Understanding the Elements of a Legal Malpractice Claim-Our Firm Defends Law Firms and Lawyers
Attorneys and law firms throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey take thousands of client cases, and not all of those cases can turn out favorably for the client. In some cases, an unfavorable result in their case can lead a client to seek damages for legal malpractice. To be sure, a lawyer or a firm might face legal malpractice allegations from a client who alleges that the attorney’s representation was negligent or ineffective. However, as experienced legal malpractice defense lawyers, handling cases throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we know that many of these cases simply arise when clients are unhappy with the result of a case. When you are facing legal malpractice allegations, regardless of whether you believe the allegations are meritless or legitimate, our firm can assist with your defense.
In the meantime, we want to discuss the key elements of a legal malpractice claim in most jurisdictions, and what a lawyer or firm facing legal malpractice allegations should expect.
Attorney-Client Relationship Existed
In order for anyone to be able to file a legal malpractice claim against you or your firm, that party seeking to file the claim must be able to prove that an attorney-client relationship existed. In many cases, this element of the claim is easily met if you actually represented the person or entity since there will be a retainer agreement and other materials in which you are identified as counsel.
Breach of the Duty of Care
Although it may be relatively easy to prove that an attorney-client relationship existed, the party filing a legal malpractice claim next must be able to show that you breached the duty of care you owed to the client by acting in a negligent manner. In representing a client, an attorney must use his or her judgment to serve the client’s interests, and the attorney’s actions must show the same care that another lawyer in a similar situation would exercise. Our firm will do everything we can to show that your actions were reasonable and that you did not breach the duty of care you owed to your client.
Breach Caused Damages
In addition to proving that an attorney was negligent or otherwise breached a duty of care, the party filing a legal malpractice claim also must show that the attorney’s breach resulted in damages or some type of harm.
Statute of Limitations Allows the Claim
Even if a former client has evidence that can go toward proving the above elements of a legal malpractice claim, that plaintiff must file a lawsuit within the time window required by the statute of limitations. For instance, under New Jersey law, legal malpractice cases must be brought within six years from the date of the alleged malpractice. While lawmakers recently attempted to change the statute of limitations on these cases to two years, that proposed legislation failed. If a plaintiff does not file a lawsuit within the six-year period, the claim will become time-barred.
Seek Advice from an Experienced Legal Malpractice Defense Attorney- Your reputation counts.
Although it can be complicated to navigate the elements of a legal malpractice claim, in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, our experienced legal malpractice defense attorneys can help. We know how difficult it can be to face legal malpractice allegations, and our firm is here to assist you. Contact Thomas Paschos & Associates, P.C. today for more information about the services we provide to attorneys in New Jersey and Pennsylvania who are facing legal malpractice cases.