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What is a case-within-a-case?

Every legal malpractice case involves a case-within-a-case. The American Bar Association explains this means the case in which the defendant originally represented the plaintiff and spurred the legal malpractice case.

The case-within-a-case situation adds a layer of complexity to a legal malpractice case that you do not find in other types of cases.

First case

To prove a malpractice case, you have to prove that the attorney was negligent in the original case and that the outcome of that case would be different if the attorney did not make the same decisions or actions.

For example, if your attorney failed to introduce important evidence and if that evidence would have been presented, you would have won your case, then this is a good basis for a legal malpractice case. However, you have to prove this point to win the malpractice case.

Additional case

On top of having to show that you would have won your case if not for the negligent actions of your attorney, you also must prove your malpractice case. You will have to have a solid reason and evidence to provide the court that shows your attorney did something wrong or outside of the legal standards he or she should uphold.

Essentially, when it comes to legal malpractice, you need to present evidence for two cases. The court must consider two cases. While it will not rule on your original case, it will have to look over the case and consider the evidence you present and how the attorney’s actions played into the final outcome of that case. It becomes rather complex.