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Improper court filings cost woman her medical malpractice claim

Few attorneys in Los Angeles win every case they take. Though they do their best, sometimes the evidence is against their client and the other side prevails in court. But when an attorney fails to live up to his or her duty to represent a client to the best of his or her ability, there is no chance for the client to get a just result.

Mistakes such as missing important deadlines or not improperly writing court deadlines can cause your case to get dismissed — not because you don’t have a good case, but because your attorney committed legal malpractice. That is what happened to a woman in another state who was the victim of medical malpractice.

She was left paralyzed at age 14 when surgeons botched her spinal surgery, costing her the use of her legs and ending her dream of playing professional soccer. She sued the medical center and the doctors responsible to receive compensation for her disability.

But when her attorneys filed the lawsuit, he did so incorrectly. The law firm tried again with a proper filing, but by that time it was too late — the statute of limitation had passed, meaning that too much time had passed to file the lawsuit. The woman could no longer seek damages from the doctors who had harmed her.

After learning of what her attorneys had done, the victim and her family sued the firm for legal malpractice. That case went to trial recently and ended in a $4 million verdict — in a sense, to replace what she might have gotten in the original personal injury case.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Goochland woman wins $4 million malpractice verdict,” Reed Williams, Oct. 3, 2013