An attorney is guilty of legal malpractice when they fail to perform their duties. The negligence of an attorney can have catastrophic consequences, like an innocent person losing their legal case and a significant amount of money. Because of this, victims of legal malpractice have the right to sue their attorney and recover damages from them. The price of this unlawful practice is high, and to be able to compensate the victims, law firms and solo attorneys purchase legal malpractice insurance.
What constitutes legal malpractice?
A person hires an attorney because they trust that they will do their best to represent them in court. However, attorneys can break that trust by failing to perform their duties. An attorney commits legal malpractice when:
- They miss the statute of limitations when filing a lawsuit
- They miss the court-ordered deadlines within a lawsuit
- They fail to show up at court
- They fail to gather the necessary information about a case
- They fail to inform their clients about important facts of their case
- They fail to respond to their clients when they need them
- They have a conflict of interest with their clients
- They lie to their clients
- They make decisions without the client’s consent
- They charge their clients excessive fees
An attorney’s negligence could result in a severe loss for the client, who has the right to sue the attorney to recover damages.
Legal malpractice insurance
Lawyers need to compensate their clients for their mistakes. Usually, this compensation has a high cost that attorneys would need to pay with their personal assets. To avoid significant losses, law firms and solo attorneys purchase legal malpractice insurance. The insurance coverage attorneys purchase depends on their practice area, the potential amount of damages and the number of cases they handle.
Not all insurance carriers cover legal malpractice cases, and not all legal malpractice policies are the same. Some of the policies only accept large firms, and others can cover for mediators and solo attorneys. However, all legal malpractice insurers must have a license from the insurance regulating authority.
Protection for the client
A client has the right to take legal action against a negligent attorney. The attorney’s malpractice insurance coverage ensures that their clients get paid the amount they deserve in the event of a lawsuit. If you were a victim of legal malpractice, you have the right to fight back and make your attorney compensate you for their mistakes.