Attorneys Can be Held Liable for Their Mistakes
Most people are familiar with the concept of medical malpractice where a doctor makes a misdiagnosis or commits a surgical error. However, doctors are not the only professionals that can be sued for professional negligence. Accountants and investment advisors can be sued for malpractice. The same can be said for attorneys who fail to provide appropriate legal representation to a client. Legal malpractice claims arise from a variety of circumstances, but some of the most frequent that we encounter include:
- Missing a Deadline: If an attorney fails to file a lawsuit within the time required by law, the client’s claim will be barred by the “Statute of Limitations”.
- Failing to Properly Inform: Clients depend on their attorneys to provide the information needed to make important decisions. If an attorney fails to adequately inform clients – or worse, to lie to a client – it may give rise toa claim of malpractice.
- Inadequate Preparation: A failure to adequately investigate and develop evidence can ruin a client’s case. In addition, attorneys can get sloppy or lazy (or both) and fail to competently draft important documents, or adequately prepare for trial.
- Failure to Know or Appropriately Apply the Law: Attorneys are required to know and understand the laws governing a client’s case. Attorneys should never attempt to practice in an area of law in which they have no knowledge or experience without obtaining the client’s informed consent. Imagine the potentially disastrous consequences of a patent lawyer litigating a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Conflicts of Interest: Attorneys owe their clients their undivided loyalty. An attorney should never put his/her interest or the interests of his/her past or present clients before those of the client he is currently representing.
This is not an exhaustive list. Attorneys always find new and inventive ways to screw up. Evaluating whether your attorney committed legal malpractice requires careful consideration of your situation. Wuliger & Wuliger has a long history of successfully representing clients who have been wronged by their attorneys. Please call us at (216) 781-7777.