Pittenger Law Firm

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Pittenger Law Firm

Every four years, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability produces a report on trends in legal malpractice claims, based on data from malpractice insurance companies. The most recent trends include:

  • A rising number of legal malpractice claims related to family law, probate law, collection, and bankruptcy law, and business transactions or commercial law. However, most malpractice claims were filed against personal injury attorneys who represent plaintiffs. Real estate law was the leading claims category for the previous four years but ranked second in the most recent report, which reflects a more stable market. The prevalence of estate, trust, and probate malpractice claims will likely continue to grow as the baby boomer generation passes away and passes on its wealth.
  • Legal malpractice claims are becoming more successful. Claims that ended up getting no payout decreased drastically. In addition, legal malpractice insurer payouts were up across all monetary amount categories. Payments between $50,000 and $200,000 nearly doubled, payments between $500,000 and $1 million rose by nearly five times, and payments between $1 million and $2 million increased from 49 to 444. Payments of more than $2 million more than tripled.
  • There are beginning to be more legal malpractice claims against large corporate law firms. These firms, compared to smaller firms and solo practitioners, saw the largest increase in claims.

One truth that has not changed is the fact that very often, claims against insured attorneys will settle, rather than proceeding to trial.

What Are The Steps In A Legal Malpractice Lawsuit In Louisiana?

While legal malpractice cases can be a complex undertaking, in some cases, filing a malpractice lawsuit against an attorney who was negligent in handling your case might be your only recourse. The legal malpractice may be obvious, such as in the case of a missed deadline or exceeded statute of limitations. In other cases, the issue may be considered more of a grey area when it comes to whether or not legal malpractice actually occurred and if it did, whether it had any significant effect on the outcome of your case. If you really believe that your attorney has harmed you financially through negligence, you need a Baton Rouge legal malpractice attorney on your side who has experience litigating legal malpractice cases from beginning to end.

Proving a legal malpractice case is proving two cases in one. First, you have to prove that your attorney owed you a duty of care. Then, you have to prove that your attorney acted negligently in handling your case, breaching that duty and that if that negligence had not occurred, you would have received a favorable outcome. A substantial level of re-litigation of the original case can often become necessary in order to reach a successful outcome in a legal malpractice case. Even if the attorney in your original case made an obvious error, a jury might decide that you would have lost the case anyway.

How Do I Know If I Have A Legal Malpractice Case?

Many clients do not even realize it when they have been victims of legal malpractice. They might realize that their lawyer did something wrong which negatively affected their case, but it can be difficult to tell whether you should report your attorney’s actions. Losing your case alone is not enough to prove that your attorney acted wrongfully. People lose cases all the time. To establish a cause of action for legal malpractice, you must prove that all of the elements of legal malpractice occurred. About one-third of people who file a legal malpractice claim against an insured attorney will eventually recover monetarily. About 15% of people who file claims will recover more than $100,000 in damages.

According to studies by the American Bar Association, failure to know and correctly apply the law is the most common error, resulting in over 11% of legal malpractice claims. This means the attorney in question was unaware of the legal principles involved in the case or did legal research but failed to understand and utilize the principles. The second most common legal malpractice claim is a planning error, making up nine percent of cases. This means that the attorney has adequate knowledge of the case facts and the law, but makes a severe error in judgment when creating a strategy as to how the case should be handled.

For more information on Litigation 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.

Tommy Pittenger

Call For A Consultation
(225) 230-9300