Ideally, none of us would ever need a lawyer to handle difficult situations or life-changing events. But the reality is, tragic things happen all the time and thankfully there is a legal system in place to seek recourse for those tragedies. When we secure legal advice, or hire a lawyer, we are not just hiring somebody to win a pile of money. We hire lawyers to represent the very values we hold true, we hire them to bring light to injustices as well as uncover truths that might otherwise never be told. Americans hold the legal system in high regard, but too often, the very people charged with protecting us, fail us.
When a legal professional fails you in some manner, you have the right to pursue legal action against them for malpractice. This isn’t to be confused with the lawyer who simply lost a case. Legal malpractice is a hard circumstance to prove but this shouldn’t discourage you in pursuing a case. If you feel your lawyer completely dropped the ball on your claims, or did significant damage to your situation, you should pursue a case and at least have a legal malpractice attorney in Iowa review it.
Proving Malpractice – Iowa Legal Malpractice Law Firm
Lawyers take an oath to use their acquired skills and talents to exercise every bit of the law for their clients. When they fail to use these acquired skills for the care of their clients, they can be sued for legal malpractice. In order to win this kind of case, a few basic criteria need to be met:
- Legal Duty – As with most instances of legal negligence, you must provide evidence that the attorney had a duty to legally represent you. This can be proven in many different ways including legal contracts and formal written correspondence.
- Breach of Duty – Once duty has been established, you need to prove that the attorney breached their commitment to you and didn’t perform the agreed-upon legal arrangement.
- Causation – This is proving that the result of your case wouldn’t have happened had the attorney not caused it to occur. For example, an attorney who is repeatedly found to not file legal paperwork on time can be reprimanded or barred from practicing law, if guilty.
- Damages – Damages are the result of the attorney’s negligence which can include but are not limited to financial loss, emotional distress, and permanent damage to your case. Iowa legal malpractice lawyers can help identify how to present this as evidence.
Here is an example of these four criteria in action. You hire an attorney to represent you in a car accident case. You have a legal contract with the attorney who agrees to represent you in your claim. The attorney then fails to appropriately serve you by accepting an offer from the insurance company on your behalf and without your consent. In this situation, you would be able to sue for legal malpractice.
When You Need to Hire Iowa Legal Malpractice Lawyers
You may be wondering what constitutes legal malpractice and how to know if you’ve been a victim of a lawyer’s negligence. Here are some examples of when an attorney’s actions, or inactions, may be cause for legal malpractice.
Work on Your Case Halts – If your lawyer appears to have stopped working on your case, and ignores your correspondence; you may have a malpractice suit on your hands. In this situation, time is of the essence, and you will need to work quickly with an Iowa Legal malpractice attorney so you can address the issue and have your case handled correctly.
Legal Inaction – If your case is thrown out of court because your lawyer ignored or took no action on your case, it might be malpractice. In this situation, you will have to prove how the attorney mishandled your case, but also, that you could have won or collected a different judgment had the attorney taken proper legal action.
Settling Your Case Without Consent – If your lawyer settled your case, or accepted a settlement on your behalf, without your consent or authorization; this could be grounds for malpractice. An attorney is not allowed to settle a case without client approval, and you will need to prove that the settlement resulted in far less financial compensation than expected.
Fraternizing With the Opponent or Other Counsel – If you can prove that you either saw or have evidence of your attorney, fraternizing with opposing counsel; this is a breach of attorney ethics and grounds for malpractice. Attorneys are highly aware of their everyday conduct and know how this can impact their clients. An Example would include seeing the attorneys doing things socially together, like playing golf or working together at an event or similar scenario.
Mishandling of Funds – If you suspect that your attorney has somehow mishandled a retainer or payment to them for your case, this could be grounds for malpractice. Attorneys are required to use funds given to them by clients for client work only. Lawyers have been found guilty for mishandling funds and using them on their own personal expenses, which is a serious ethical violation and illegal. Contact an Iowa legal malpractice law firm immediately if this has happened to you.
If you believe that your attorney has done any of the following things, then we encourage you to contact us today. Your lawyer, if guilty, could be facing other legal violations beyond your particular case if the evidence warrants this sort of legal action. The state of Iowa has reimbursement funds for U.S. Citizens who have been wronged in legal matters like these.
We invite you to contact Eells & Tronvold Law Offices and speak to our Iowa legal malpractice attorneys today.