Friday, January 29, 2010

The Other Malpractice - Legal

When the term "malpractice" is thrown around, the typical reaction is to assume that is medical malpractice. But, contrary to popular belief, there are a number of other types of medical malpractice that in no way involve negligent doctors or nurses. One of these forms of malpractice is legal malpractice.

What is Legal Malpractice?

Attorneys are always held to a certain standard of ethics and responsibility on the part of their clients as well as the judicial system as a whole. Technically, legal malpractice is the term for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty or breach of contract by an attorney. Any one of these actions must then result in serious harm to the attorney's client.

If the client suspects legal malpractice, he or she must be able to prove that the attorney's actions were the direct cause of injury. The injury here is usually monetary although it may also be argued that loss of time or emotional stress may be damages as well.

A common example of legal malpractice is when an attorney misses an important deadline pertaining to his or her client's case such as a statue of limitations. This error must then lead to the loss or severe hindering of the client's case.

Your Rights as a Client

Many people report feeling helpless when it comes to their lawsuits. They believe that the outcome of their cases is left entirely up to the attorney and they are left completely in the dust as far as what is going on with their own case.

Most people want to have a good idea of the exact happenings and developments of their lawsuits. For one thing, most clients would like to know what their attorney is working on and if they are truly charging them correctly. A good attorney should be very up front with their clients and provide them with detailed lists of what they have been working on in regards to their case without needing to be asked. This is not always the case, but you do have rights as a client including the right to:

• Challenge an attorney's expense reports-attorneys should have copies of invoices, bills and other receipts to show what they have been doing on your behalf

• Find out how disciplined a lawyer has been

• Get a new lawyer

For more information on legal malpractice, visit the website of the St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers of Beltz & Ruth, P.A.

Joseph Devine

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