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When does an attorney error justify a malpractice suit?

When you hire a New York attorney to represent you, you may count on this individual to prioritize your needs, advocate for your interests and otherwise give you your strongest shot at success in your case. Lawyers, like all professionals, are not immune to making mistakes. Yet, when your attorney makes certain types of mistakes, it may have a serious impact on the outcome of your case.

Per the American Bar Association, figuring out whether a legal malpractice claim has merit requires you to examine certain elements of your attorney-client relationship and your lawyer’s own actions. When deciding whether to move forward with a legal malpractice case, ask yourself the following three questions.

1. Did your lawyer exercise negligence?

Your attorney owes you a certain duty of care, but not every error constitutes legal malpractice. Try to put yourself in your lawyer’s shoes when the mistake occurred and ask yourself whether the error was reasonable, given the information your attorney had.

2. Did your lawyer’s negligence cause you harm?

Not every attorney’s mistake causes harm to the client, but some do. Your attorney has an obligation to adhere to appropriate dates and deadlines, and if he or she fails to do so and it hurts your case, this may constitute an example of an attorney’s negligence causing you harm.

3. Did the mistake lead to a significant loss?

The third question to ask when considering moving forward with a legal malpractice case is how much the attorney’s actions hurt or cost you. If the damages were significant, it may justify moving forward with your case.

While many variables come into play when determining whether legal malpractice occurred, asking these three questions should give you a sense of the strength of your case.