You trust an attorney to handle legal matters that have a significant impact on your life. In a personal injury lawsuit, this may include seeking compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and physical and emotional pain and suffering from an accident that was not your fault.
Legal malpractice occurs when a lawyer’s inappropriate or negligent actions damage a client’s case and negatively impact the outcome. If you believe this happened to you, a professional malpractice lawyer can pursue a lawsuit against your former legal representation.
Types of Legal Malpractice
Studies from the American Bar Association Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability found that the most frequent errors related to legal malpractice cases are:
- Failure to Know and Apply the Law (11.3%) – An attorney can damage a case through ignorance of involved legal principles due to incompetent research or reliance on outdated laws. This may also include a failure to recognize the legal ramifications of the facts within the case.
- Planning or Strategy Error (8.9%) – This occurs when an attorney knows the necessary facts and legal principles involved in a case, but poor judgment and decision-making in how the case is handled work against the client’s interests.
- Inadequate Discovery and Investigation (8.8%) – This applies when a claimant believes important facts in their case were not sufficiently discovered during investigation or through standard discovery procedures.
- Failure to File Documents with No Deadline (8.6%) – This occurs when an attorney makes an error in where – not when – a document or notice filing is required to protect their client’s interests.
- Failure to Calendar (6.7%) – This occurs when a lawyer is well aware of a time deadline, but did not properly schedule it as a reminder to themselves or their law firm’s office.
- Other potential negligent actions include failure to know a deadline, procrastination, failure to obtain client consent, and conflicts of interest.
To be clear, just because you received an unfavorable judgment does not mean your attorney was negligent or guilty of malpractice, and not all errors are considered negligence.
If any of the aforementioned mistakes occurred, or if your lawyer breached attorney-client confidentiality, did not effectively communicate with you, took a case that was beyond their skills, or accepted a settlement without your prior approval, you could have a legal malpractice case, and you may be able to recover damages from your former attorney.
Contact a DuPage County Legal Malpractice Law Firm
You deserve the best defense possible in a personal injury case, so if an inexperienced or incompetent lawyer failed you through disorganization or a betrayal of trust, you have legal recourse. Contact a Wheaton, IL professional malpractice attorney at 630-462-1980 for a free consultation at Walsh, Knippen & Cetina, Chartered.