holding West Palm Beach Lawyers to High Ethical Standards
Not every case that is lost by a lawyer is lost because of legal malpractice, and not every unfavorable settlement award is obtained because the lawyer did something wrong. In legal malpractice cases, we work to show that the lawyer acted unacceptably, and therefore caused the adverse outcome. At Lawlor, White & Murphey, we know that you’re coming to us because another lawyer violated your trust, and are dedicated to proving that our lawyers are worthy of your trust. We will handle every aspect of your fight to recover compensation, including:
- Investigating your case to determine what actions taken by your lawyer may have adversely impacted your outcome
- Consulting with other lawyers to establish a baseline standard of how the lawyer should have acted to protect their client
- Locating and working with experts who can testify to the issues present in your underlying lawsuit
- Advocating for your rights with the lawyer’s legal malpractice insurance company
- Completing and filing all necessary documentation with the courts to pursue your claim for compensation
Call to Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today
Our West Palm Beach, FL Attorney Negligence Lawyers understand that if you’re coming to us to pursue a potential claim for legal malpractice, you may already be frustrated with the legal profession in general, and may be in serious need of the compensation relating to your original case. Call our offices today, or fill out this brief online contact form, to schedule a free initial consultation with our West Palm Beach legal malpractice lawyers today. Learn more about our West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers.
Frequently Asked Questions About West Palm Beach Legal Malpractice Claims
Florida law does not specifically impose a cap on compensatory damages with respect to legal malpractice cases. Despite this, Florida does cap damage awards in various types of cases, including medical malpractice cases, for example. If the underlying case involved is one that is subject to a cap, that same cap will apply with respect to your compensation award in a legal malpractice case relating to that original case. Otherwise, the amount of compensation you may recover will vary depending upon the facts of your case, the nature of the lawyer’s conduct and various other factors specific to your case. Our lawyers will fight vigorously to make sure you receive a full and fair compensation award so that the responsible lawyer is held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Punitive damages are generally only available in cases involving gross misconduct—so if your lawyer was only negligent, punitive damages designed to punish the lawyer for that negligence will not be available. If the lawyer committed some overt act to harm you—for example, by stealing from you or misusing your confidential information for personal gain—punitive damages may be available. Under Florida law, punitive damages are capped at a maximum of three times the amount of an award of compensatory damages, or $500,000 total (whichever is greater), unless the situation is especially egregious so calls for an exception to the general rule. Even if punitive damages are not available in your case, disciplinary action against the negligent lawyer may be taken by the state bar to which the lawyer is admitted, in addition to your right to recover other forms of compensatory damages.