It can feel immensely disheartening to feel as if someone who is supposed to be on your side is not doing his or her best to help you. In particular, you undoubtedly expected your attorney to do everything within his or her power to help you win your legal case, but instead, you found yourself wondering whether your legal counsel even wanted to do the job.
Unfortunately for you, your attorney’s lack of professionalism and general negligence of your case resulted in negative outcomes for you. Your case may have ended with you obtaining much less compensation from your claim than you had anticipated and deserved, or you may have lost your case altogether and ended up with nothing except legal bills. If you believe that your attorney committed legal malpractice, you may wonder whether you can sue him or her for damages and whether you should.
Legal malpractice lawsuit
Fortunately, the law does allow individuals to file suit if they believe that their legal counsel did not properly perform his or her duties. While not every mistake by your attorney or difference in view you had with your legal counsel may constitute malpractice, a lack of communication, missing deadlines, not showing up for court dates, misappropriating your funds and generally not putting the work into your case could fall into the category of legal malpractice.
Is it worth going back to court?
If any of the aforementioned issues affected your case, you may want to determine whether pursuing a lawsuit against your former counsel is worthwhile. Filing a lawsuit on a whim is never a good idea. Instead, you may first want to assess your ordeal and determine whether you suffered compensatory damages as a result of your attorney’s negligence. Compensatory damages are an award in civil cases where someone else’s negligence resulted in losses. For you, some compensatory damages could include the following:
- The value of your initial claim and the compensation you likely would have obtained had you won your case or had your attorney worked for a higher settlement
- Attorney’s fees charged by your legal counsel
- Mental distress
Understanding actual and general compensatory damages in a legal malpractice case can be challenging. Nonetheless, if you believe that you suffered damages due to the unlawful behavior of previous counsel, you may wish to contact a California attorney experienced in handling legal malpractice cases. This legal professional can help you determine whether your previous legal counsel committed malpractice, the types of damages you could recover and how to go about handling such a claim.