Although they may not seem like it all of the time, attorneys are human, and will make mistakes from time to time. However, when an attorney makes a mistake in the course of providing professional advice or services, a client who is injured or is harmed may bring a legal malpractice action to recover money damages from the offending lawyer.
However, in order to prevail in such a lawsuit, a person seeking damages must prove causation; in other words, he or she must show that but for the attorney’s negligence, he or she would have prevailed in the action they were involved in, or they would have obtained a better result.
This is not always easily proven without the assistance of another lawyer. A skilled legal malpractice lawyer has the knowledge and experience to know what can be used to prove that the client would have prevailed absent the attorney’s negligence, that damages were realized and that the client either missed the opportunity to collect such damages, or monetary damages were assessed against the complaining party as a result of the attorney’s mistakes.
Specifically, a malpractice attorney can look to the documentation that defined the relationship to determine if the client was properly advised about the risks and benefits of taking a particular course of action, and whether these actions were exercised with the requisite care expected of a practicing attorney.
For instance, a business that is represented by an insurer may be exposed to liability if it chooses to go to trial must be completely advised of the extent of liability (i.e. a potential verdict that may exceed the policy limits). Indeed, the business may be advised of the strengths and weaknesses of its cases, but if it is not advised that it may be responsible for all damages that exceed the policy limits, this may form the basis of a malpractice suit.
Ultimately, legal malpractice cases can be complicated matters. After all, a poorly executed trial plan or negotiation may not merit a malpractice claim if the client was duly advised of his or her options before taking them.
If you have questions about a potential legal malpractice case, an experienced attorney can advise you.