Long Beach Legal Malpractice Lawyer
When you find yourself in need of an attorney, you expect a trained professional who is committed to succeeding while handling your case. While lawyers can make honest mistakes or lose cases despite their best efforts, some lawyers do not exercise proper care in managing their caseload. Legal malpractice describes any instance in which a lawyer failed to exercise the skill and care any other reasonable attorney would have in the same situation.
Some plaintiffs may feel angry about losing a lawsuit, and it’s important to remember that a lawyer losing a case does not constitute malpractice. It may be frustrating, but proving legal malpractice is often very difficult. At the law office of Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP, we go to any length for our client’s best interest, and we understand that not every lawyer will do the same. When lawyers fail to properly represent their clients, a Long Beach legal malpractice attorney at our firm can hold them accountable.
- How Common is Legal Malpractice?
- Proving Legal Malpractice
- What Kind of Compensation is Available for the Victims of Legal Malpractice?
- What is the Statute of Limitations for a Legal Malpractice Claim in California?
- Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP | Legal Malpractice Lawyers in Long Beach
How common is legal malpractice?
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), lawyers have a 4% to 17% chance of being sued each year, but these statistics depend largely upon jurisdictions and practice areas. While it may not be completely possible to guarantee a situation where legal malpractice will not occur at all, prospective clients can take steps to prevent this from occurring. It is vital for any person that needs an attorney to do proper research before choosing the correct lawyer for their case.
When you are searching for an Long Beach personal injury attorney, regardless of the practice area, you should seek free consultations from various different attorneys before making your final decision. Use the Internet to research reviews for every attorney you are interested in hiring.
Proving Legal Malpractice
To prove legal malpractice, your lawyer must establish four facts about the defending attorney:
- The defendant had a duty to act in his or her client’s best interest and follow legal procedures.
- The defendant breached this duty in some way, such as failing to fulfill recorded promises made to clients, negligence, or making grievous errors.
- The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused damages to the plaintiff. This is causation, and you must prove the relationship between the defendant’s actions and the plaintiff’s losses.
- The plaintiff suffered measurable damages. You cannot sue for malpractice unless you incurred a loss, such as failing to secure compensation from a lawsuit you should have won.
If your new Long Beach legal malpractice lawyer can prove these things, you have a chance of winning your malpractice case. Some examples of legal malpractice include:
- Failure to attend to cases. If the defendant in your legal malpractice case is an attorney who has several clients, he or she must allocate adequate time to each case. If the attorney put your case on the backburner for too long, this may constitute malpractice.
- Failure to meet deadlines. Your lawyer is responsible for meeting various filing deadlines with the court. Failing to meet these deadlines and provide the court with vital documents could lead to the court throwing out your case before it even reaches trial. If you can prove you would have won your case, you should be able to establish legal malpractice.
- Settling a case without client’s consent. Your attorney may not agree to a case settlement without your approval. Additionally, your attorney must make every reasonable effort to honor the original estimate of your case’s worth that he or she offered.
- Breaching attorney-client privilege. Anything said in confidence between you and your attorney falls under attorney-client privilege. Your attorney may not divulge anything you say in confidence without your express permission.
- Misuse of client funds. Your attorney must use the money you paid for your retainer for your case only. Misusing client funds is tantamount to stealing.
Legal malpractice cases are extremely difficult to win, but an accomplished attorney will be able to identify where your previous attorney erred and assess whether or not the error constitutes legal malpractice. Plaintiffs in Southern California need to find reliable, experienced attorneys to handle legal malpractice cases.
What kind of compensation is available for the victims of legal malpractice?
There are various types of compensation that victims of legal malpractice are entitled to recover to essentially “make them whole.” This means the amount of compensation that covers their total losses and returns them to a position they should have been in had their lawyer not been negligent.
The total amount of damages awarded will depend on the nature of the claim. For example, if an attorney costs a person the opportunity to pursue a valuable case because they missed the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim, the victim may be able to recover the amount they would likely have received had they been successful in their personal injury claim. Another example could be a real estate attorney that botches a deal on a property the client was trying to buy. Their client may be entitled to the value of the property or any business interests that were lost as a result.
In some cases, victims of legal malpractice in Long Beach will also be able to recover attorney’s fees as part of the total compensation, though this type of compensation is less common for these claims.
What is the statute of limitations for a legal malpractice claim in California?
Each state is responsible for setting time limits that a person has to file a legal malpractice claim against an attorney who has wronged them. These time limits are called the statute of limitations. In California, there are two different statutes of limitations that may apply.
- Four years from the date of the attorney’s wrongdoing.
- One year from the date a client discovers or should have discovered the wrongdoing.
Whichever date comes first out of those two statutes of limitation will be the guiding time frame. As with most legal cases, there are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations. There are various reasons that the time limit may be tolled (extended). To completely understand the time limits that apply to your legal malpractice case, please contact an attorney at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP today.
It can be incredibly difficult to understand the exact date that legal malpractice occurred. Your Long Beach legal malpractice attorney will create a chronological timeline that will be used to properly calculate the statute of limitations deadlines. This timeline will include:
- The date the client first became aware that something was wrong with her case.
- The date the client first believed there was attorney wrongdoing.
- The date the client suffered an actual injury (if one occurred) due to the attorney’s wrongdoing.
- The date when the client was no longer represented by the attorney.
Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP | Legal Malpractice Lawyers in Long Beach
The law firm of Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP handles all manner of cases, of legal and well as medical malpractice and we won’t shy away from difficult claims. Legal malpractice may be difficult to prove, but we’ll leverage the full extent of our resources and experience to reach successful results for our clients. If you are uncertain about a past lawyer’s actions, consult a Long Beach personal injury lawyer at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP and discuss your options and receive legal advice. Feel free to call our Los Angeles office at (562) 981-1010 to schedule a free consultation or contact us online.