Can I Sue My Lawyer for Negligence?

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Can I Sue My Lawyer for Negligence?

Stressed-out lawyer being sued for negligence.

If you’re wondering “Can I sue my lawyer for negligence?” then you’re likely looking for justice after your previous lawyer screwed up your case. But what counts as negligence? Do I have to hire another attorney to make things right?

There are likely a lot of questions going through your head and hiring another attorney is the last thing you want to do, but Ross Sears and the lawyers who sue lawyers at Sears Crawford have built a reputation for bringing justice to their clients who have been wronged by their previous attorneys.

Ross has been suing lawyers in Texas for over 30 years because of his commitment to his clients and to the integrity of the legal profession. If you or a loved one suspects that your previous lawyer was negligent and harmed your case, call Ross at Sears Crawford today at (713) 223-3333 and ask him to fight for you.

What is attorney negligence?

Before we discuss how to sue your lawyer for negligence, we should define attorney negligence. Attorney negligence is one type of legal malpractice, in which the actions of a negligent attorney cause harm to their client. But how do you know if your attorney is negligent?

Lawyers aren’t required to be perfect — they aren’t even required to win your case — but they are required to meet a certain standard of care. When they don’t meet this standard of care and it results in harm to their clients, they have committed legal malpractice.

In Texas, the standard of care for any attorney is the amount of care that any reasonably prudent attorney would have given under the same or similar circumstances. While that’s not a very satisfying answer, it actually may help you prove that your previous attorney committed an act of negligence and therefore, committed malpractice.

What is the most common complaint against lawyers?

While negligence might be the most common type of legal malpractice we see at Sears Crawford, there are many other examples of unethical attorney behavior that constitute legal malpractice.

  • Missed deadlines. An attorney missing the deadline for filing of important legal documents, not responding in a timely way to motions, or not appealing decisions, can significantly harm a case and often constitute legal malpractice.
  • Inadequate communication. Failing to keep a client informed about the progress of their case, failing to respond to client inquiries, or failing to obtain necessary client consent for actions can all constitute legal malpractice.
  • Conflicts of interest. Attorneys are ethically obligated to avoid conflicts of interest that could compromise their loyalty to the client. Representing clients with conflicting interests or failing to disclose potential conflicts is often considered legal malpractice, but can also give rise to claims for Breach of Fiduciary Duty, which is essentially when an attorney self-deals or puts their interests ahead of their client.
  • Failure to know or apply the law. If your attorney attempted to take on a case outside of their field of expertise and therefore could not provide adequate representation, it may have been legal malpractice.
  • Inadequate discovery. Lawyers have a duty to conduct reasonable investigations into the facts of a case, and failing to gather essential evidence can lead to legal malpractice claims.
  • Fraud. Attorney fraud occurs whenever an attorney engages in deception for unlawful personal gain. This conduct more likely gives rise to claims for Breach of Fiduciary Duty.
  • Unauthorized actions. While your attorney doesn’t need to ask you or tell you about every little thing that they do, not obtaining client consent for big decisions (including taking settlements) in your case might qualify as legal malpractice.
  • Overbilling or unconscionable fees. If your attorney misappropriated your funds or charged you unreasonably it may have been malpractice. This conduct can also give rise to claims for Breach of Fiduciary Duty.

There are a million reasons to be upset with your attorney, but not all of them amount to legal malpractice. If you believe that your attorney was negligent or committed malpractice that harmed your case, the best thing that you can do is contact an experienced legal malpractice attorney who knows how to sue an attorney in Texas and ask them if you have a case. That attorney is Ross Sears with Sears Crawford.

*Continue reading about how to prove attorney overbilling

How long do you have to sue an attorney for malpractice?

In Texas, the statute of limitations for legal malpractice is generally two years from the date that you discover your lawyer’s malpractice. There are certain situations in which that statute can be extended to four years, and sometimes even longer, depending on the facts, but you should contact an attorney the moment you suspect that your attorney committed malpractice to ensure that you are not too late to preserve your legal rights.

The clock starts running as soon as you first discover your attorney’s malfeasance (misconduct), so even if you’re just harboring suspicions, it would benefit you to call Ross Sears, a legal malpractice attorney to cover your bases.

How to sue your lawyer for negligence

In order to prove attorney malpractice and successfully sue your lawyer for negligence, three essential elements must be proved.

  1. There was a duty of care. A written (or occasionally verbal) contract is sufficient proof that your attorney owed a duty to you.
  2. That duty was breached. By either committing an action that a reasonable and prudent attorney would not have committed or not committing an action that a reasonable and prudent attorney would have under the same or similar circumstances, your attorney did not provide you with reasonable care.
  3. That breach of duty harmed your case. It must be proved to the court that this action or inaction by your attorney directly harmed your case and caused you damages.

Suing your lawyer for negligence isn’t easy, and those looking to find justice should work with a trusted and experienced legal malpractice lawyer (one who carries malpractice insurance) to set things right.

Can I sue my lawyer for negligence in Texas? Yes, and you should only do so with a good lawyer who sues lawyers at your side.

In Texas, you have the right to sue your negligent lawyer for malpractice and attempt to even the score, but you shouldn’t do so without an experienced and trusted legal malpractice lawyer who can help you prove it.

Additionally, you should make sure that whoever you hire to represent you carries malpractice insurance. We proudly carry malpractice insurance at Sears Crawford, although we’re even more proud of the fact that we’ve never had to use it.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by your previous attorney’s negligence, give Ross Sears at Sears Crawford a call today at (713) 223-3333 or contact us online for a consultation. We sue lawyers for our clients and for the integrity of our profession and we’re here to help you get the justice you deserve.

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