Few things in the legal world last indefinitely. Both the ability of the state to bring most kinds of criminal charges against an individual and the rights of individuals to hold others accountable for losses they cause are subject to restrictions.
Legal rules limiting how long state prosecutors and individuals can bring legal action against someone are called statutes of limitations. These laws mandate that people or prosecutors take action within a certain amount of time or lose the right to do so.
If you intended to bring a civil claim against someone who caused the car crash or whose derelict property caused a fatal injury to your loved one, you have an obligation to take action before the statute of limitations runs out. If your attorney failed to file necessary paperwork before the statute expired in your case, you may think that you are out of options. However, you can hold your attorney responsible for their failure to act and its impact on your life.
Attorneys have an obligation to properly manage their caseload
Attorneys have the highest legal standard of obligation to their clients. They have a fiduciary duty that requires that they put the interests of their client above their own. They also have the obligation to perform their job to basic professional standards.
Knowing the statute of limitations for a specific sort of case and ensuring that they complete and file all necessary paperwork well before that date are basic components of providing legal services to a client. Forgetting a deadline or just failing to complete paperwork on time means failing in the obligation to properly manage the case for the client and meet basic professional standards.
You have the right to hold attorneys accountable
Just as a medical professional has control over your health, the actions a lawyer takes or fails to take can have drastic implications for your legal and financial rights.
When an attorney fails in their representation of you in a way that causes verifiable harm, such as the lost rights to secure compensation from someone else, you can potentially bring a claim against that attorney for their negligence and legal malpractice.
Reviewing the circumstances that make you suspect malpractice in your case with an attorney familiar with legal malpractice claims can be a first step toward exploring whether your options ended when your case didn’t go to court. You may still have opportunities available to you.