Is Expert Testimony Necessary in a Legal Malpractice Claim?
Lawyers and attorneys are hired to represent individuals and act in their best interest. The act of trusting can be very difficult for many, and understandably so. When a professional is hired to act in your best interest, but instead acts against it, remedying the situation becomes a grueling process. Filing a malpractice claim — which is one of the remedies available — is a tedious and taxing process that an experienced attorney can help navigate. Below, we first discuss the significance of identifying the malpractice, and then explore whether it is absolutely necessary to have expert testimony in support of your case.
What Is Necessary For A Legal Malpractice Claim?
Proving legal malpractice is easier done when evidence is gathered, and actually, it’s absolutely necessary. In simplest terms, malpractice is proven in a few logical steps. First is proving entering into an attorney-client relationship with an attorney. Second is proving the attorney acted negligently and outside of the standard of care. Thirdly, it is important to prove that had your attorney not been negligent, damages and harm would not have been incurred. Finally, it is important to prove to what extent or value the damages accrue to.
Malpractice can take many forms. Losing a case because your attorney did not know the law is beyond an accident or mistake and is worth looking into, but an attorney’s failure to know or apply the law is just one of several ways an attorney can cause damages or harm by negligence. Another common example of malpractice is failing to timely file legal documents, which can negatively affect your case and cause you to lose. Identifying and gathering your experiences with your attorney in a concise and detailed manner is a critical step in analyzing whether there is potential for a legal malpractice claim. Once your potential claims have been identified, one of the most important next steps is determining whether you will be required to prove your claim through the testimony of an expert witness.
WHAT IS EXPERT TESTIMONY, AND IS IT NECESSARY?
Expert testimony is testimony from an expert or professional in a field related to the case or subject-matter. Expert testimony can absolutely help your case, and it is typically required for a legal malpractice claim, but there are times where negligence is so readily evident that an expert’s testimony might be redundant. Take for example neglecting client consent, or failing to file documents, or failing to inform a client of critical information. But not all malpractice is obvious, so the testimony of an expert may be necessary to establish that your attorney acted negligently. Failing to present such testimony where it is necessary to do so will likely be fatal to your case. Given the nuances and importance of this issue, an attorney can best guide your decision on whether to hire an expert.
QUESTIONS REGARDING MALPRACTICE? CONTACT OUR OFFICE TODAY
When an attorney fails to fulfill the best interests of a client, what results is more than a disgruntled and inconvenienced customer. A client is an individual seeking help. On that basis alone, malpractice disregards an individual’s attempts to seek assistance over a matter that they simply cannot complete on their own. At King & Jones LLC, we believe it is a privilege to assist the community with any advice and representation needed. As such, we encourage you to have confidence when contacting our staff with any malpractice related questions. Our Chicago legal malpractice lawyers can be reached at 312-372-4142. Please contact us today — we’re ready to help you.