Most questions involve a missed deadline. Their attorney missed a deadline, and they want to know what they can do about it. Do they really have a suit against their attorney now? Sometimes, they will ask me about trials if they lost. I have to ask a lot of questions to see whether it was just because they had a bad case of strategy, which is not legal malpractice, only occasionally can that be malpractice. It’s a different story if the attorney missed deadlines on reports in federal cases or witness or exhibit lists and they weren’t allowed to put in evidence. An honest lawyer will tell the client, “I screwed up, and that’s why this crucial witness is not allowed to testify.” Once I hear that from the client, I can go back and go on PACER, which is the federal court website on cases, to check and see whether witnesses were stricken or something like that. If somebody screwed that up, it’s something I can find very quickly.

Is There A Cap On Damages In Louisiana For Legal Malpractice?

There is no cap on legal malpractice. There is a cap against governmental agencies for some things but not on legal malpractice.

How Likely Is It That Someone Would Be Successful In A Legal Malpractice Case?

It’s much easier than medical malpractice because you don’t have to go through a panel, though some cases require an expert to get up and say, “I am an expert. I do this kind of law, and this is malpractice.” Some cases are so obvious that the case law says you don’t need an expert. I always have an expert anyway, just to be on the safe side. I have been an expert for many lawyers in these cases because I handle them, so I can say, “In my opinion, this is malpractice.”

Can My Attorney Settle My Case Without My Consent? If That Occurs, Is It Considered Legal Malpractice?

They are not supposed to ever settle your case without your consent. I require written consent at every stage of every offer and any time I make a deal. I would consider that legal malpractice.

Are There Any Better Options Than Filing A Lawsuit Against My Attorney For Legal Malpractice?

Not that I know of.

If I Sever My Relationship With My Attorney And File A Malpractice Claim, Am I Automatically Entitled To Files Or Work Related To My Case?

Access to files is required by bar association rules. Any time one attorney is fired or relieved or whatever, they are required to immediately turn over the file to the next attorney or to the client.

How Long Do Legal Malpractice Lawsuits Generally Take To Be Resolved In Louisiana?

They take no longer than an auto case, probably less time because the damages are usually established by that time. It’s typically at least over one year.

Do These Cases Usually Settle Outside Of Court Or Do They Go Into Litigation?

Most of them settle out of court because the biggest insurance carrier is Continental and they are actually excellent. They do a very good job of defending their attorneys, they are realistic, and they like to keep it out of court if they can to save the attorney’s reputation.

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