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Basic elements of a legal malpractice case

Although you may believe that your attorney’s failure to know the law was the reason your case was thrown out of court, proving that your lawyer committed legal malpractice might not be a sure thing. Proving malpractice against an attorney is difficult. Even cases in which a lawyer’s missing a deadline/violating a statute of limitations left you unable to pursue a civil claim against another party might not be legal malpractice.

The difficult part of a legal malpractice case is proving that the harm you suffered was the result of your attorney's failure to perform up to the standards expected of members of the profession. This usually imposes a burden on you to prove that you would have won your case were it not for the negligence of the attorney.

For example, if you claim that your case was dismissed because your attorney did not file papers on time with a court, you must prove that the dismissal was caused by the attorney’s actions. You must also prove that a court, upon hearing the evidence you had to present, would have ruled in your favor. Proving that you would have won your case can make it difficult to establish legal malpractice.

Recovering damages against an attorney for malpractice based on negligence requires that you prove each of the following elements:

  • There was a duty owed to you by your attorney to provide competent and professional representation.
  • Your attorney failed to meet the standard of care and competence that was owed to you.
  • You suffered harm or injury because of the breach of the attorney’s duty.
  • The harm or injury caused you to suffer a financial loss.

If you have been the victim of legal malpractice in Essex County, an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases may be of assistance to you. A knowledgeable transactional and trial malpractice attorney can review your claim and provide you with legal advice and guidance.

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