How to Win a Legal Malpractice Suit Against a Negligent Attorney
There are countless reasons you may need legal services in your lifetime. Whether you’re in a child custody dispute, trying to receive compensation after an accident or fighting against a criminal charge, you trust your lawyer with your financial and personal well-being. What happens, when you have a negligent attorney though? This is referred to as legal malpractice, and you can often successfully sue your lawyer if you follow the right steps.
Understanding Legal Malpractice
The first step in winning a legal malpractice suit against a negligent attorney is understanding what constitutes “legal malpractice.” Not every mistake constitutes legal malpractice, but if you had an attorney whose negligence or purposeful actions caused you harm in any way, you may have a claim against them. This is especially the case if you suffered any financial loss.
There are numerous actions that could constitute negligence. Here are some of the most common forms of legal malpractice:
- Failure to know or apply the law
- Planning or procedure errors
- Inadequate investigation or discovery
- Failure to know or abide by deadlines
If you believe you’ve experienced legal malpractice, it’s a good idea to seek out professional help. This is due to the sheer number of actions that can constitute negligence. From clerical errors to settling without your permission, reckless attorneys can make your life more difficult than it should be.
Don’t Miss the Statute of Limitations
If you’ve been injured, physically or financially, due to malpractice, the statute of limitations dictates how long you have to bring a claim against the negligent party. When it comes to negligent attorneys, laws can vary by state. In Texas, for instance, the statute of limitations for negligence is two years.
Regardless of when this negligence occurred, though, you should still contact an attorney. If you were not immediately aware that negligence took place, you may be able to file beyond the two-year deadline.
This is only one of the reasons you should have a legal malpractice attorney at your side. After all, you’re going up against a professional, and even an extremely disorganized attorney can likely outmaneuver the most well-prepared non-lawyer.
Prepare Your Evidence
Your new attorney will be able to get most of the necessary evidence during discovery procedures, but you can help your case go more smoothly by preparing a bit in advance. If there are people – other than the negligent attorney – who witnessed or were involved in your prior case, you should write down their names and contact information.
You can also request your file from your former attorney. It’s probably best to let your legal malpractice lawyer handle this, but under Texas law, legal professionals must provide you with your case file when requested.
In fact, you can receive your attorney’s notes on your case in most instances. Again, however, you’ll likely face less resistance if another legal professional requests the files.
Maintain Financial Records
Holding onto any financial records related to your case can also help in your quest for compensation. Maintain receipts for any costs you accrue related to the unfair judicial results you faced. This will help your new attorney prepare your case in a more timely manner so you can more quickly resolve the wrong you faced.
Hire a Legal Negligence Attorney You Can Trust
There’s only so much you can do on your own, so when you’re ready to fight for the compensation you deserve, contact a legal negligence attorney immediately. With statutes of limitations working against you and the possibility that evidence could be misplaced or simply “disappear,” getting the wheels of justice moving quickly is in your best interest.