Can I Sue My Lawyer for Losing My Lawsuit?
Those who have had a bad experience with a previous lawyer can feel like they have no options. You probably wish you could start over and hire someone else from the beginning, and are likely wondering what you can do about it now. You may even find yourself asking questions that parrot, “Can I get my case reopened? Can I file a complaint? Can I sue my lawyer?”
At Sears Crawford, as lawyers that sue lawyers, we get that last question a lot. Can you sue your lawyer for losing your case? You might be able to, but it depends on the specifics of your case, how long it has been since the case ended, and who you have fighting in your corner to represent you.
What is the most common complaint against lawyers?
The most common complaints that we get against attorneys are usually about poor communication and a lack of assurance that things are being handled with care. While your lawyer taking too long to call you back is usually not grounds to sue them, it can be indicative of other bad behavior. Some more common complaints against lawyers that we hear include:
- Neglect of your case
- Poor communication
- Attorney overbilling or charging of unconscionable fees
- Not looking out for your best interests
- Settlement of a case that you did not wish to settle
- Handling cases (or trials) that they were not competent to handle
If your attorney was guilty of any of the above, you might have grounds to sue them — but how do you know when to sue your lawyer?
What is unethical for a lawyer?
Or to put it another way, when do a lawyer’s actions rise to a level that will allow you to sue them? This question is particularly relevant in cases where a lawyer breaches their duty of care or violates their ethical obligations or, in other words, commits legal malpractice. So, what is legal malpractice?
Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney acts or fails to act in the way that a reasonable and prudent attorney would act under the same or similar circumstances, and by acting or failing to act causes their client harm.
Some of the more common ways in which an attorney can commit legal malpractice include:
- Breaching their fiduciary duty, which can include conflicts of interest, misrepresentation of facts, or otherwise putting their interests ahead of their client’s.
- Being negligent can mean failing to file paperwork, missing important deadlines, or otherwise not doing things necessary for the success of your case.
- Failing to know or apply the law, which often occurs when an attorney takes on a case outside of their expertise and causes them to lose a case.
- Overbilling or charging excessive fees for services, which can include high hourly rates or contingency fees, as well as misappropriation of funds.
- Committing fraud, which includes any form of deception by your attorney upon which you relied to your detriment. In other words, if an attorney tells you something that is not true, knowing you will rely on it, you did in fact rely on it, and it caused you harm.
So, can you sue a lawyer for not doing their job and losing your case? Yes — if they have committed legal malpractice. But you’ll need an aggressive and experienced legal malpractice attorney in Houston, like the Ross Sears at Sears Crawford, if you want it to stick.
How long do you have to sue an attorney for malpractice in Texas?
If you’re planning on suing your previous attorney for malpractice in Texas, you need to move quickly. The statute of limitations for legal malpractice in Texas is generally two years from the date of discovery of the lawyer’s malpractice.
If you think your previous attorney committed malpractice, run, don’t walk, to the best Texas legal malpractice attorney that you can find, and tell them that you want to sue your lawyer.
How to find a lawyer to sue another lawyer
But how do you find a lawyer that sues other lawyers? How do you know what to look for in a Texas legal malpractice attorney? Here are four questions that you should ask any prospective malpractice attorneys before you hire them:
- Do you carry legal malpractice insurance? Never hire a lawyer who doesn’t carry legal malpractice insurance. If they screw up your case, legal malpractice insurance will help cover any losses on your end. You may even be in this position because your previous lawyer didn’t carry malpractice insurance, so don’t make the same mistake again.
- Are you willing to waive any arbitration clauses in your contract? Arbitration clauses are put into contracts to keep you from suing your lawyer in front of a judge and jury. When hiring any lawyer, you should ask them to waive any arbitration clauses. In most instances, arbitration benefits the lawyer, not the client. If your attorney cares more about you than themselves, then they should be willing to take any arbitration clauses out of their contract if you ask.
- Are you Board Certified in Personal Injury Law? Personal injury is the area of the law that encompasses physical or mental injury to a person, and also includes cases involving legal malpractice. While not every good malpractice lawyer is Board Certified in Personal Injury Law, it is one way to be sure that you’re getting one with the right expertise.
- How much experience do you have suing other lawyers for malpractice? If they don’t have experience and success suing lawyers for malpractice, then why would you hire them?
After having a conversation with a prospective legal malpractice lawyer, you should feel as if your case is in good hands so that you can finally stop worrying about the past and begin looking toward the future.
Suing your lawyer? Hire a top legal malpractice attorney to protect your rights.
For those wondering “Can I sue my lawyer for losing my case?” Remember that the answer is yes — if they committed legal malpractice. Knowing for sure whether or not your previous attorney committed legal malpractice will likely take the counsel of an experienced legal malpractice attorney, who can tell you whether or not you have a case.
At Sears Crawford, we sue lawyers! Ross Sears II, co-founding attorney of Sears Crawford, knows how to sue an attorney in Texas and make it stick. He has been holding attorneys in Texas accountable for their actions for over 30 years. His commitment is to his clients and to the integrity of his profession.
If you or a loved one was harmed by the negligence or unethical conduct of a previous attorney, call Ross Sears at Sears Crawford today at (713) 223-3333 or contact us online for a free consultation.
More Helpful Articles by Sears Crawford:
- Can I Talk to Another Attorney Before Firing My Current One?
- Negligence vs Malpractice: What is the Difference?
- What Does My Lawyer’s Fiduciary Duty Require?
- I Think I Hired a Lawyer With a Conflict of Interest
- Do Not Hire A Lawyer Who Does Not Carry Legal Malpractice Insurance