Jersey City Legal Malpractice Lawyer
When you’re the victim of legal malpractice, the consequences can be devastating. You may feel betrayed, disappointed, and even humiliated. And while it’s perfectly natural to want to hold the responsible party accountable for what they’ve done, you may be wondering what steps to take. The Jersey City personal injury attorneys at Brady Reilly & Cardoso are here to help.
Jersey City Legal Malpractice Resources
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What is Legal Malpractice?
Legal malpractice occurs when a lawyer fails to provide competent representation to their client. This can happen in a number of ways, such as:
- Failing to file necessary paperwork in a timely manner
- Missing deadlines
- Failing to adequately investigate your case
- Failing to communicate with you about important developments in your case
- Giving you bad advice
- Breaching confidentiality
- Committing fraud or other unethical conduct
If you can prove that your lawyer committed one of these acts (or something else that amounts to legal malpractice) and that you were harmed as a result, you may be able to win compensation for your losses.
However, it’s important to note that not all instances of lawyer misconduct will result in financial harm. For example, if your lawyer misspells your name on a court document, that’s unlikely to result in any measurable harm. Likewise, if your lawyer neglects to return your phone calls promptly, that’s probably not going to cause you any financial losses. For there to be grounds for a malpractice claim, the misconduct must have resulted in some tangible harm.
Why Hire a Jersey City Legal Malpractice Lawyer?
While it’s true that hiring an attorney will cost you money upfront, in the long run, having an experienced legal malpractice lawyer on your side can make all the difference. Here’s how a legal malpractice lawyer will help you with your case:
Investigate Your Claim
When you’ve been the victim of legal malpractice, it can be hard to know where to turn or what to do next. An experienced legal malpractice lawyer will know how to investigate your case thoroughly and find the evidence needed to prove that malpractice occurred. This can be a critical first step in getting the compensation you deserve.
Keep You Informed
During a legal malpractice case, it’s normal to have lots of questions. That’s why an experienced legal malpractice lawyer will keep you informed throughout the process and be available to answer your questions every step of the way.
An experienced legal malpractice lawyer knows how to advocate for your rights and protect your interests. We will zealously pursue your claim to get you the compensation you deserve.
How is Legal Malpractice Proven?
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit against your lawyer for malpractice, there are three elements that must be present for legal malpractice to have occurred:
Duty: The lawyer must have owed the client a duty of care. This means that the lawyer-client relationship was established and that the lawyer agreed to represent the client in a specific capacity. For example, if you hire a criminal defense attorney, they owe you a duty of care to provide adequate representation in your criminal case.
Breach of Duty: The lawyer must have breached their duty of care to the client. This means that the lawyer did not meet the standard of care that is expected of attorneys in their specific area of practice. Continuing with our criminal defense attorney example, if your attorney fails to show up to court or fails to file key documents in your case, they would be breaching their duty of care.
Damages: The breach of duty must have caused actual damages to the client. This means that if the lawyer’s actions (or inaction) resulted in financial or emotional harm to the client, legal malpractice has occurred.
If, for example, you lose your job as a result of your case because your attorney missed an important court hearing, you would likely be able to prove damages.
Proving that your lawyer committed malpractice can be a complex undertaking. There are certain elements you must prove to have a successful claim, and not all instances of attorney misconduct will necessarily rise to the level of malpractice. If you think you may have a case against your lawyer for malpractice, contact an experienced attorney who can evaluate the facts of your case and advise you of your legal options.
What Damages Are Potentially Available in Your Case?
The damages that can be recovered in a legal malpractice case are a bit different than what you’d be able to recover in other types of civil claims.
Economic damages are available in legal malpractice cases. These types of damages are intended to compensate the victim for actual monetary losses sustained as a result of the negligence. This would be the difference between what you would have received if the underlying matter had been handled non-negligently, and what you actually got.
To put it another way, if you hire a lawyer to handle a personal injury case and they settle it for $100,000, but you later learn that a non-negligent lawyer could have settled it for $1 million, then you may be able to recover $900,000 in damages from the negligent lawyer.
Of course, calculating the damages in a legal malpractice case is seldom that simple. In most cases, there will be some uncertainty as to what the outcome of the underlying matter would have been if it had been handled properly.
Emotional Distress Damages Are Not Recoverable
Emotional and psychological distress damages are not recoverable in most legal malpractice cases. However, there are a few exceptions.
Underlying Case Allowed For Emotional Distress Damages
If the underlying claim allowed for the recovery of emotional distress damages—for example, a personal injury claim—and the legal malpractice resulted in the failure to obtain a judgment or settlement, then the emotional distress experienced by the plaintiff may be actionable.
However, this exception is relatively rare because most underlying claims do not allow for the recovery of emotional distress damages. In general, emotional distress damages are only available in cases where there has been physical harm inflicted upon the plaintiff—for example, in a car accident or slip and fall case.
So, if your legal malpractice case does not involve physical injury, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to recover damages for emotional distress.
Speak to a Skilled Jersey City Legal Malpractice Lawyer Today
For more than 50 years, the attorneys at Brady Reilly & Cardoso have been trusted legal representatives and aggressive litigators in New Jersey. If you’re looking for a legal malpractice lawyer in Jersey City, look no further.
Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to get you the best possible outcome for your case. Additionally, we are trial attorneys. While it’s true that most legal malpractice cases settle out of court, the fact that we are experienced litigators often motivates better settlements.
For help with a legal malpractice case, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.