When you hire a lawyer, you hope they will abide by their professional and ethical responsibility to represent you with integrity and competence. A breach of this good faith could amount to legal malpractice.
If you are a victim of legal malpractice, you need to take proactive steps to assert your rights and pursue justice. However, it is important to understand that, just like other legal claims, time is never on your side.
But first, what elements must you prove in a legal malpractice claim?
While bringing your legal malpractice claim, you will need to prove four elements of your case. Firstly, you need to prove that the attorney owed you a duty of care to represent you as reasonably possible. This element is affirmed by the attorney-client contract that you signed. Next, you need to prove that the attorney breached this duty of care. In other words, they failed to do what they agreed to do or made mistakes that jeopardized your case. Third, you need to prove that the attorney’s conduct caused you specific damages. Finally, you need to prove that you suffered particular losses as a result of their actions.
Timeframe for pursuing your legal malpractice claim
Per California Civil Statute of Limitations Laws, you have one year to act upon discovering the attorney’s omission or wrongful act or four years from the day the omission or wrongful act happened (whichever comes first). This explains the importance of gathering as much evidence as you can and acting as soon as you possibly can.
Legal malpractice can impact you in a variety of ways. Alongside the risk of an unfavorable outcome for your case, legal malpractice can result in financial hardships as well as emotional and reputational damage. If you believe you are a victim of legal malpractice, you need to critically analyze your case so you can come up with the best course of action as soon as possible.