Lawyers have a duty to represent their clients in a competent, professional manner consistent with the prevailing standard of care in the community for lawyers in a similar situation.
When an attorney's representation or service falls below that standard of care and a client sustains harm, professional or legal malpractice has been committed.
Lawyer malpractice cases generally arise out of a lawyer's negligence, breach of contract or breach of fiduciary duty. Negligence is at the heart of most legal malpractice cases. A common example is an attorney who fails to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. Here, a client is harmed because the lawyer has not timely filed a claim and, as a result, has forfeited the client's legal rights.
When a lawyer has violated a material provision or term in the contract for representation, a legal malpractice case may be brought for breach of contract.
Finally, a lawyer breaches a fiduciary duty to the client when a conflict of interest is disregarded or the attorney's own interest is put ahead of the client's. In this type of situation, a legal malpractice case may also be brought.
Some other common examples of legal malpractice include neglecting a client's case, improperly drafting a contract, failing to know and correctly apply the law, among many other possible violations of the governing professional standards.
In order to successfully prosecute a claim for attorney malpractice, the following three elements must be proven:
- The existence of an attorney-client relationship
- Attorney conduct that falls below the standard of care
- Damages or harm that was caused by the misconduct
The mere fact that your lawyer was unsuccessful in representing you does not mean that legal malpractice was committed.
If you have suffered significant monetary damage as a result of legal malpractice and want to sue your lawyer, contact a Miami legal malpractice attorney at Hannon & Boyers today.
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