Whether you hired an attorney to deal with a contractual issue for your business or something more sensitive such as a car accident, you have certain rights as a client that must be respected and upheld. Likewise, attorneys have to follow a code of ethics and provide competent representation for your issue. When a lawyer’s negligence results in financial loss to the client, a claim for legal malpractice may be pursued.
At The Brad Hendricks Law Firm, our Little Rock legal malpractice attorneys understand your rights and would be glad to discuss your potential claim against your former attorney for a failure to provide proper representation. The attorneys at our firm who offer representation in legal malpractice cases include:
What is Legal Malpractice?
Legal malpractice is the same thing as legal negligence. It consists of a failure to provide ethical and/or reasonable representation of the client. Generally, there must be resulting damages that would not have otherwise occurred but for the lawyer’s negligence. This often takes the form of a client owing money that he should not owe or not collecting money that he should have collected. Some common types of legal malpractice include:
- Failure to timely file an answer to a lawsuit resulting in a default judgment.
- Failure to timely file responses to motions that causes dismissal of the case or that adversely affects the client.
- Failing to sue the proper parties within the statute of limitations.
- Discovery abuse resulting in the entry of a judgment on the pleadings.
- Dismissal of the lawsuit through some fault of the lawyer.
- Failure to properly present the claim and/or defense of the client.
To prove malpractice took place, you will need to prove the following:
- An attorney-client relationship existed: this can often be done through any contracts you signed or payments made to the attorney such as the retainer fee to obtain the attorney’s services.
- Your attorney negligently represented you: you will be required to prove that you would have won your case had you received competent representation.
- Your attorney’s actions caused you to suffer damages: in a legal malpractice case, the recoverable damages are generally the damages caused by the malpractice of the negligent lawyer. Again, this would typically be money you would have recovered if you were the plaintiff or the money you ended up paying if you were the defendant.