When you hire an attorney in Florida, you expect them to give you the best possible representation. It is their fiduciary duty to treat you with the utmost care, loyalty, and honesty. Unfortunately, sometimes lawyers make mistakes that can cost their clients dearly.
Understanding legal malpractice
Legal malpractice is a term used to describe professional negligence by an attorney that causes their client to suffer some form of damage. In Florida, a lawyer is obligated to comply with the rules of professional conduct set forth by The Florida Bar. If a lawyer fails to meet this standard of care and their client is harmed, the attorney may be held liable for damages.
Common legal malpractice claims
First, a lawyer must know and apply the law correctly. They are also expected to keep their clients informed about what is happening in their case and answer any questions they may have in a timely manner. Failure to do so could result in the client making decisions that are not in their best interest.
Another common claim is that the lawyer breached their fiduciary duty to the client. As mentioned before, lawyers have a duty to treat their clients with care, loyalty, and honesty. If they fail to do so at any given time, the client can file a lawsuit against them.
Finally, lawyers are required to act with reasonable diligence and promptness when handling their clients’ legal matters. This means they should work diligently and not make any avoidable mistakes. The law forbids lawyers from taking any action that is improper or that which may suggest the appearance of negligence.
Damages that can be recovered in a legal malpractice claim
In a legal malpractice claim, the client may be able to recover compensatory damages, such as lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. In some cases, the client may also be able to recover punitive damages. These are designed to punish the lawyer for their misconduct and deter future misconduct.
Lawyers are not perfect. As with any other human, they will make mistakes sometimes. However, the law holds them to a higher standard when they take on the responsibility to represent you. If they fail to meet that standard and are harmed because of it, you may be able to hold them liable in a legal malpractice claim.