Anyone can make a mistake, even experienced professionals. However, when your lawyer makes mistakes, you may be the one who pays the price. Small errors are understandable, but in some situations, an attorney’s mistakes cross a line and become malpractice.
When you hire a lawyer, you should receive a proper standard of care. If you recently lost a lawsuit and you believe your lawyer is at fault, you may feel let down and betrayed. However, you can do something about it. Here are some of the errors that courts may view as malpractice.
Straying from specialty
Your lawyer may have accepted your case in error. When lawyers work outside their areas of expertise, they may be incapable of giving their clients adequate representation. Your attorney may have lacked experience dealing with particular issues, and therefore been unfamiliar with relevant laws and legal precedent.
Attorneys sometimes miss crucial deadlines, which can cost their clients significant amounts of time and money. Many laws include statutes of limitations; if your lawyer missed a filing deadline, you may have lost the right to compensation or damages. Most settlement offers come with deadlines. Perhaps your attorney let the deadline pass, allowing the offer to expire. You may have missed out on a generous settlement and lost in trial.
Acting without your consent
Your attorney may have acted without your approval or gone against your wishes. When you hired an attorney, you gave him or her authority to act on your behalf. However, your lawyer should only do what you ask and only agree to what you want. The law prohibits your attorney from accepting an offer you wish to reject, and vice versa.
Maintaining a conflict of interest
When your lawyers accepted your case, they agreed to act in your best interest. Lawyers are not to put their own interests first, to represent multiple clients with conflicting interests or to maintain a close relationship with a member of the opposing side. Doing any of those things may result in legal malpractice.