Were You The Victim Of Legal Malpractice In South Florida?
Floridians retain lawyers for a wide variety of reasons, but the personal, professional and business matters entrusted to attorneys are normally of elevated importance to their clients. A client has the right to expect their lawyer to adhere to professional and ethical standards, but unfortunately the attorney may miss the mark to the client’s detriment.
A client who suffers loss because of their lawyer’s legal malpractice or legal negligence, or breach of the attorney’s fiduciary duty may have a valid legal claim against the lawyer to recover damages.
Duty Of Reasonable Care And Loyalty
An attorney has the duty to exercise reasonable care to protect their client throughout the agreed-upon representation. The duty of care requires legal counsel to exercise the ordinary skill and competence of a lawyer performing the type of legal work at hand.
The duty of care also requires a degree of professionalism in day-to-day work. For example, a client has the right to expect that their lawyer will meet deadlines and take the concrete steps required to protect the client’s interests and meet their goals.
Another aspect of legal malpractice is the lawyer’s fiduciary duty to put the client first and act in the best interest of the client in good faith and with trustworthiness, loyalty, honesty and candor. An attorney must provide legal services not only with competence, but also with integrity.
Seek Legal Advice Without Delay
How do you know if your attorney committed malpractice or breached their professional duties and through this unprofessional behavior harmed you? Sometimes it may be obvious. Did they miss the deadline for filing your lawsuit so that you cannot bring a valid claim? Did the lawyer fail to file a required legal form?
Your dissatisfaction with the outcome of your legal matter may lead you to consider whether your attorney committed malpractice. You may not be able to put your finger on the problem, but it was not what you anticipated or were told to expect. For example:
- Did your lawyer leave out important parts of a contract?
- Was the investigation of your case inadequate to uncover relevant witnesses and evidence?
- Did the attorney fail to file the right legal documents or make mistakes on them in your real estate deal?
- Did your lawyer neglect to tell you about a settlement offer and you came out worse at trial?
- Did they make errors in trial?
- Was there a better way to plan your estate to protect your interests and those of your loved ones?
- And other questionable behavior
Because of the complexity of malpractice law itself as well as the many areas of law in which lawyers practice, each of which has unique aspects of the attorney’s duty of care, it is important that you speak with a lawyer who has knowledge, skill and experience in legal malpractice.
A malpractice attorney can take the time to understand all the relevant aspects of your previous representation and determine whether you have potential legal remedies against your prior lawyer. But do not delay as there are deadlines for bringing legal claims.