When you hired your attorney, you did so after speaking with several people about working with them in the past. They all said that the attorney was very popular and skilled.
What you didn’t expect was that they would be so popular that they wouldn’t have time for your case. They took the case, a retainer fee and said that they would get back to you. That was several weeks ago, and you still haven’t heard anything.
When you called to seek a response, the secretary told you that they knew you had called and would get back to you. You thought they actually sounded annoyed, even though you’ve been waiting for weeks on end to hear back. As if this poor communication wasn’t bad enough, you later found out that you could no longer file your case because too much time had passed. Now, you want to file a legal malpractice case against the attorney who failed to do their job.
What do you need to prove a case of legal malpractice?
The first thing you will need to prove is that the attorney owed you a duty to provide skillful and competent representation. What does this mean? It means that you should show that the attorney agreed to take on your case. If they agreed to take on the case and signed a contract with you, then there is no question that they owed you a duty when handling your legal issues.
Another thing you will need to prove is that the lawyer breached the duty by making a mistake or acting carelessly. For example, an attorney may have breached the duty by failing to submit important documents by a deadline or forgetting to attend a court date.
You will also need to show that the breach caused harm or injury along with financial loss. For example, by missing the statute of limitations, you may no longer be able to file a lawsuit to recover damages from a car accident.
In the end, an attorney has a responsibility to you once they take on your case. If they are not going to pay attention to the case, do their research, show up on time for court or submit documents in a timely manner, then they should not take on the case. Failing to provide you with a service is serious and may threaten your ability to make a claim in the future.