What Are the Legal Grounds for a Malpractice Suit?

Legal Malpractice

What Are the Legal Grounds for a Malpractice Suit?

Just like you can sue your doctor if they fail to do their duties competently, you can also sue your attorney for the same reason in Texas. Clients suing their attorneys have become routine but still complex. If you plan to sue your attorney, it is vital that you launch your case appropriately to maximize your chances of winning. Finding competent Texas legal malpractice attorneys is the best way to do this. At the Kassab Law Firm, we have some of the state’s most accomplished attorneys you can trust for your case.

What Is a Legal Malpractice?

Legal malpractice is an umbrella term for all of the different causes of action one can bring against a lawyer.  Although typically known as negligence, a lawyer can be sued for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, breach of contract under some circumstances like fee churning, negligent misrepresentation, etc.  If an attorney fails to act competently, they might be liable for legal malpractice pursuant to a negligence claim.  However, when a lawyer places his interests or the interests of another client, the lawyer can be sued for breaching his fiduciary duty.

When Can You Launch A Legal Malpractice Lawsuit?

There are numerous circumstances under which people launch legal malpractice lawsuits. These include:

  • Poor Law Familiarity: Clients often expect lawyers to have vast knowledge in their field of specialization. Poor law familiarity can jeopardize the outcome of a lawsuit.
  • Inability To Meet Deadlines: In legal practice, there are a lot of deadlines for filing various documents. This often occurs in a law firm with many attorneys, and no attorney consistently follows each case’s progress. Failure to meet deadlines in certain litigations can mean the client loses their ability to seek justice.
  • Planning Errors: An attorney needs to plan every reasonable outcome when preparing a lawsuit. Poor planning can lead to developing a lackluster strategy and not submitting the proper documents leading to the dismissal of the case.
  • Inadequate Discovery: Clients expect attorneys to unearth all the relevant information regarding the case they are handling. For instance, in a divorce case, the attorney is expected to uncover the other spouse’s financial assets. Failure to do so can result in unfair wealth division.

Clients may have grounds for launching a legal malpractice lawsuit if their lawyer demonstrates poor law familiarity, inability to meet deadlines, planning errors, or inadequate discovery. Attorneys must diligently fulfill their duties to avoid jeopardizing their client’s cases and risking a potential lawsuit.

You must always remember there are statute of limitations which outline deadlines for bringing lawsuits against attorneys.  Under a negligence claim in Texas, a client must sue their lawyer within two years from the time the client knew or should have known, through reasonable diligence, of the lawyer’s malpractice.   In Texas, a breach of fiduciary duty claim, fraud claim or breach of contract claim against an attorney has a four year statute of limitations.  That means that the client must bring suit against the lawyer for those causes of action within four years from the time the client knew or should have known of the fraud or the breach.  Of course, the discovery rule may extend the statute of limitations in Texas.  However, the best practice is to call the lawyers at the Kassab Law Firm as soon as you suspect fowl play to ensure you bring your lawsuit timely.

Elements of Legal Malpractice

Before you bring legal action against an attorney for legal malpractice, you need to make sure that you have legal grounds following four elements of legal malpractice:

  • Duty: Associated with the formal relationship between the attorney and the client. The client must have formally hired the attorney to offer them legal representation, such as by paying a retainer fee. As a result of the attorney-client relationship, the attorney is expected to do their best to ensure the best outcome for their client.
  • Breach of Duty: Lawyers are expected to observe their duty of care to their clients in all situations. A breach means that the attorney failed to fulfill their duty of care by being negligent or failing to perform a particular action. For instance, the lawyer failed to prepare for the case adequately.
  • Proximate Cause: In a similar situation, another reasonably competent attorney would not have taken the actions the lawyer facing the lawsuit did. In addition, there were other actions the attorney facing the lawsuit could have taken to get the optimal outcome for their client.
  • Damages: The client must show that the actions or inactions of the lawyer caused damages to the client.  Even if a lawyer makes a mistake, if the action or inaction does not cause damages, you will not be successful in a legal malpractice case.

Our Texas legal malpractice lawyers at the Kassab Law Firm are highly experienced in handling malpractice cases like yours. We will evaluate your legal malpractice claim to determine whether it has sufficient grounds for a lawsuit. Contact us for an evaluation and additional insights on your legal malpractice case.