What Are The Elements Of A Legal Malpractice Claim?
In order to prove that an attorney committed legal malpractice in Louisiana, you must prove that your attorney failed to use the same skill and care that a reasonable local attorney would have when handling the same case. All elements of legal malpractice need to be shown:
- Duty: You need to prove that your attorney owed a duty to you before proceeding any further with your case. This should be easy to prove because as long as the attorney officially took on your case, he or she owed you a duty to deal with the case competently.
- Breach: Once you have proven that a duty existed, you must show that your attorney breached the duty of care he or she owed to you. This breach could take many different forms.
- Causation: It is not enough to only prove that your attorney was negligent or to only show that you suffered damages. You must also prove that it was the attorney’s negligence that caused your damages.
- Damages: If you want to receive compensation, you must prove that you suffered damages in the form of some sort of financial loss. In most cases, your damages will be the amount that you could have been awarded if there was no legal malpractice.
What Are Some Examples Of Legal Malpractice?
Common forms of legal malpractice in Louisiana include failing to meet a filing deadline, failing to make a claim within the statute of limitations, failing to perform a conflict of interest check, failing to apply the law correctly to the case, and abusing a client’s trust account. Common forms of trust account abuse include commingling trust account funds with the attorney’s personal funds. In cases where the attorney actually committed fraud or theft, he or she may be criminally prosecuted along with the civil malpractice lawsuit. The state bar can also impose disciplinary sanctions, if a complaint is made to the bar, such as fines or even permanent disbarment.
There are many different situations where an attorney’s actions may be considered legal malpractice in Louisiana. If an attorney has mishandled your case and you believe you can prove that his or her mishandling affected the outcome of the case negatively, then you should call a skilled Baton Rouge legal malpractice attorney for assistance right away. It simply cannot be overstated how important it is to invest time in selecting a knowledgeable, reputable legal malpractice attorney in Baton Rouge to guide you through the often complicated, expensive, and time-consuming process that is a legal malpractice case.
How Do You Prove Legal Malpractice?
To prove a legal malpractice claim, you must prove both the malpractice case and also the case within that case. First, you have to prove that the negligent attorney did not provide legal services that were enough to satisfy the duty of care that was owed to you. If you are able to prove that malpractice occurred, then you must then prove that the legal malpractice resulted in actual damages. For instance, a lawyer failing to file a case that is worth no money might constitute legal malpractice, but it did not result in damages. You must prove that your underlying case would have been successful and would have resulted in recovery if there had been no legal malpractice.
The requirement to prove a case within a case can become complicated. It requires that you must prove your underlying case at the same time that you are proving your malpractice case, in order to prove that it would have resulted in damages. In a case involving a motor vehicle accident, for example, you must not only prove legal malpractice by your lawyer but also prove that the other driver in the accident was at fault and that you suffered damages. The amount of those damages would end up being your damages from your legal malpractice case.
How Long Does It Take To Settle A Legal Malpractice Lawsuit In Louisiana?
People considering legal malpractice litigation need to consider many factors before they actually choose to commence a lawsuit. One of those factors is understanding the fact that the litigation process can take a very long time. The average legal malpractice case takes about three to four years from the time that the lawsuit is filed until the completion of a trial.
A legal malpractice victim who seeks justice should be aware that it will likely take a significant amount of time before their case can actually be tried. As a plaintiff working with a Baton Rouge legal malpractice attorney, you can choose whether or not to be involved in the day to day process of your case.
Legal malpractice cases tend to be rather complicated, as a result of you needing to prove that the actions your original attorney did or failed to do would have been more favorable to the outcome of your original case, if they had instead been done correctly. You are required to prove real measurable damages. This makes for a long and complex discovery process, as there is usually discovery related to the legal malpractice case and also discovery related to the original case that the accused attorney handled on your behalf.
For more information on Elements Of A Legal Malpractice Claim, a consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (225) 230-9300 today.
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