Malpractice Law Firms
Malpractice law firms and their services are advertised all over the nation, usually on one of cable television's superstations, and are usually associated with a dangerous drug or some product that has caused injury or death to consumers. When the word malpractice is used, one usually thinks about medical malpractice, and that is certainly one of the areas with which malpractice law firm's deal. But malpractice in its broad sense is really about injury brought about by negligence and that injury can be physical or mental, as well as emotional, and that opens up a very large field to attorneys that specialize in malpractice issues. For example, not only can a doctor be guilty of medical malfeasance, but a journalist can also be guilty of negligence where slander or libel is involved. An architect can also be guilty of malpractice when designs prove to be faulty and property damage or bodily injury takes place. Even accountants whose miscalculations can bring about huge tax liabilities or financial ruin can be guilty of malpractice.
Malpractice is usually defined by conduct, practices or skill that falls below the accepted level of competence for that particular professional field. It is a charge that is leveled against professionals with higher educational degrees in specialized areas, and not typically against retail owners or blue collar workers. The accepted level of care or competence will have to be displayed or proven by the malpractice law firms that are hired for civil litigation. Members of the clergy have come under increased attack since the latter part of the 20th century, making it more difficult for them to freely counsel members according to their own particular beliefs. Malpractice law firms have been called in to litigate against ministers but courts have often refused to hear the cases because of the concept of separation of church and state. Yet most legal experts now counsel pastors and other clergy to own indemnity protection in this area of litigation possibility.
Those malpractice law firms that are called into action against alleged neglectful plaintiffs typically have attorneys that are skilled in tort cases. A tort is a civil wrong and is at the heart of claims of malpractice. In each field, be it medical, legal, accounting, clergy, journalistic or other professional vocation, there is a culture and certain inside the loop language and understanding that is unique to that profession. Those legal practice firms that are secured for the purpose of bringing tort litigation against a particular profession must have a clear understanding of that culture and inside knowledge of those professions in order to successfully litigate for success. For many defendants in tort civil cases, it is not enough for a monetary judgment to be made to consider the suit to be a success; many now want companies to change the way they actually do business. In this case, the litigator must go after the plaintiff in a different manner in order to secure both goals of monetary gain and corporate reform.
Because there are many litigators and their respective firms ready to go to bat for injured parties, the issue of choosing the right group of attorneys is critical. A person will want to begin with a look at nearby firms to see what they might have to offer. Being close to a firm's office can have a profound effect on the costs incurred in the bringing of a lawsuit. Working with out of state or long distance malpractice law firms can pile up expense in travel and communication between defendant and attorney. Of course, personal injury attorneys nearby may not have the kinds of experience to handle one's specific legal needs, and if this is the case, it is important to press on in the search for the right malpractice law firms that can handle one's particular needs. Searching for peace and happiness can also be a big job, yet the One who can provide those illusive things for us is right here among us. Jesus said, "...I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10:10b) Look to Jesus Christ for the peace and joy you might be so desperately seeking.
When a person has found among the many law malpractice law firms the one that has the training and the experience for your very specific lawsuit claim, begin to ask some very specific questions, beginning with their fee structure. Many personal injury lawyers agree to work on a contingency basis, being paid a percentage of the final monetary judgment claim which may rise to as much as fifty percent. Of course, all of this varies from firm to firm, so make that one of the first questions asked, and also ask about expenses incurred. The defendant is ultimately responsible for all of the expenses the attorney has surrounding the case's development which could be very high, so ask how that is handled if judgment is made in your favor. And in fact, ask early on what the opinion is about the outcome of the case and how strong it is. And ask about the firm's philosophy about going all out for a homerun decision or simply to seek settlement in the matter.
One of the things that is also important early in the discussion with one's choice of the many malpractice law firms is finding out who will be the attorney working on the case. A person must have full confidence in his or her attorney. Being convinced that this person is interested and not just going through the motions can be quite encouraging if a case is not going well. A person hiring a legal firm has every right to expect the relationship between lawyer and client to be a good one. Ask for someone else if the vibes really aren't there.
