Legal malpractice is when an attorney who was hired by a client does something that causes injury to the client.A client may file a civil lawsuit against his or her attorney.Criminal charges may be applied if the attorney is engaged in criminal activity.The attorney can be reported to the state board that regulates them.Malpractice lawsuits can be difficult to win if there is fraud or carelessness.You can win a legal malpractice suit if you can prove the relationship between attorney and client, the negligent actions of the attorney, and the damage that was caused.
Step 1: Legal malpractice is defined.
Your attorney must have been negligent or careless in handling your legal matter in order to be found guilty of legal malpractice.The attorney must have failed to provide adequate legal representation that another attorney would provide in a similar situation.Failing to file documents or missing a filing deadline can be examples of legal malpractice.
Step 2: There is a statute of limitations.
All lawsuits, including legal malpractice suits, are subject to a statute of limitations.State to state, the statute of limitation varies.You will not be able to pursue your claim if you don't file your lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations.
Step 3: Hire a legal malpractice attorney.
It's not easy to prove legal malpractice.If you want to win a legal malpractice lawsuit, you need a good attorney.Look for an attorney who won't charge you a retainer fee.A retainer is a large sum of money charged by attorneys to take your case.Many personal injury attorneys work on contingency, meaning they won't collect fees unless you win your case.If you're having trouble finding a lawyer who will handle your legal malpractice case, you can ask for a referral from your local bar association.
Step 4: The attorney-client relationship should be established.
You have to show that your previous attorney owed you a duty.You have to show that the attorney represented you in a legal matter.If you can prove that an attorney owed you a specific duty of care, then you've established that the relationship existed.You should be able to find a copy of the agreement you signed when you hired the attorney.If you don't have a copy of the document, your attorney can request it from your former attorney through the discovery process.Records of payment and bills are further evidence of the attorney-client relationship.Copies of any correspondence between you and your attorney or another attorney.Provide proof that you made payments to the attorney, such as copies of checks or bank statements.
Step 5: The attorney acted negligently.
You will have to show that the attorney's representation didn't meet the standard of care.The attorney's actions failed to meet the level of competency, skill, and care that is commonly exercised by attorneys in similar conditions and circumstances.Failing to meet court deadlines or statutes of limitations, stealing or misusing money that the attorney kept in trust for you, failing to disclose or resolve conflicts of interest, and improper withdrawal of representation are examples of what your attorney did or did not do.If you can show that your attorney violated the rules of professional conduct in your state, you may be able to prove that he negligently represented you.If the negligent is more difficult to prove, you may wish to use expert witness testimony.An expert can define the legal standard of care if there is no obvious incident to point out.Sometimes it is not malpractice to lose a case or make a clerical error in documents that were filed with the court.In order to respond to allegations of malpractice, a lawyer can use previously privileged communications between you and your attorney.
Step 6: Show that you would have won the case.
You have to prove that your attorney's carelessness caused you to lose your case.Had the attorney not been negligent, you would have won your case.Only the state of Ohio requires this requirement to prove a legal malpractice claim.It can be hard to win a legal malpractice claim based on weak or questionable evidence.
Step 7: Show how that carelessness hurt you.
Depending on your case, this information will be different.You need to show how the attorney's actions led to your injuries.You should show how your attorney's negligent actions contributed to the sentence.If you were on trial for murder and your attorney didn't object to the murder weapon being introduced into evidence, that's a problem.You may be able to show that you were found guilty because of legal malpractice.Financial losses occurred as a result of your attorney's carelessness.Records of monetary or property loss that you suffered in a civil proceeding or divorce case due to your attorney's legal malpractice can be provided.
Step 8: The extent of the injury was established.
You need to show exactly what happened to the attorney.It's possible to be as specific as possible.You have to show the amount of money, time or property that you lost.The injury would not have occurred if the attorney had acted negligently.
Step 9: The attorney judgment rule should be taken into account.
If your attorney acted in good faith at the time of your representation, he or she won't be held liable for legal malpractice.The consequences of negligent or fraudulent actions are not protected by this.
