What Really Constitutes Attorney Malpractice?

For attorneys, the idea of a legal malpractice lawsuit being brought against them is extremely unnerving and could lead to the possible ending of their career in the profession. Having something like this hanging over your head is enough to make you feel like your reputation is ruined and your practice is in jeopardy for years to come.

Attorneys who failed to handle a legal case properly due to a number of factors, like negligence, incompetence, or because of intentional harm in some fashion, have seen legal malpractice claims brought against them. But before something like this is brought against a legal professional, it’s best to know what constitutes malpractice and how it can be covered against.

Malpractice Insurance

According to a study from Ames & Gough, five major insurance companies paid out about $50 million in attorney malpractice insurance fees in 2017 alone. An effective attorney malpractice insuranceprogram should be able to protect an attorney in the event that they are being sued for negligence or something similar. Attorney malpractice insurance provides the financial means to provide the right legal counsel in court and fund the procedures that will have to be seen, such as time with representation, litigation, and time in court. Plus, having financial help through insurance will be at least some peace of mind in a stressful situation such as this.

Filing an Attorney Malpractice Lawsuit

Before filing a case against a lawyer, the client must be able to prove without a doubt that they did in fact agree to give legal advice on a legal matter. If there is a written agreement between the attorney and the client, this will usually be sufficient enough proof that a relationship did exist in kind.

If a client wants to see a successful malpractice lawsuit go through, they have to have reasonable evidence that the lawyer in question failed to provide the right advice or did not follow through on their duties as an attorney. Some examples include missed deadlines or failing to file the right paperwork.

Additionally, if an attorney’s negligence caused the client to end up losing any amount of money, this could be what they need to bring a legal malpractice case against them. If the legal negligence of the attorney caused the client to lose a case they were involved in, especially one in which they felt they were more likely to win, this could be considered a financial loss if there was settlement money on the line.

Fallout of Legal Malpractice

If an attorney is found to be guilty of malpractice, the punishment for the violation can be wide ranging depending on the particulars of the case. If a lawyer misled the client on purpose, or failed to work on the case, or even mishandled some information without ill intent, there could be stiff penalties laid out.

About Coast General Insurance

Coast General Insurance Brokers is an insurance brokerage entirely dedicated to business owners. Our agency’s purpose is to partner with our business clients to maintain a pulse on their risks as the business evolves. We match Property and Casualty products and help mitigate claims. Our agency has a dedicated team for Commercial Insurance as well as a team dedicated to Health and Wellness benefits for any size company. Give us a call today at (805) 644-4740 to learn more about what we can do for you.

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