Legal Malpractice AttorneyA skilled legal malpractice attorney will specialize in cases of incompetent service on the part of a fellow lawyer. When attorneys are accused of offering representation that is so poor that it actually causes harm to a client, these lawyers may find that they are facing a lawsuit and are in need of representation. There are three main liability categories that could result in a suit. These categories are breach of contract, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty. It is not enough to show that a lawyer did a poor job in representing a client. Some kind of harm to the client that came as a result of the sub par job performance must be demonstrated. There are additional areas in which a legal professional can fail a client. These areas may include conflict of interest, charging excessive fees, missing the statute of limitations, incorrect title searches, and coming under the influence of racketeers or corrupt organizations. Clients who feel that they have not been properly served by their attorneys and that this failure has caused harm to the client, pursuing restitution in a court of law is certainly an option. When a client wishes to bring a suit against a lawyer, there will usually be a time limit that dictates when a charge of malpractice can be made. These time limits are called statutes of limitations and they will vary from state to state. Once a suit has been filed, the lawyer that is being sued will require the services of a legal malpractice attorney.
A legal malpractice attorney can help a potential client understand whether or not bringing a lawsuit of this nature is likely to succeed. Lawyers have certain obligations to clients and should perform according to a set of professional standards. There is a specific code ethics that should come into play with any practice of the law. This code of ethics is established by a state's bar association. In general, attorneys must show that they have carefully taken all legal issues into consideration and have applied a knowledge of the law to the client's case. A lawyer must also behave in an ethical and legal manner at all times. Communication with a client should be made on a regular basis. The attorney's loyalty should not be divided and there should be no conflict of interest in any representation. A lawyer is also obligated to follow the directions and wishes of the client that they represent. There should be total honesty and integrity in all financial dealings. Clients should also be able to trust that anything that is confided to a lawyer will be kept confidential. Relationships between a client and an attorney should remain strictly professional. Any breach of these obligations could result in a lawsuit and the need for the services of a legal malpractice attorney. Conversely, clients will also have certain obligations to attorneys. Those obligations will generally include truthfulness, cooperation, availability, and timely payment of financial obligations.
Before taking the step of hiring a legal malpractice attorney, a client might want to find less litigious ways of dealing with any disputes. If excessive fees are a problem, it is possible that a simple discussion or fee arbitration will rectify the issue without taking the situation into a court of law. In some cases, ethics violations can be reported to a state bar association and handled there. When all else fails, the offending lawyer can be fired and replaced with more competent council. If none of these alternatives succeeds, there may be no choice available other than to file a malpractice lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit on the grounds of negligence may be necessary if a lawyer has not met important deadlines, taken care to follow court orders, or not taken the time to prepare for a trial. Negligence is the most common reason for malpractice lawsuits. Breach of fiduciary duty is another category of unethical conduct that could require the services of a legal malpractice attorney. Examples of this kind of conduct may include conflicts of interest, making improper overtures of a sexual nature toward a client, lying to a client, lack of communication with a client, and financial misconduct with a client's money. In most malpractice lawsuits, a client must show proof of misconduct or negligence, proof of harm as a result of the misconduct or negligence, and that the attorney had an obligation to represent the individual.
Before hiring a legal malpractice attorney, there are certain questions that clients should ask. What kinds of fees should be expected? When will payment be required? What can a client expect as the case unfolds? While dealing with incompetence in legal representation can be difficult, finding a good lawyer can be a real source of hope. There is great hope that can be found in God, according to the Bible. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. (Lamentations 3:24)
When seeking a competent legal malpractice attorney, there are many resources that are available. The Internet can be a good place to start when searching for legal representation. A state's bar association may also be able to direct individuals to the appropriate counsel. There are also local referral services that can be of help. Armed with a list of possible attorneys, careful research and reference checks will then be required. After taking all of these steps, it is up to the individual client to decide if a legal professional is someone that they feel comfortable working with.