Step 10: The attorney-client privilege is no longer applicable.
Any statements you make to your attorney while he or she is representing you are completely confidential.Your attorney wouldn't be able to tell anyone else anything you said.The attorney is no longer bound by the privilege when he is sued for legal malpractice.Anything you say can be used by the attorney to defend himself or herself.
Step 11: It is difficult to win claims against criminal defense attorneys.
You have to prove that your attorney was negligent in handling the criminal case and that you were not guilty of the crime.This can be very difficult since you were convicted of the crime.It is important that you consult with an experienced legal malpractice attorney before you file a lawsuit if you are in this situation.If you want to win a legal malpractice claim against a criminal defense attorney, that attorney can advise you on how to do it.
Step 12: It may be difficult to trust a new lawyer.
If you want to win a legal malpractice claim, you must hire an experienced attorney.You may be reluctant to hire a new attorney since you believe that your previous attorney negligently handled your case and caused you injury.You should check out your attorney's character and reputation through the state bar association.California lawyers can be board certified in legal malpractice law.If you are in California, you may want to choose a certified attorney as he or she is likely to have more experience and training in this field.
Step 13: It's difficult to prove significant damages.
You still have to prove that your attorney acted negligently in representing you, even if you have presented enough proof.To support a damages claim, you must have specific evidence.If you believe that your attorney didn't properly represent you in your divorce, you may be able to claim that you lost a certain amount of money to your ex-wife.It may be difficult to prove that you would have received assets in the divorce if your attorney had acted differently.
Step 14: Your former attorney can give you a copy of your case file.
In order to file your claim in court, your legal malpractice attorney must review your case file.If your former attorney fails to give you a copy of your case file, do not accept any excuses from him or her.
Step 15: The legal documents should be prepared.
In accordance with your state's laws, either you or your attorney must prepare the required documents.A complaint is a legal document that sets forth basic information about your case and describes how you believe your lawyer committed malpractice.The damages that you sustained as a result of the malpractice are detailed in the request for compensation from the lawyer.The notice that a lawsuit has been filed is called a summons.Each of the defendants in a lawsuit will receive a summons.The document tells the defendants who filed the lawsuit and where it was filed.Each state has its own rules for service of process, which may include delivery by a process server or a county sheriff's deputy, or leaving and mailing a copy to the defendants at his home or business.The summons gives the defendants a certain amount of time to respond in writing to the lawsuit.
Step 16: The clerk of court's office has the necessary legal documents.
This is the next step in the lawsuit.You will get a stamped copy of the documents.
Step 17: Don't oppose any of the motions.
The defendants will try to get the case dismissed without going to trial.Motions to dismiss or motions for summary judgment may be included in these.
Step 18: The discovery process requires engagement.
All types of lawsuits require both sides to exchange information.Depositions, Interrogatories, and a list of documents are some of the discovery techniques that you can use.
Step 19: A settlement can be negotiated.
Most lawsuits settle before they go to trial.The parties try to reach a settlement before the trial.In some cases, the parties work with a neutral third-party mediation in order to reach a settlement that is acceptable to all parties.
Step 20: Proceed to the trial.
The case must go to trial if the parties can't reach a settlement.The case will follow a course of events when it goes to trial.Prospective jurors are asked about their lives, occupations, and their views on lawyers and the court system during the jury selection process.Each side can remove a prospective juror from the panel if they have enough strikes.Once they have selected a complete jury, the sides will alternate choosing or striking jurors.Each side will have the chance to make a short presentation to the judge and jury during the opening statements.Parties and witnesses will be able to testify about events related to the case.The witnesses can be asked a lot of questions.The jury will hear closing statements from both sides in the case.
Step 21: After jury deliberations, receive a verdict.
Once the parties have presented their cases to the jury, they will meet in a private setting to make a decision about the case.They will announce their decision to the court and the parties after they have reached a decision.
Step 22: The verdict should be appealed.
If either party is unhappy with any part of the jury's ruling, he or she may file an appeal with the appropriate appellate court.The court will review the jury's decision and decide if it is appropriate under the law and the particular facts and circumstances of the case.