Legal malpractice is the term used to describe the actions of a contracted attorney that cause harm to a client by acting in a manner that focuses on the best interests of the attorney or law firm instead of those of the clients. In recent years, the rapid expansion of legal services throughout the United States and a growing awareness of the harm legal malpractice can cause has led to a drastic increase in the sums awarded through successful lawsuits or claims. As more claims ranging from $500,000.00 to several million dollars are awarded, consumers are questioning what is considered legal malpractice. An awareness of some of the most common types of legal malpractice will help you understand if you have been a victim and how you should consider proceeding.
The primary reason law firms or attorneys find themselves accused of malpractice is for failing to know the law or to apply it properly. A client who retains an attorney expects him or her to know the law and how to use it in various situations to protect the best interests of the client. When an attorney either does not know or does not understand the law in a specific field, that lack of knowledge can cost his or her clients dearly. An attorney representing you should know the laws in the area they are representing you and have the ability to apply the laws correctly.
A large part of legal cases is meeting deadlines. When a deadline cannot be met, an attorney usually has options available that allow him or her to request extensions or postponements. An attorney who does not obtain extensions and fails to meet crucial deadlines can cause a client to lose a case at worst or face extremely serious repercussions at best. Issues can range from failing to meet specific court deadlines to failure to calendar, which occurs when an attorney misses a deadline to file suit or take another time-sensitive action in a specific case. Examples of failure to calendar include letting the statute of limitations pass without filing a claim for a personal injury case. These errors can occur when too many attorneys are working on a case or a law firm does not have a set protocol in place for handling calendar management.
Attorneys handling divorces and other cases with outcomes heavily dependent on information that is discovered are expected to find all information that is related to the case. Witnesses, assets, and medical information are all things that an attorney may need to investigate prior to obtaining a reasonable settlement for a client. Failing to uncover all relevant details because of attempts to avoid using resources, save money, or speed up the settlement process is potentially negligent and can seriously harm a client.
The David Bell Law Firm knows how legal professionals should treat and represent their clients. If you have been a victim of a negligent lawyer our legal malpractice attorneys are prepared to provide you with the legal advice and assistance that you need. We are able to help our clients recover from the damage caused by unprofessional or unethical attorneys. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Augusta, Georgia office so that we can begin discussing your unique situation and individual legal needs.