Legal Malpractice Attorney in Pembroke Pines
Regardless of the issue, every client deserves to be treated with care and respect and receive the best representation possible. Unfortunately, not all lawyers are capable of providing the type of representation needed to succeed in a case. When clients receive inadequate representation lawsuits can fail, negotiations can break down, and compensation can be lost.
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), some areas of practice are more prone to malpractice lawsuits than others. Representation in personal injury claims ranks highest in malpractice claims, followed by real estate, family law, bankruptcy, and trusts and estates. Surprisingly, the ABA estimates that 80% of all licensed attorneys will be sued for some form of malpractice over the course of their careers.
Legal malpractice doesn’t exist just because an attorney failed in getting the results you were hoping for. Determining legal malpractice requires a careful analysis of the work done and how that work compares to how other attorneys in Pembroke Pines would have handled the same case under similar circumstances. In this regard, the legal malpractice attorneys at Schlacter Law can help. With years of experience handling these types of cases, we understand the issues involved and can help you get the compensation you need when another attorney fails to do their job properly.
How to Determine Legal Malpractice in Pembroke Pines
Legal malpractice is not determined by the outcome of a case but is measured by the care an attorney used in representing their client. To determine when malpractice exists it must be established that the attorney representing his or her client was negligent in their representation.
Negligence is the legal doctrine in which someone failed in a duty owed to someone else. As with all negligence cases, there are certain elements that must be proven to establish that legal malpractice exists. The four elements of negligence require that:
- There was a duty owed to the client
- The attorney failed in this duty
- The attorney was responsible for some type of harm
- The client was actually harmed
The duty in a legal malpractice case is considered a fiduciary one, in which a person or organization is obligated to act in the best interests of someone else. It is essential that the fiduciary not personally benefit at the expense of the person they are representing.
In addition to a fiduciary duty to act in a client’s best interests, an attorney has a duty to represent a client in a way consistent with the “reasonably prudent standard.” This standard applies in negligence cases and simply put, means that someone with average skill, care, and judgment would have acted in the same manner under similar circumstances. Applied to the field of law, an attorney would, therefore, be required to use the same skill, care, and judgment as a similar lawyer would under the same or similar circumstances and operate in the same or similar field of law.
To establish that a Pembroke Pines attorney failed in their duty to adequately represent their client, it is essential to carefully look at how the initial attorney performed their duties and compare this performance with that of other attorneys in that field. The legal malpractice attorneys at Schlacter Law have the experience necessary to help make a determination if the prior representation was sufficient to meet the reasonably prudent standard.
Once it is established that an attorney failed in their duties to their client, it is important to establish that the attorney was indeed the cause of harm. Simply providing poor representation would not automatically imply negligence. There are circumstances where a negative outcome would have existed regardless of how a Pembroke Pines attorney would have handled the matter. A client must show that any harm that occurred would not have happened “but for” the lawyer’s negligence. If the underlying legal matter was an impossible hurdle for even the best attorney to overcome it is possible that the requirements for negligence would not exist.
The harm in legal malpractice cases is typically measured in costs to the client through lost compensation from losing in litigation as well as the costs incurred in hiring the attorney to litigate the case. Unfortunately, claiming legal malpractice requires hiring another Pembroke Pines attorney to review the first lawyer’s work, thus requiring additional costs and potential losses. In deciding to move forward with a legal malpractice lawsuit a claimant must weigh these additional costs to determine if moving forward is an effective use of resources.
Legal malpractice can be difficult to prove. Even when a legal outcome is counter to the result a client expected, malpractice is not automatic. Establishing the duty owed to the client and whether or not that duty was breached requires a careful analysis of the facts. Talk with a Pembroke Pines legal malpractice lawyer at Schlacter Law today for a consultation. We can help by examining prior work and helping get the compensation for any malpractice.
Types of Errors
The American Bar Association has looked at the different types of errors made in legal malpractice cases and determined that there are five essential types of errors that commonly occur. These include:
- Substantive errors
- Administrative errors
- Intentional wrongs
- Client-relation errors
- Conflict of interests
Accounting for more than 45% of all mistakes, substantive errors make up the brunt of legal malpractice claims. These kinds of errors occur when an attorney fails to know of or properly apply a substantive law that pertains to the issues at hand. Additionally, failing to know of or adhere to deadlines is included in these kinds of claims. It is essential when an attorney handles a matter that it is in an area of law with which they have had some previous knowledge or expertise. Additionally, when giving advice, it is essential that the attorney is not advising a client on the laws of a state where the attorney is not a member of the bar. Failure to adequately discover pertinent facts is also named as a primary concern for substantive errors.
Administrative errors account for over 25% of mistakes made by attorneys in legal malpractice cases. These include clerical and document errors, and often missing important deadlines not because the attorney failed to know of their existence, but simply failed in adhering to them. Statutes of limitations are important hurdles that must be followed in order for a legal matter to proceed through the court system and missing these deadlines can be fatal to a claim. Additional errors include mathematical calculations that could be important to a case as well as the poor delegation of responsibilities to other members of a legal team.
Intentional wrongs make up over 12% of legal malpractice claims. Intentional wrongs are considered malicious acts or acts of fraud committed by an attorney. This includes misappropriation of client funds, malicious prosecution, or the violation of a client’s civil rights, to name just a few. While making up a smaller percentage of legal malpractice cases, these types of errors are no less impactful in harming a client.
Client relation errors make up about 12% of legal malpractice errors. These generally relate to communications with the client and a failure of the attorney to follow a client’s instructions. This might include permission to settle a case and at what dollar amount the client wishes to make a settlement. Additionally, failing to inform a client of the steps the attorney is taking to resolve a case can create these types of issues. This might also include an attorney’s failure to properly advise a client of all of the possible outcomes and implications based on the decisions the client makes throughout the legal process.
Conflicts of interests are a final error that can lead to a legal malpractice lawsuit. This can occur when an attorney’s representation of a current or former client would put another client’s interests at risk. It is imperative that when these conflicts exist that the attorney notifies all clients involved and that any future representation is done with the client’s understanding of the risks involved if the attorney continues to represent them.
With so many different types of errors involved in legal malpractice cases, it is important to have a legal malpractice defense attorney in Pembroke Pines to review the facts before proceeding with a claim. The legal malpractice attorneys with Schlacter Law understand how important it is to get some resolution. We will work hard to ensure that no issue is overlooked and you get as much compensation as possible. Call today.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I afford to pay for a lawyer?
In these types of cases, most attorneys will charge a contingency fee. This allows a victim to initiate services without having to spend any money upfront. A contingency fee would pay a percentage of any money recovered on behalf of a client to the lawyer, and the percentage is usually between 33.33% to 40% of recovered compensation. If you’re worried that you might not be able to afford legal representation, be sure to consult our lawyers today. We can help even if you think you can’t afford to hire someone.
How much money will I receive?
Figuring out how much money a victim might receive is difficult to calculate without first discussing the case with a lawyer. Compensation might include any lost compensation due to the first lawyer’s negligence, as well as any legal fees paid out for representation. Other types of compensation may also be available. Call the Pembroke Pines Schlacter Law firm today so we can evaluate your potential claim.
What if my lawyer settled a case without telling me?
Communication is a key element of any relationship between a lawyer and their client. If an attorney settled a case without first consulting you there may be a reason to consider a claim. If the behavior of the lawyer was one that a lawyer in a similar situation would have done then they may argue that their behavior was appropriate. The only way to truly determine if an error is compensable is through a consultation with a Pembroke Pines lawyer at our firm. Call today.