Questions About Legal Malpractice
What are the first steps in a legal malpractice case?
The first step in any legal malpractice case is to review the actions taken
by the attorney in question to determine if malpractice, in fact, occurred.
Not all cases that are lost or unfavorable legal outcomes are the result
of legal malpractice. Instead, it is vital to review the attorneys’
files and possibly court files and other documents to determine if the
outcome was due to attorney error or some other cause. As attorneys ourselves,
and with the resources we have to research applicable standards of care
and consult with other attorneys, we can review the facts and conduct
our own legal research to determine if malpractice did occur.
We generally do not charge a fee for the initial review of the case or
I think my lawyer committed malpractice, what should I do?
The first thing you should do anytime you believe a lawyer has committed
malpractice is take whatever steps are necessary to minimize the damage
caused. Those steps could be everything from requesting that the negligent
attorney take certain actions to correct his or her error, to seeking
a second opinion from another attorney. Once you have attempted to minimize
the damage caused, you should contact us immediately. We can then guide
you as to the proper way to investigate, evaluate and pursue your case,
including preserving evidence.
I learned that my lawyer was successfully sued for malpractice in the past,
should I stop using him or her?
Even the best lawyers make mistakes. The key factor to consider is whether
your lawyer is providing you with sufficient legal services. If not, then
you may wish to look for a different lawyer. While no attorney can guarantee
a successful result in every legal matter, if you are receiving poor results
due to a failure to comply with legal deadlines and rules or a continuing
lack of professionalism, then you should consult with us.
Are claims against lawyers subject to special rules and deadlines?
No. While a claim against an attorney may require different evidence than
a claim against a doctor or anyone else, it will generally be subject
to the same statute of limitations and court rules as all other claims,
except medical malpractice.
Generally speaking, only medical malpractice claims have special rules
designed to make the claims more difficult to bring and to limit the recovery,
if the plaintiff is successful.
Why would a lawyer be willing to sue another lawyer?
As personal injury attorneys, Simeone & Miller, LLP takes its job of
assisting those who are injured through someone else’s negligence
seriously. We believe in our nation’s legal system and we know that
it is vital to our citizens’ wellbeing, even though it is far from
perfect. Accordingly, lawyers must be held accountable for their errors,
just like any other citizen or corporation. We help injured people who
have claims and need our assistance - whoever the responsible party may be.
What if my case was very difficult?
If a case is difficult to prove, a bad outcome may not be the result of
attorney malpractice or negligence, but rather simply the result of the
difficulties presented by the case. You may still have a case, but the
best step is to consult with us and allow us to investigate the case (generally
at no charge). We can then determine whether the outcome was due to negligence
or whether the case was lost for other reasons.
Will the attorney give me a copy of my file?
Under the professional rules of nearly every state bar association, you
are entitled to your original file - no matter what. The attorney has
a right to make a copy of the file - at his or her expense - if he wishes
to keep a copy. The attorney also is given a reasonable period of time
to produce the file to you.
Many attorneys refuse to provide a client’s file or attempt to charge
them a fee for copying. This may not be proper and may be a violation
of the attorney’s ethical duties. If you consult with Simeone &
Miller, we can assist you in obtaining your file because we know the rules
and know how to enforce them.
What types of legal malpractice cases do you handle?
We handle virtually any type of legal malpractice case including:
- Failure to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations
- Failure to provide notice of a claim to a government within the deadline
- Filing suit against the wrong party or failing to sue the correct party
- Failure to meet court deadlines
- Incorrect drafting of legal documents
- Failure to appear for court dates or depositions
- Settling a case for an insufficient amount
- Any other case involving legal malpractice