As in most legal disputes, the decision whether to pursue litigation against a negligent attorney for committing legal malpractice can come down to several factors. In determining whether a malpractice suit is necessary, we have both legal standards and personal strategy to consider.
First, the legal question. In most legal malpractice cases, the victim must prove two things:
1. The accused attorney did something negligent
2. As a result, the plaintiff suffered damages that would not have occurred if the lawyer had acted correctly.
The first factor, negligence, has to do with the defendant’s conduct while they were working for the injured party. Lawyers owe their clients a standard of care, which is defined as how other attorneys in their particular field are expected to perform. Failure to live up to that standard puts the client at serious risk of an unjust result in their case, whether it is a criminal or civil matter. This could result in a prison sentence for an innocent person, or the loss of a huge sum of money.
Of course, if the client did not suffer any significant harm, there is likely no malpractice claim. But there is often a great deal at stake in a legal dispute, which is probably why the client hired an attorney in the first place.
In some cases, legal malpractice caused harm to the client, but the amount is relatively small. Thus, the case falls into a gray area. Is it worth suing the negligent attorney or not? A consultation with a legal malpractice attorney can help clear up some of this doubt.