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Court cites plaintiff’s laxity in pursuing legal malpractice claim

We pose a pointed question to California readers of our legal malpractice blog at the long-established Los Angeles law firm of Glickman & Glickman.

We directly ask this on a relevant website page: “Were you a victim of your attorney’s malpractice?”

Candidly, that is far from a routinely simple query to answer in all cases. Sometimes ambiguity surrounds whether a lawyer was just a big sloppy or morphed over into material error. Moreover, it isn’t always clear whether demonstrated deficiency closely contributed to a client loss and resulting damages.

And then there is this: Malpractice runs a wide gamut, with it being possible that your attorney could have acted negligently in a variety of ways. We reference some of those on our website. They centrally include retained counsel’s having a conflict of interest, grossly violating an ethical canon, missing a key deadline or performing in a manifestly incompetent manner generally.

Whatever the case might be, it is incumbent upon a harmed client to not be deemed legally tardy in recognizing a lawyer’s substandard performance and taking responsive action to demand accountability.

That duty of vigilance can be closely scrutinized by a court in a way that ultimately derails a victim’s malpractice claim against a negligent attorney. Such was the case recently in a matter where an appellate court concluded that a plaintiff simply waited too long to legally act following the moment when she should have “known enough to believe reasonably that an injury was wrongfully caused.”

So-called statutes of limitation (time bars) applicable to malpractice claims vary from state to state. A malpractice victim will reasonably want to timely consult with a proven malpractice legal team concerning time limits and other considerations relevant to a potential claim.