Legal Malpractice In California: Frequently Asked Questions
If you feel as if you have been harmed by lawyer negligence, you may have many questions relating to this topic that urgently need answers. Attorney Robert N. Hocker, one of the co-founders of Browning|Hocker law firm, has prepared answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about how legal malpractice suits function in California.
Legal Malpractice FAQs: Your Questions Answered
- What is considered legal malpractice? It is an attorney’s failure to utilize the skill, prudence and diligence as other members of the profession commonly possess. An attorney who holds him or herself out as a specialist owes a higher duty which is an act with knowledge and skill as other lawyers in that specific specialty possess. The failure must cause client damages. The standard of care for attorneys who are specialized is higher. What most clients don’t know is that lawyers also owe their clients a fiduciary duty, which includes the duty to place the client’s interest first and duties of disclosure, loyalty and good faith.
- For what types of lawyer error may I sue my attorney? Erroneous actions that may be part of a malpractice lawsuit may include communication errors, drafting errors, errors in the courtroom or errors during a transactional process (preparing contracts, trusts, etc.).
- What must I prove to win a legal malpractice case? To prevail in a legal malpractice suit, you must prove that your attorney made a mistake that a competent attorney would not have made or did not do what he or she promised to do, and that you were harmed financially because of the lawyer’s error.
- Can I sue my lawyer for malpractice? Yes, if you had an attorney-client relationship with a lawyer and can demonstrate the criteria needed to win the case, you may sue the attorney.
- What fees can I sue my lawyer for? The standard damages in malpractice cases are the provable losses that resulted from your attorney’s negligent or wrongful actions. You may have additional options for recovering other fees; consult with an experienced legal malpractice attorney for details.
- How can I discover if my lawyer has been sued before for legal malpractice? You may search California civil court proceedings. You may also wish to review a lawyer’s profile on The State Bar of California’s website, which will list any disciplinary or administrative actions that have been taken against him or her.