When A Lawyer Is Careless, You Have Rights
You suffer a serious injury, then you wait patiently for your lawyer to settle your case so you can pay off bills and move on with your life. Then one day you get a call from your lawyer saying your case was dismissed. What happened?
Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney, acting in their professional capacity, fails to exercise reasonable care. Reasonable care is a standard which refers to the degree of skill that an ordinary practitioner in the legal profession would use.
Because legal malpractice can occur in any setting in which an attorney represents a client, a claim for legal malpractice can refer to a wide range of issues, including, but not limited to:
- General negligence
- Conflicts of interest
- Failure to file documents or pleadings in a timely manner
- Failure to convey settlement offers to a client
- Ethical violations
- Malpractice in drafting contracts
- Billing and fee abuses
- Unauthorized services
- Trial malpractice
Identifying malpractice requires legal skill and knowledge. Our legal team at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP, can help you determine whether your lawyer committed malpractice and, if so, what steps we can take to make you whole again.
Common Questions About Legal Malpractice
Like other types of malpractice, legal malpractice cases can be complicated. They’re subject to their own set of deadlines and legal standards for proving your claim. Below are some common questions about these types of cases.
How long do I have to file for legal malpractice in New York?
In New York, the deadline (or statute of limitations) for bringing a legal malpractice claim is three years from the date of the alleged malpractice. However, that deadline is paused (or tolled) while you are still actively represented by that lawyer. The reasoning for this pause is that you shouldn’t be expected to question your attorney’s guidance and actions while the attorney-client relationship is still ongoing.
Because this deadline can be a highly contentious gray area, it’s wise to consult with an independent malpractice lawyer as soon as you suspect that your attorney has made mistakes concerning your case.
How do I prove attorney negligence in New York?
Negligence is one of the grounds for legal malpractice claims in New York. To prove negligence, you must establish that your attorney failed to uphold professional standards of care, skill, diligence or knowledge in representing you.
This, too, can be a gray area. Practicing law involves the exercise of professional judgment. It’s important to distinguish between actions or advice that amounted to strategic errors or lapses in judgment versus failure to uphold a clear duty. Only the latter can be grounds for a malpractice claim.
What are common damages in a New York legal malpractice case?
Calculating the amount of damages (the money losses you suffered) can be a significant and challenging issue in legal malpractice cases. It depends on the nature of the malpractice claim.
If your attorney’s malpractice deprived you of the ability to recover compensation in the underlying legal matter, you may be entitled to recover the value of that claim – in other words, the amount you would have obtained if your attorney hadn’t committed malpractice. If your lawyer’s malpractice resulted in measurable economic losses, you may be entitled to recover them. You may also be entitled to reimbursement for the legal fees you incurred to mitigate those losses. Any damages must be concrete and ascertainable – meaning they can’t be speculative.
We Will Fight For Justice On Your Behalf
At Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP, we proudly help victims of legal malpractice take action under the law. As evidenced in our notable verdicts and settlements, our experienced attorneys know how to obtain compensation for victims of negligent legal representation.