Accidents and mistakes can happen in any profession and can cause a client significant financial or emotional damages. Lawyers have to adhere to professional codes of conduct and ethics and abide by the relevant laws in their state of practice.
People hire attorneys to protect them through challenging and important decisions. But what happens if the attorney you trusted fails to meet their duty of care and you suffer as a result? If you believe your attorney has been negligent, you may want to discuss your case with a South Dakota legal malpractice lawyer.
A legal malpractice lawyer handles cases where a plaintiff brings forth a negligence claim against an attorney. Legal malpractice can occur across several practice areas, but recent data from an insurance center suggests it is becoming more prevalent in specific legal fields.
Lawyers have a professional duty of care to their clients and should adhere to ethical codes of conduct. When an attorney fails in their duty of care or behaves in a way that violates the required ethical code of conduct, they may be liable for legal malpractice. Most attorneys carry professional liability insurance to protect them in a malpractice claim.
Common examples of legal malpractice include:
Proving a legal malpractice claim can be challenging. An experienced malpractice attorney will be able to guide you through the legal process and ensure you present the relevant evidence required to prove your claim. As the plaintiff, you must prove that the attorney breached their duty of care to you as the client and that their malpractice resulted in you suffering financial harm or other damage.
There are three elements in establishing legal malpractice:
A legal malpractice lawyer will ensure that the proper evidence is presented to the court to establish and prove your case. They will also handle all communication and make sure that documents are filed on time so that you meet all of the relevant legal deadlines.
If you feel that your lawyer was negligent in handling your case and that their actions caused you to be the victim of a loss, you should contact a South Dakota legal malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights. It is essential to seek legal representation as soon as possible as each state has a statute of limitations for filing a legal malpractice claim. The statute of limitations defines the period in which a plaintiff can file a claim for compensation due to another party's negligent behavior. This limited window of time to file your claim varies from state to state, so it is crucial to hire an expert that will ensure your case is handled within the deadlines.
It may be challenging to find a lawyer for legal malpractice willing to take on your case. Some law firms are hesitant to take on malpractice cases against attorneys in their city, town or district. Team members or associates may have a professional relationship with the defendants, presenting a potential conflict of interest. However, many law firms across the country specialize in legal malpractice.
Here are three ways to find a legal malpractice lawyer to handle your case:
Legal malpractice cases can be challenging, so it’s crucial to choose the best legal malpractice lawyer in South Dakota for your unique case.
Here are four questions to ask when choosing a legal malpractice attorney:
The cost of hiring a lawyer for legal malpractice in South Dakota can vary widely depending on the law firm’s fee agreement structure and the complexity of your case. Attorneys may charge an hourly rate or offer services for claims on a contingency fee basis. If a law firm offers a contingency fee agreement, you will not have to pay any legal fees unless you win your case. If your claim is successful, the firm will recover a percentage of the damages awarded to you in the case.
Most legal malpractice attorneys offer a free consultation. This consultation allows the attorney to assess your case and provide advice on navigating the legal process. Any information shared in this initial free consultation is confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege.
If you gave your lawyer permission to settle within a specific financial range under the terms and conditions of your contract, then one could argue that the lawyer was following your instructions. However, if the lawyer settled your case without your permission or effective communication, then they have breached the standard of professional ethics to which they adhere. If you can prove that your case would have been more successful if the lawyer had communicated with you and not accepted the settlement offer, then you may be able to sue for legal malpractice.
If your case of legal malpractice is successful, you may be entitled to compensation for any loss or harm you suffered due to the lawyer’s negligent actions. Compensation may be provided for any economic or financial losses and might also cover any subjective emotional and psychological distress. You may also be eligible to regain any legal costs, such as court and attorney fees.
If you suspect your lawyer has acted negligently in handling your case, complete the following steps: