Frequently Asked Legal Malpractice Questions
Below are a few of the common questions the attorneys at Klein & Wilson, have received. We take pride in helping our clients hold negligent attorneys responsible for their malpractice. You can schedule your first meeting by calling us at 949-478-0521.
I think my lawyer committed malpractice. Do I have a case?
Like all professionals (e.g., doctors, accountants, architects, etc.), lawyers must practice their craft within the “standard of care” – the skill and care that a reasonably careful attorney would have used in similar circumstances. Sometimes, it is simple to determine if a lawyer fell below the standard of care. For instance, trial lawyers face several deadlines. If a trial lawyer misses a deadline and that mistake results in the court dismissing a client’s lawsuit, then the lawyer almost certainly fell below the standard of care. Other times, determining whether a lawyer fell below the standard of care requires careful analysis by another lawyer who practices in the same area as the lawyer who made the mistake.
Even if an attorney falls below the standard of care, clients do not have a malpractice case unless they can also prove the attorney’s mistake caused damage. Proving damage caused by the lawyer’s error frequently requires analysis by an expert witness. If you believe your lawyer committed malpractice, you should hire an attorney to evaluate your potential claim. You should expect that the attorney you hire will have to consult with another attorney (who practices in the same area as the lawyer who made the mistake) to evaluate your case.
What damages can I recover if my lawyer committed malpractice?
There is a wide range of damages clients can recover in legal malpractice cases. The damages include lost damages in the underlying case the negligent attorney handled; fees paid to a second attorney to correct errors the first attorney made; and damages related to bad legal advice (e.g., if a corporate client follows a lawyer’s advice to not pay overtime wages to employees and then the client must pay penalties for following that advice, the lawyer is probably liable to reimburse the client for penalties paid).
How much time do I have to sue my lawyer for malpractice?
The statute of limitations that governs legal malpractice cases is Code of Civil Procedure section 340.6. Generally, a client has one year to sue former counsel for legal malpractice after discovering the facts constituting the lawyer’s mistake. Section 340.6 is not a straightforward statute, and most of the time, it takes careful analysis to determine when the one-year statute starts ticking. If you have reason to believe your lawyer committed malpractice, you should hire an attorney to evaluate the deadline to file suit. If you do not timely file suit, then your claim will be barred.
How do I find out if my lawyer has legal malpractice insurance?
Lawyers are not required to maintain legal malpractice insurance, and there is no resource to determine whether an attorney has insurance. Unless your lawyer voluntarily provides this information to you, the only way to determine if a lawyer has insurance is to file suit and then seek this information in discovery.
If I sue my lawyer for malpractice, can I recover the fees and costs I spend to pursue the malpractice case?
Clients do not have the right to recover the attorney’s fees they incur to sue a lawyer for legal malpractice unless the fee agreement between the attorney and the client provides for that remedy. However, by statute, prevailing parties in California litigation are entitled to recover their court costs from losing parties.
Time Is A Factor In Legal Malpractice Cases, Get Help Now
As stated above, time is a crucial element when filing a legal malpractice claim. The attorneys at Klein & Wilson have years of experience and an unmatched courtroom reputation. You can contact our proven lawyers by calling 949-478-0521 or by using the contact form.