Lawyers professional liability insurance is at least as important to attorneys as medical malpractice insurance is to physicians, but doesn't get the amount of press that the more well known coverage does. While it may seem a paradox that an attorney would be sued, the Texas Lawyers Insurance Exchange paid over fifty million dollars in gross legal malpractice losses and twelve million in claim expenses in a five year span. One begins to wonder how much is paid out each year across the country because of the mistakes, miscalculations and even malfeasance of attorneys. This musing is not meant to cast doubt on any attorney's skill, but rather to show that despite an often confident public persona, they are human and can err from time to time just as other trained professionals. Thus attorney's professional liability insurance is an important consideration when an attorney hangs out a sign marking the beginning of his or her career in the centuries old practice of law.
The American Bar Association revamped its rules of professional conduct in the 1980's to include an understanding that there are conflicting responsibilities that are often encountered by the legal profession. It also admits that the profession is largely self-governing in an attempt to keep the government from a highly regulated presence in the practice field. It does lay out groundwork within the ABA's own governing system for attorney discipline in the cases of rules violations. A rapier-like mind has always been the companion of most attorneys who often try to paint their foes into a verbal corner, even Jesus Himself. "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him and saying, Master which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind." (Matthew 22:35-37)
Attorneys may be exposed to the possibility of a lawsuit against themselves for things such as over billing, refusing to represent clients for prejudicial reasons, hiding evidence and other similar conduct. In fact, these types of actions are labeled as attorney misconduct often opening the door for lawyers professional liability insurance to be needed. There is also defined attorney malpractice in which a lawyer is accused of not giving the client full service protection under the law or somehow being less than zealous or competent in his or her duties as a barrister. And just as the physicians that are often sued for similar violations in their field, attorneys become the defendants due to their actions or lack thereof. And because these lawsuits can be filed with millions of dollars weighing in the balance, lawyers professional liability insurance can be the only dam holding back a torrent of financially ruinous judgments.
Attorneys representing various forms of real estate transactions seem to be especially vulnerable to the types of errors and misconduct that might give rise to the need to be covered by lawyers professional liability insurance. Representing a client attempting to make a lot of money on a transaction that may later be proven to have lied or misrepresented a position can expose an attorney or law firm to later lawsuits. At times law firms can be accused of trying to make a big deal work that would be profitable for the firm rather than in the interest of the client it represents. In this instance, there may be some grounds for a lawsuit based on a charge of malpractice. Sometimes clerical errors or the drafts of legal documents lead to expensive losses for the represented client, again opening the door for lawsuit.
But there can be a snare that has caught many an attorney of various legal specializations and later been the basis for a charge of misconduct or malpractice. This is in regards to sexual relationships gone awry between client and attorney. Often divorce attorneys are placed in a very vulnerable position with clients who are emotionally wounded and vulnerable themselves. And this can cause some major legal issues for the lawyer. For example, private conversations outside the legal relationship are not privy to attorney client privilege. If there is an indication such a relationship may have hindered an attorney's ability to seek the best representation for the client, there may some grounds for a liability lawsuit later. The need for lawyers professional liability insurance is obvious in this scenario.
A Texas insurance study in the late 20th century estimated that half of the state's attorneys did not carry lawyers professional liability insurance. That choice may have come as the result of a barrister's over blown confidence of his own abilities to not be prone to error, or it may have been borne more out of an economic need. In major economic boom times, lawyers professional liability insurance can be more affordable because of the ability of insurance companies to find profitable resources for investments. In more difficult times, these resources can dry up, but the number of claims remains the same or can even go higher, causing extreme cash flow issues with indemnifiers. The results are much higher premiums and for the average attorney who makes about $75,000 a year, lawyers professional liability insurance becomes a luxury and not a necessity. This certainly makes struggling lawyers and their families vulnerable to large financial loss in the event of a liability occurrence and the reason for a number of panic flights away from this noble profession.