You went to your attorney and were checking on the state of your case when you found out that the attorney had never filed it at all. It was mixed up in paperwork they had on their desk, and your files never made it to the court.
In your case, this slip-up led to the statute of limitations running out. That means that there is likely no chance that you’ll be able to file your case or pursue a resolution for the problem you were having.
Legal mistakes can happen, but they aren’t always going to be considered malpractice. There’s no question that attorneys can and do make mistakes. They sometimes make mistakes that have serious consequences.
Whether or not you have a case largely comes down to if you suffered damages as a result of the error. For example, if you have a discrimination case but your attorney doesn’t file it on time, you may lose the right to file your case. In that situation, you may have real losses and be able to show that the attorney’s error was the cause.
Another thing to consider is if the attorney was negligent. Missing a deadline is probably negligent, for instance, because the majority of attorneys would not make this error.
Prior to pursuing litigation, you should decide if the damages were serious enough to push the situation further. It can be smart to talk to another attorney about establishing that your original attorney’s conduct was below the standard of care. You should also discuss the cost of pursuing litigation and if the award could outweigh those costs.
What should you do if you’re a victim of legal malpractice?
If you believe that you are a victim of legal malpractice, then it’s important to learn more about the laws that may affect your case. To prove a case like this, you will need to show that the attorney owed you a duty of skillful representation and breached that duty. You also need to show that the breach led to financial harm or injury and that you have financial losses from the situation.
It’s hard to deal with a situation like this, especially because an attorney you trusted didn’t do the job the way you expected. Fortunately, there are many competent attorneys with whom you can work. They can talk to you about your options and if pursing litigation is reasonable.