Few things are as annoying as when a professional fails to do their job properly, especially when it’s your lawyer. There is a term for when lawyers fail to do their job: legal malpractice. Legal malpractice is the term used to describe when a lawyer is negligent or causes harm to their client via a breach of contract or breach of duty. When it comes to lawyers and other legal professionals, there is a certain level of expectation that they will act professionally and carry out their duties. Failing to do so may make them liable for legal malpractice.
What are some of the most common causes of legal malpractice? To put it simply, there is a laundry list of causes and behaviors that may result in legal malpractice. Let’s take a look at five of the most common legal malpractice claims below.
One of the most common legal malpractice claims is failing to know, apply, or understand the law. When most people consult with a lawyer, there is an expectation that the lawyer will be knowledgeable in their profession. Understanding and knowing how to apply the law is crucial when it comes to representing clients. Typically, this type of malpractice happens when lawyers have more than one practice area. When a lawyer has more than one practice area to keep track of, extra care must be taken to understand the specifics of how laws are applied depending from one field to another.
No matter the profession, being able to meet deadlines is important. In the legal world, missing deadlines can mean the difference between a case making it before a judge or not. When lawyers fail to meet deadlines, whether by forgetting to file important paperwork or showing up for a court date, clients could face a slew of repercussions, including the possibility of missing out on the ability to file a lawsuit. Typically, this type of legal malpractice happens more often when multiple lawyers handle a single case because lines of communication are more likely to get crossed.
When it comes to legal cases, planning is everything. It’s not enough to just plan out court dates and deadlines to file paperwork. Lawyers have to plan for every possible outcome a case may take. To be successful, lawyers have to determine a strong strategy and keep up with filing deadlines. Failing to plan properly may result in cases being dismissed altogether. It may also be grounds for legal malpractice.
Depending on the case, it may be best to wait until the dust settles to agree to a settlement. This is especially important for cases involving injuries or medical malpractice. Before a settlement agreement, lawyers may need to develop information so that the client may recover as much as possible, because it will make calculating the cost of those injuries easier and more accurate. When lawyers settle prematurely, their clients may miss out on much-needed funds.
At the end of the day, legal malpractice can be costly for lawyers and clients alike. Not only can it end up wasting a lot of time for everyone involved, but clients may end up missing out on settlement funds from premature settlements and dismissed cases. If you think you’ve been a victim of legal malpractice, King & Jones would like to hear from you. Our dedicated Chicago legal malpractice attorneys will help you get the justice you deserve. Call our office today at 312-372-4142.