Individuals and businesses alike hire lawyers to handle complex legal matters. Whether you need to defend your business against a product defect claim or defend yourself against allegations of criminal misconduct, your lawyer will play a key role in protecting you, your assets and your rights as you navigate the legal system.
Unfortunately, not every attorney provides proper representation and support to their clients. When lawyers fail in their obligations to their clients, they open themselves up to legal malpractice claims. Like medical malpractice, legal malpractice involves an educated professional failing to uphold professional standards, industry ethics or the law.
Although legal malpractice claims may seem intimidating for plaintiffs affected by poor legal representation, the potential compensation may make the effort worthwhile.
Lawyers carry insurance for malpractice claims
Just like doctors carry coverage to protect themselves from allegations of medical malpractice, so too do attorneys carry coverage to protect their finances if a client claims that they offered inadequate counsel.
The companies that provide such coverage recently reported an increase in the amount they must pay out on successful claims. How much a company pays out for legal malpractice claims will vary from case to case, but almost half of the top insurance companies that provide professional liability insurance for lawyers have paid out at least one claim over $300 million. In fact, all but one of the 11 leading national insurance carriers have paid a single claim worth more than $50 million.
It is worth noting that the largest claims involved lawyers representing businesses, such as other insurance companies.
What are actionable forms of legal malpractice?
Recognizing the financial value of a malpractice claim is only the first step in the process. You will also need to build a claim by showing that your attorney did that meet certain professional standards.
Common examples of legal malpractice include not notifying clients of a conflict of interest, taking on cases in an area of law in which the lawyer has little knowledge or experience, making major mistakes during court proceedings, giving inaccurate advice or failing to arrive to court hearings.
Businesses and individuals that suffer legal and financial setbacks because of a lawyer’s professional failings can potentially bring an insurance claim against an attorney or possibly even take them to court in a legal malpractice lawsuit. Learning more about legal malpractice claims may help you see the value in pursuing justice when your attorney hurts your case rather than helping you overcome your legal challenges.