My Attorney Screwed Up My Case…What Are My Rights?

Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your accident claim can be a challenging choice. First, you may be uncertain as to whether you need a personal injury attorney. You may have difficulty locating the right personal injury attorney to handle your case.

Consequences of Legal Mistakes and Errors

Attorneys cannot guarantee a favourable case outcome. For instance, a car accident attorney is unable to guarantee a specific settlement amount. Similarly, a lawyer specialising in product liability cannot guarantee that a manufacturer will be held liable for a defective airbag or defective drug.

A client may not obtain the desired outcome for their case. In some instances, the client may have had unreasonable expectations regarding the case’s resolution. Any attorney hired by a client with unreasonable expectations will fall short of those expectations.

Nonetheless, there may be instances in which a lawyer makes errors or acts negligently when handling a case. Legal malpractice can result in the denial of a claim or in insufficient compensation for damages in cases involving personal injury.

What is Legal Malpractice in New York?

Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney commits an error or acts negligently while representing a client, resulting in harm to the client.

Legal malpractice examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Before accepting a case, failing to check for conflicts of interest and failing to disclose conflicts of interest.
  • Missing deadlines (statutes of limitations) for filing personal injury lawsuits is considered a serious offence.
  • Failure to conduct a sufficient investigation and/or locate evidence
  • Accepting a settlement offer without the client’s consent, or failing to disclose a settlement offer to the client.
  • Infractions of the Code of Professional Conduct
  • Inability to conduct exhaustive legal research into the applicable statutes and case law pertaining to the client’s case.
  • Practicing while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to provide effective and adequate communication with the client
  • Mismanagement of client funds (trust account)
  • Non-performance of the services specified in the retainer agreement
  • Failure to provide the level of legal services required by the client’s duty of care (general incompetency)
  • Mathematical errors that cause the client harm
  • Loss or mishandling of essential evidence to prove the case

Any behaviour in which an attorney fails to exercise reasonable care may constitute legal malpractice.

Do I Have a Legal Malpractice Case?

To determine whether you have a case for legal malpractice against your personal injury attorney, another attorney would need to review your claim’s facts and circumstances. There are particular requirements for establishing legal malpractice. Generally, the following legal elements must be proven to win a legal malpractice case:

When you hire an attorney to handle your case, he or she has a duty to act in your best interests. Typically, a copy of a written retainer agreement or proof of hiring the attorney is sufficient to establish the attorney-client relationship, which results in a duty of care.

While handling your case, the attorney committed negligent acts, errors, omissions, or other wrongdoing. To establish a breach of the duty of care, you may need to demonstrate that the attorney’s conduct or actions did not meet the reasonable care standard.

Not all errors result in losses. The last element is to establish that the breach of the duty of care was the direct and immediate cause of the harm and damage.

For instance, the attorney missed the deadline to file a lawsuit regarding your slip-and-fall accident. Because you missed the deadline, you forfeited your right to seek compensation for your injuries.

Another example would be failing to confirm the motorcycle accident-related medical expenses with each of your health care providers. Your settlement amount was thousands of dollars less than it would have been if you had submitted the correct medical bill amounts.

What Can I Do if My Attorney Committed Legal Malpractice?

You may file a lawsuit to seek compensation for the damages caused by the attorney’s negligence. However, you must demonstrate that your attorney’s errors or wrongdoing resulted in damages.

Therefore, it is best to consult a lawyer as soon as possible regarding your case. In New York, the statute of limitations for legal malpractice is three years.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.

Abrams Law Group
104-70 Queens Boulevard, Suite 502
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-9797

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