What to Look For in a Texas Legal Malpractice Attorney
To increase your chances of winning a Texas legal malpractice case and successfully suing your lawyer, you’ll need to prove that your attorney’s conduct fell below the Standard of Care required of lawyers in the State of Texas. How do you do this? You hire a top legal malpractice attorney in Texas.
When looking for a lawyer to represent you to sue your ex-lawyer, it’s important to ask the right questions. This includes asking if your potential new attorney has legal malpractice insurance, if they’re willing to waive the arbitration clause, if they’re Board Certified in Personal Injury Law, and if they can show you proof of their success representing cases similar to yours.
In this article, the skilled malpractice attorneys at Sears Crawford will offer advice on what to look for when hiring a new lawyer to represent you, and walk you through what classifies as a legal malpractice case in Texas.
What is legal malpractice in Texas?
Texas legal malpractice occurs when an attorney fails to meet the standard of care set in place by the state and as a result, YOU, the client, was injured. Poor representation is not the same as legal malpractice, and the lines are easy to blur. So, can you sue an attorney for not doing their job? It depends.
Several reasons to file a lawsuit against an attorney include:
- Failure to know or apply the law
- Failure to calendar (bad planning, missed deadlines, neglect of your case)
- Failure to obtain client consent
- Misuse of finances/overbilling
- Inadequate discovery/investigation.
Looking to seek justice and compensation for your attorney’s negligence? You need Sears Crawford on your side. We sue lawyers and we’ve been successfully doing it for over three decades.
How do I sue an attorney for malpractice in Texas?
If you believe that you have been the victim of legal malpractice, contact Ross Sears II at Sears Crawford, and his team will start gathering documentation that provides evidence of the alleged negligence or errors. This may be in the form of emails, case outcomes, expert testimonies, contracts, evidence of conflict of interests, etc.
To win your case, you’ll need to prove that your lawyer owed you a duty of care, breached this duty, and caused you damage or injury due to this breach.
It may be difficult to think about hiring another lawyer after being burned by your previous attorney, but if you’ve suffered at the expense of negligence, it would be in your best interest to hire a legal malpractice attorney in Texas. It can be very challenging to prove your previous lawyer’s negligence, especially without an attorney experienced in winning these types of cases.
4 questions to ask when hiring a legal malpractice attorney
1. Do you carry legal malpractice insurance of at least $500,000?
You should never, ever hire a lawyer who doesn’t have malpractice insurance. Why? If they screw up your case — which is most likely what you’re dealing with now — malpractice insurance helps cover any of your economic losses. Malpractice insurance is not only important for an attorney’s ability to protect themselves, but more importantly, it’s also a way to protect your interests. If the attorney says they do not carry malpractice, then RUN, do not walk out of their office and contact Sears Crawford, where our clients always come first and we ALWAYS carry malpractice insurance to protect our clients.
2. Are you willing to waive any arbitration clause in your contract?
Arbitration clauses are put in place to prevent you from suing your lawyer in a court of law, in front of a jury of YOUR peers. An arbitration agreement in your attorney’s contract is there for one reason and one reason only: to avoid trial by jury and instead force you to arbitration in front of an arbitrator, who is almost certainly an attorney.
When you’re looking for a new lawyer, whether or not it’s for legal malpractice, it’s good to get into the practice of asking them to waive the arbitration clause. If the attorney refuses to waive the arbitration clause in their contract, then DO NOT HIRE THEM.
3. Are you Board Certified in Personal Injury Law?
There are plenty of good attorneys who are not Board Certified, but having the extra experience that comes from hiring a Board Certified attorney is worth the extra search.
Hiring a lawyer who was not skilled in the area of law you needed representation for may be the reason you’re looking to file a lawsuit against them. You don’t want to end up in the same predicament when hiring a legal malpractice attorney. To ensure that you’re working with a legal malpractice attorney in Texas who has a complete understanding of the laws involved in these kinds of cases, it is better to look for a lawyer who is Board Certified in Personal Injury Law, the area of the law that encompasses legal malpractice.
4. What experience do you have representing legal malpractice cases?
Any good lawyer should have the case results to back up their claims and be willing to share those with you. Beyond helping you determine whether you have a case, a skilled legal malpractice lawyer can help you build your case and collect the evidence needed to prove that you were wronged.
How long do you have to sue an attorney for malpractice in Texas?
When it comes to suing a lawyer who you believe has wronged you, time is of the essence. Knowing how long you legally have to file a claim can ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines, or worse, miss out on the opportunity to recover damages that resulted from your attorney’s malpractice.
So, what is the Texas statute of limitations for legal malpractice? The legal malpractice statute of limitations is generally two years from the date you discover your attorney’s malpractice. However, the statute of limitations for malpractice claims relating to a breach of fiduciary duty may be four years instead of two, depending on the circumstances.
Due to the variances in the Texas statute of limitations for legal malpractice, it’s best to hire a lawyer who understands the nuances of the legal malpractice laws to ensure that you don’t run out of time.
Think you may have a case against your lawyer? Call Sears Crawford today!
If your interests were not put first by your attorney, you may be a victim of Texas legal malpractice. As such, it is crucial that you hire a lawyer who has legal malpractice insurance, is willing to waive any arbitration clause, is board certified in personal injury law, and who can show they have the experience to back up their claims — a lawyer like “Super Lawyer” Ross Sears II from Sears Crawford.
Ross is an aggressive and accomplished legal malpractice attorney in Houston. With over 30 years of experience fighting for his client’s rights when they’ve been wronged by their lawyers, he understands that you need someone on your side who can get you the justice you deserve. To find out whether or not you have a case, contact us today for a free evaluation.
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