A professional liability claim is a claim brought by a client who suffered because of the negligent actions of a professional. Professional liability claims can be brought against any professional whose error has cost their client monetary or other damages, whether they be a lawyer, a medical professional, a dentist, an accountant, consultant, an engineer, or an architect.
Is professional liability the same as legal malpractice when it comes to suing my lawyer? Generally speaking a malpractice claim is the same against any professional, but claims against your attorney can be more significant because lawyers, unlike most professionals, owe their clients a fiduciary duty, which is the highest duty imposed by law.
Professional liability cases are governed by many of the same laws and statutes that govern Texas legal malpractice and negligence claims. Whether you’re wondering how to sue a lawyer for overbilling or a contractor for your house’s shoddy foundation, you’ll need an experienced and dedicated litigator to make your claim stick.
There are three main types of misrepresentation: fraudulent, negligent, and innocent, all of which can occur during the attorney-client relationship and result in damages to the client.
Although you can technically bring a professional liability claim against any professional whose negligence at their profession caused you harm, claims are more often successful when that harm constitutes significant financial loss or physical harm.
Most professional liability claims are brought against attorneys, medical providers, engineers, or financial advisor for:
- Negligence through errors or omission
- Breaches of their contract
- Financial damages due to oversight
Attorney negligence takes place when an attorney fails to do something that a reasonable and prudent attorney would have done, or does something they wouldn’t have done, if under similar circumstances, and usually presents in the following ways:
- Taking on cases outside the scope of their expertise
- Missed deadlines
- Failure to obtain client consent for case resolutions
- Errors in strategy or planning
Attorneys, like all professionals, have a duty to exercise reasonable care, and if they don’t, they may be held responsible for not meeting their legal standard of care. Suing a lawyer for breach of fiduciary duty can be similar to filing a professional liability claim, and the two can actually go hand in hand.
When it comes to professional liability insurance for lawyers, “good to have” is a serious understatement. If your attorney doesn’t have professional liability insurance, or legal malpractice insurance, you need to hire a new attorney immediately.
Like professional liability insurance for all professionals, malpractice insurance for lawyers is essential to protecting their client’s interest in the event that something goes wrong. If a mistake is made and the negligent professional doesn’t carry professional liability insurance, your only recourse is to sue and try to recover against the negligent professional individually. Trying to take money out of a professional’s pocket, instead of from their insurance company, is much harder to do, and can often be pointless if the negligent professional has no assets or money to pay for your claims. Accordingly, you should never hire an attorney or any other professional who does not carry insurance to protect you in the event that they mishandle your case.
As lawyers that sue lawyers for malpractice, we know how many reasons there are to file a lawsuit against an attorney, and we know how to win. Call some of the best legal malpractice attorneys Texas has to offer to find out if you have a professional negligence claim.
Harmed by a negligent professional? You need a professional liability lawyer. Whether an attorney’s negligence impacted the outcome of a court case or an accountant or financial advisor mishandled your affairs and resulted in harm, you’ll need a professional liability lawyer to guide you through the process and help you get what you deserve.
Ross Sears II, co-founding attorney of Sears Crawford, has been holding negligent professionals accountable for 30 years. Call Sears Crawford today at (713) 223-3333 or contact us online for a free consultation.