When does bad legal representation rise to malpractice?

If you are a Florida resident who is disappointed by the quality of your legal services, you are probably wondering whether your lawyer committed malpractice. Legal malpractice law serves an important purpose for clients and the legal community. However, not every case rises to actionable legal malpractice. An article in the American Bar Association provides insight into when you may be able to recover damages for an attorney’s mistakes.

For your attorney’s actions to be considered illegal under legal malpractice law, your counsel must have been negligent. If you lost your case, but your attorney’s actions were within the standard of care, that is not malpractice. Thus, the threshold question for a claim is whether the attorney’s behavior was below the standard of care for the profession.

If your attorney was negligent, the next question hinges on damages. To recover against your attorney, it must be established that his or her negligent actions caused you harm. For example, demonstrating that your case would have had a positive financial outcome if your attorney’s actions had been within the standard of care. This “case within a case” aspect of legal malpractice law is unique, and an expert witness is often useful.

It can be extremely upsetting to be the victim of substandard legal work. Fortunately, legal malpractice law provides an avenue to bring an action for damages in some circumstances. If an attorney was negligent, and that negligence caused his or her client to lose an otherwise strong case, there may be a legal malpractice claim.

This information is provided for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.

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