Types of Damages in a Legal Malpractice Case
Those who have been harmed by their previous attorney’s negligence and are looking to sue their lawyer are likely wondering what types of damages are recoverable in a Texas legal malpractice case.
The attorneys at Sears Crawford know legal malpractice in Texas. Ross Sears II, the lawyer who sues lawyers at Sears Crawford, has been suing lawyers in Texas for over 30 years, protecting his clients’ interests and fighting for what they deserve.
Call Ross Sears at Sears Crawford today at (713) 223-3333 for a free consultation.
How legal malpractice damages work
Damages recoverable in cases of legal malpractice in Texas are generally and primarily (although not solely) economic damages. Legal malpractice damages are essentially always the difference between what a client should have received if it weren’t for their lawyer’s negligent actions and what they actually received.
Because of this, emotional distress or pain and suffering damages are not generally on the table in Texas legal malpractice cases.
Here’s another way to look at it: legal malpractice cases are essentially two cases, also known as “a case within a case.” Whatever damages were allowed in the underlying case (your first case that your attorney messed up) you are now allowed to pursue and recover in the new legal malpractice case that will be filed against your attorney(s).
Basically, the types of damages that are recoverable in a legal malpractice case include whatever damages you were able to recover from your previous case, except under limited circumstances, you cannot tack on pain and suffering or emotional distress damages against your lawyer, but you can right their wrongs by suing them for screwing up your case.
If you’re curious about what types of damages you’ll be able to recover by suing your lawyer, call the best legal malpractice attorneys Houston has to offer at Sears Crawford today. Call Ross Sears at (713) 223-3333.
Proving damages in legal malpractice cases
Proving damages in legal malpractice cases is mostly about proving that malpractice occurred and how that affected the outcome of your case. In successful legal malpractice cases, you’ll need to prove the following:
- There was duty. This is usually as simple as showing a written or oral contract between you and your attorney.
- That duty was breached. It must be proved that your attorney either acted in a way that a reasonable attorney would not have acted, or didn’t act in the way that a reasonable attorney would have.
- That breach of duty resulted in harm. You must show that by breaching their duty to you, your attorney caused you to lose something you would have otherwise been entitled to, but for the attorney’s malpractice.
The burden of proof is entirely on you and your new lawyer to prove that your former attorney is liable for the damages that you have suffered. This is why it is so vital to hire an experienced and fierce legal malpractice attorney in Texas if you want to win. There are only a handful of attorneys in Texas who are willing to sue attorneys and are competent enough to do so. Ross Sears is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, in the state.
What is the Texas legal malpractice statute of limitations?
The Texas legal malpractice statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of discovery of the lawyer’s malpractice. Although in some cases it can be four years from the date of discovery. To know for sure, you’ll need to contact an experienced malpractice attorney.
Once this window has closed there will likely be nothing you can do to right the wrongs of your previous attorney, so waste no time in calling a lawyer who sues lawyers to take on your case.
What are some examples of legal malpractice?
Can you sue a lawyer for not doing their job? This might be the most common question we get on the matter. There are thousands upon thousands of lawyers out there doing things that annoy their clients, but how do you know when they have committed legal malpractice?
Here are a few things that a lawyer can do that likely constitute legal malpractice:
- Having undisclosed conflicts of interest, or placing their interests or the interests of any third party above their client’s.
- Breaching attorney-client confidentiality
- Withholding information or misleading you about case details
- Failure to know or apply the law, which occurs most often when an attorney attempts to take on a case outside the scope of their expertise.
- Failure to calendar, also known as missing deadlines
- Overbilling and unconscionable fees — lawyers overcharging clients can in fact be legal malpractice.
- Failure to obtain client consent, which happens when your lawyer settles your case without your approval.
- Fraud, which occurs whenever your attorney intentionally deceives you, knowing that you will rely on his/her deception to your own detriment.
If your attorney has exhibited any of the above behaviors or has taken any of the above actions, you may be able to pursue damages against them in a case for legal malpractice.
Knowing what damages you are entitled to can be tricky and confusing in Legal Malpractice cases. There can be more than one type of damage in a legal malpractice suit, and Sears Crawford can help you recover them!
Although generally the only types of damages you can recover in a legal malpractice suit are economic damages, you can usually recover the same damages and losses that you were entitled to recover in your underlying case (the one your prior attorney screwed up). In very limited circumstances this can even include mental anguish damages, and sometimes punitive damages. To find out more about the damages you could receive from suing your lawyer for malpractice, contact Ross Sears, a trusted legal malpractice attorney from Sears Crawford today.
Ross Sears II is Board Certified in Personal Injury Law, the specialization that encompasses legal malpractice. He has been selected as a Texas Super Lawyer 13 years running and has been suing lawyers in Texas for over 30 years. If you need a lawyer you can trust, call Ross Sears today at (713) 223-3333 or contact us online for a free consultation.
More Helpful Articles by Sears Crawford:
- When To File an Ethics Complaint Against a Lawyer vs When To Sue Them
- 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