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What Is Attorney Malpractice?
When you hire an attorney to represent you, that attorney is obligated to render competent professional service. If your attorney is incompetent, and you suffer damages as a result, then your attorney may be liable for your damages.
Common Types of Attorney Malpractice
There are three main types of attorney malpractice:
- Negligence: If your attorney did not treat your case as well as an average attorney should, then your attorney was probably negligent in handling your case. Your attorney may have committed malpractice, and can be held liable for any damages you suffered as a result.
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty: If an attorney acts in his own best interest instead of yours and your case is adversely affected because of it, your attorney has probably committed malpractice by breaching his fiduciary duty. You can sue your attorney for the damages you suffered.
- Breach of Contract: When you hire an attorney, you sign a contract with him. If he fails to do what the contract obligates him to do, then he has committed malpractice and you may be able to recover damages.
Examples of Attorney Malpractice
There are many ways an attorney can commit malpractice. Here are a few common examples of lawyer malpractice:
- Blunders: If your attorney makes outrageous mistakes, such as missing court dates and deadlines, failing to properly submit documents to the court, or otherwise being irresponsible, your attorney may have committed malpractice.
- Bad Checks: If your attorney sends you a check from his own account for damages you've won, and the check bounces, your attorney may have committed malpractice.
- Settling Without Your Permission: If your attorney settles a case without your permission, your attorney may be liable for malpractice.
- Failing to Contact You: If your attorney has not returned your phone calls or responded to your letters for a long period of time, he may have committed malpractice.
I Think My Attorney Has Committed Malpractice, What Should I Do?
The first thing you should do is file a complaint with your attorney's State Bar Association. The Bar Association is an organization that licenses and regulates attorneys for each individual state. The Bar Association cannot, however, help you recover any damages you've suffered. To recover damages, you have to sue your attorney in court.
Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me with My Attorney Malpractice Problem?
Proving that your attorney committed malpractice can be difficult. You have to know exactly what constitutes malpractice and show that your attorney actually committed malpractice. An experienced malpractice attorney can help you determine whether or not you're a victim of attorney malpractice. Additionally, a lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf and help pursue your attorney malpractice case in court if necessary.
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Last Modified: 01-30-2014 04:13 PM PST
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