Why Legal Malpractice Is Hard To Prove
Lawyers, like doctors and other professionals, are held to professional standards and a code of ethics. A lawyer has a sworn and sacred duty to a client’s best interests. When legal counsel fails in that duty, it may rise to malpractice.
Proving legal malpractice is no small task. Namely, you must show that you would have prevailed in your original legal case if not for the attorney’s negligence. The Carew Law Office in Seattle can gauge whether your case meets the criteria to bring a lawsuit against your previous attorney.
The Four Elements Of A Viable Legal Malpractice Case
The bar for legal malpractice is set purposely high to discourage frivolous lawsuits by disgruntled clients who lost their cases “fair and square.” To prevail in a legal malpractice claim, we need to establish all of the following:
- A duty to the client – Hiring legal counsel creates a general duty on the part of the attorney. It may be necessary to establish specific duties, such as meeting a critical deadline or obtaining your consent.
- Breach of duty – There are many grounds for legal malpractice, from incompetent lawyering to misappropriating client funds. We have to show that what the attorney did (or failed to do) violated the professional standard of care.
- Cause and effect – We must demonstrate that the attorney’s negligence or wrongdoing was the reason you lost your case. That means we have to convince the judge, jury or arbitrator that you should have and would have prevailed in the underlying legal matter.
- Tangible harm – In any malpractice suit, there must be damages. We have to demonstrate that losing your case caused you to suffer a measurable financial loss. What was the value of the lawsuit your attorney botched? What was the impact on your business of losing in court? And so on.
Do You Have A Case For Lawyer Malpractice?
Shane Carew brings 40 years of experience in civil litigation and appeals. He can determine if you have the basis for legal malpractice and identify the obstacles. We represent individuals and businesses in Seattle and surrounding Washington. Call 206-536-3043 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form.