Legal malpractice is similar to medical malpractice in that it’s a situation where the attorney falls below the standard of care of other attorneys practicing the same type of law in the same area. Attorneys, however, do not have to go through a medical malpractice review panel like doctors do before a client can file a suit. Clients can go straight to court.
What Are Some Examples Of Legal Malpractice Cases That You Have Handled?
The number one type of malpractice case, according to malpractice insurance carriers, involves missing deadlines. In Louisiana, you have one year to bring an action after a tort (automobile accident, medical negligence, legal malpractice, etc.). Other states call this time period the statute of limitations and may give potential plaintiffs longer periods of time in which to file. In Louisiana, it’s called prescription, and you only have one year from the date you knew or should have known about the malpractice. Even if the attorney who committed the malpractice continues to represent you in a case, it does not interrupt the running of the one-year limitation. Your attorney could be trying to fix the mess they created, but you still only have one year from when you should have known, which some people don’t realize.
There are different types of deadlines an attorney can miss. In Federal Court, you are required to file a witness and exhibit list, and you have to get expert reports, all on a very strict timeline. If you do not adhere to that timeline, those witnesses and experts will be excluded. Excluding an expert or a report or something else very crucial to your case because the attorney missed a deadline is malpractice, and unfortunately, that happens quite a bit.
What Acts By An Attorney Would Be Considered Questionable But Not Legal Malpractice?
Usually, trial strategy is not considered legal malpractice. If you call a witness or don’t call a witness or take some kind of action like that, that’s usually within the discretion of the attorney and wouldn’t be considered malpractice. Some lawyers might say, “I would have called that witness,” and some might say, “I wouldn’t have called that witness,” for whatever reason. A bad result like losing a case is not necessarily malpractice. Sometimes, the law is just not in your favor.
Do You See A Lot Of People Who Are Unhappy With The Outcome Of Their Case?
I see people who are unhappy from time to time. I explain to them what I explained here: that getting a bad result does not necessarily mean the lawyer did anything wrong.
Is a Legal Malpractice Case the Same as Filing a Grievance or a Bar Complaint? Should I Also File a Bar Complaint?
I do not recommend filing a bar complaint. Once you ring a bell, you can’t un-ring it. I’ve found that most attorneys realize that the potential for a bar complaint is always out there, which makes them easier to deal with than if you’ve already filed one against them. Their back is against the wall and they have to fight harder to defend themselves, unless you play the trump card that you may or may not need later.
What Do They Mean by “A Case Within A Case” When It Comes To Legal Malpractice Cases?
You don’t have to prove a case within a case, which means you don’t have to prove that you would have won the case but for the legal malpractice of the attorney. Once you prove the legal malpractice of the attorney, the burden shifts to the defendant attorney to prove that the case could not have been won under any circumstances. It’s an extremely high burden of proof, one that’s rarely ever reached. It doesn’t put the double burden on the client to prove malpractice and to prove they would have won this case to a certain amount of money or to a certain result.
What Components Constitute A Viable Legal Malpractice Claim In Louisiana?
You have to have all three of the following elements: an attorney-client relationship, negligence, and damages. It’s similar to an automobile accident. Not every act of legal malpractice warrants a suit because the damages may be very limited, and it’s expensive and time-consuming to pursue them. You want to make sure that you have a case that is worthy of the time and attention both of the attorney and the client.
For more information on Legal Malpractice Under Louisiana State Law, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (985) 200-8466 today.