The statute of limitations is one year from the date you knew or should have known, subject to a three-year preemptive period. Preemption means when those days run, whether you knew or didn’t know about the malpractice, it’s over. Again, that means you have one year from when you knew or should have known, but no more than three years. For instance, if a lawyer writes someone a will but screws it up, that person has one year from the time they knew about the issue to file something. If the issue is only discovered four or five years down the road when that person dies, it’s too late. The three-year preemption kicks in, so there is no longer any responsibility. It doesn’t seem fair, does it? It’s the same thing for doctors, architects, and CPAs, at least in Louisiana.

What Steps Do I Need To Take If I Believe I Have A Legal Malpractice Case Against My Attorney?

You need a new attorney if you want to do something like that. You cannot handle that yourself. If your attorney hasn’t already admitted they committed legal malpractice to you (which sometimes happens), they are not going to fall on their sword for you. You really need somebody else to represent you because this can be complicated.

Are People Typically Hesitant To File A Legal Malpractice Case Against Their Attorney?

I don’t find that people hesitate at all, actually. I find that they are angry with the attorney because they counted on them, even if the mistake was an accident. In some cases, the clients have been misled intentionally.

What Potential Damages Or Outcomes Should I Be Seeking In A Legal Malpractice Claim In Louisiana?

You are looking at compensatory damages, meaning however much money you were out. Let’s say you missed a deadline on an automobile accident; you should get what you should have gotten if you would have tried your automobile accident case. There are some situations where you can get emotional pain and suffering for having to go through that, but that is a little more questionable. Typically, you’ll only receive what you would have gotten in the case had there not been malpractice and had it gone to trial or to settlement or mediation.

What Happens To My Original Case When I Start My Legal Malpractice Case? Is It Put On Hold?

Nothing is happening in your original case because it was never filed timely. It’s already preempted, or in other words, the statute of limitations has run. Your malpractice suit is going against the attorney, so you have to put on evidence what that original case would have been worth at the trial that you were screwed out of because your lawyer forgot to file the suit.

If The Legal Malpractice Case Is For A Valid Reason, Do You Generally Take On That Other Case As Well?

If the statute of limitations hasn’t run out, then the case is salvageable. However, there wouldn’t be a legal malpractice case if the time hadn’t run out because legal malpractice doesn’t occur until it’s too late to bring that suit.

How Would It Impact My Case If The Defendant Lawyer Doesn’t Have Legal Malpractice Insurance?

That happens from time to time. Most lawyers will dump the case, but I feel the obligation to see it through. I’ve had four or five cases involving uninsured lawyers, and every one of them has wound up paying money. Not one of those lawyers has gotten away free and clear.

Is It Always Financially Feasible To Pursue A Legal Malpractice Claim Against My Attorney In Louisiana?

There would have to be sufficient damages to make it worth your while to do that. If your automobile case would have been worth $5,000 and you let it go, it’s probably not worth suing your lawyer. You’d still have to give your new attorney filing fees on a contingency basis. I wouldn’t recommend that someone pursue for small monies like that. The older I get, the more significant the damages have to be before I take a case. Otherwise, I will refer it out to somebody who needs the business.

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