Legal malpractice happens when you hire a legal professional to assist you and they negligently or intentionally make mistakes. They compromise your case. In fact, you may even lose a court case that you would have won if you would have had proper legal counsel.
But it doesn’t just mean going to court. Legal malpractice can happen in all sorts of areas, such as when writing up contracts. Say that you’re looking to make an offer on a new home, and you hire a lawyer to draft that offer for you. How could legal malpractice happen?
Missing important elements of the contract
One example would be if the contract doesn’t have key elements that you both wanted to have and instructed your lawyer to include. This could mean that, even if the contract is accepted, you don’t have all of the protections that you were looking for.
Many homebuyers use contingency clauses, for instance, such as a clause stating that the home has to pass inspection or they have to be approved for the mortgage. If these things don’t occur, even if their offer was accepted, they are not stuck in the deal. They are free to move on without penalty and without losing any earnest money.
But what if your lawyer forgot to include these clauses? You make the offer, thinking that it is contingent on a home inspection. The offer is accepted, the inspector goes through and they find some serious issues with the home. Maybe the roof needs to be replaced or the foundation is cracked.
You take the logical next step, telling the buyers that you want them to fix the problems or you’re going to walk away from the deal. But that’s when you find out that your lawyer forgot to put the contingency clause in place, and you are suddenly trapped in that offer, even though it no longer reflects what you wanted. This can cause you serious financial harm and, at best, it’s going to be complicated to sort out in court.
What are your options?
This is just one example of how legal malpractice could occur. If something like this has happened to you, be sure you know what legal options you have.