So, your lawyer didn’t win your case, and the loss doesn’t sit well with you.
Like a doctor who removes the wrong limb or a nurse who injected you with another patient’s medication, you’re wondering whether your attorney is guilty of doing something wrong. Maybe your lawyer failed to put your case in suit, and missed Louisiana’s one-year limit, barring the claim. Or your lawyer drafted a deed incorrectly as agreed on in the contract, which affected the land purchased. Or the law firm failed to supervise a junior attorney, who guaranteed you an adoption, took your money, and never contacted you again.
You’ve suffered the legal loss as well as a financial one. While the legal system has established steps to determine who should be responsible for injured medical patients, it also has a similar process for matters related to legal malpractice: a legal malpractice lawsuit.
What You’ll Need to Prove
To bring a lawsuit against your lawyer, you’ll need to evidence your lawyer did one of the following things:
- The lawyer was negligent Did the lawyer fail to provide the level of legal care expected of common sense in a similar circumstance? While trial strategy is not legal malpractice (for example, calling or not calling a witness), missing deadlines is grounds for a malpractice case. This is especially so in Louisiana with its limit of one year to take action from the date you knew about the malpractice.
- The lawyer broke (breached) the contract Did the lawyer fail to meet an obligation stated in the contract and not give a reason? Were your lawyer’s charges not based on your agreement?
- The lawyer’s actions broke the rules established by the American Bar Association in Louisiana This is a long list of expectations that govern the client-lawyer relationship. This might be a good question to discuss in your free legal consultation.
A legal malpractice claim against a lawyer will require you to prove your lawyer:
- Had a responsibility to competently represent you
- Made a mistake or was not responsible
- Such doings resulted in loss of your money and harm to you.
What To Do About A Dispute About Charges
You should ask your lawyer to explain any charges you do not understand. Upon request, your lawyer should provide you a copy of all invoices, bills, and receipts for charges. The list of breakdown charges, should list all fees, costs, and expenses taken from the settlement, award, or against the retainer.
Should You Switch To A New Lawyer?
In both civil law and criminal matters, you can replace your lawyer. Because you are the one on the line when it comes to what your lawyer does on your behalf, you need to speak up and do something about it if you think there is a problem in your legal representation. Common problems include poor results, poor communication, and unprofessionalism. It’s best to speak to and write to your lawyer if you have any of these problems before firing them.
Then, changing lawyers is like changing jobs. One change in the course of a case can be acceptable, depending of the circumstances. But just like working at one job for a month, another for two months, and yet another for one month says more about you than the company, the judge on the case and the lawyers considering representing you recognize that switching lawyers often suggests you are a difficult client.
Another consideration is whether the problem is the lawyer or your case. One option is to approach an experienced lawyer in a law firm specializing in legal malpractice. This consultation might let you know that your case does takes more time to resolve. You should, of course, bring copies of your case files to this free consultation.
And no, there is no brotherhood of lawyers encouraging lawyers to lie to protect other lawyers.
We at Wimberly Law specialize in legal malpractice law. We understand that legal matters can be intimidating and complicated and require fast action due to Louisiana’s one-year time limit. For a free consultation for those who live near Mandeville, Louisiana, please call (985) 200-8466 today.