Houston Legal Malpractice Lawyers
Has the mistake of a lawyer cost you your chance to seek justice in a personal injury or civil litigation case? Has legal malpractice in a business transaction caused you substantial damages? Has an attorney violated his or her fiduciary duty owed to you? If so, contact the Houston, Texas legal malpractice lawyers at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., today. Lawyer malpractice can take several forms. The most common claim against an attorney is one of negligence. To prove attorney mistakes and a negligence claim against a lawyer a plaintiff must show:
- A duty owed by the lawyer to the client
- The lawyer breached the duty
- The breach of the duty by the lawyer caused the client’s injury
- Damages resulted from the attorney’s negligence
- In the case of a lawsuit being negligently handled by a lawyer, a client must show that but for the attorney’s negligent actions, he or she would have won the underlying lawsuit. For example, if a client has a potential personal injury claim, hires a lawyer and the lawyer forgets to file suit within the statute of limitations deadline, the client would show that the lawyer was negligent and would have won the underlying injury case. Of course, there is no need to show this second phase of damages (client would have won the underlying case) if the lawyer negligently handles a business or other transaction.
A lawyer can also be held liable to a client if the lawyer breaches his fiduciary duty. An attorney owes his client undivided loyalty and confidentiality. Breach of fiduciary duty by a lawyer can take many forms such as self dealing, conflicts of interest, disclosure of client confidential information and disclosure of former client confidential information. If a breach of fiduciary duty is severe enough, the actions of the attorney can result in a forfeiture of his fees.
Some typical examples of attorney conduct giving rise to a legal malpractice claim include:
- Conflicts of interest (such as suing a former client)
- Failing to add proper parties
- Failing to present defenses
Failing to answer a lawsuit in time
- Submitting an improper charge (jury instruction) without objections
- Mistakes in the lawsuit that cause the case to be dismissed such as having pleading stricken or missing the Statute of Limitations
- Misusing client funds
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Breach of attorney-client privilege
- Bad legal advice
- Malfeasance or dishonesty
As in any other personal injury case, if you have a potential legal malpractice claim, it is important that you not deal with an insurance company representative yourself. The insurance company will likely work to reduce the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive due tot he lawyer’s mistakes.
If you feel that a lawyer has been negligent in handling your litigation, car accident claim or other transaction, contact the legal malpractice and personal injury lawyers at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., today.