Did your lawyer cause you financial loss or loss of rights that you would otherwise enjoy? Did he or she miss an important filing deadline or allow a statute of limitations deadline to expire without filing your case at all? Such events may constitute attorney malpractice and may bring you to consider suing a lawyer in Virginia.
In this blog post, we will walk you through the process of considering suing a lawyer whom you have engaged to represent you in Virginia and the legal options available to you.
Suing a Lawyer in Virginia – What Are the Grounds?
In Virginia, a claim of legal malpractice may succeed in situations where a lawyer’s actions or omissions cause harm or damage to a client’s interest or case. This can include failing to file a claim within the time period determined by the statute of limitations or missing other important deadlines, interfering with the client’s ability to pursue a claim or to enjoy other rights, or causing the client financial harm or loss.
For your claim against a lawyer in Virginia to be successful, you typically need to establish that:
- The lawyer owed you a duty of care as their client (including establishing that you had hired the lawyer to represent you).
- The lawyer breached his or her duty of care by acting negligently, making errors, or engaging in misconduct.
- The lawyer’s breach of duty caused harm, damages or loss of rights to you as the client.
Virginia Legal Malpractice Considerations
If you believe that your lawyer has committed malpractice through such an error, there are some key considerations:
- Statute of Limitations: In Virginia, the statute of limitations for legal malpractice cases is governed by law. It’s crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you meet any applicable deadlines.
- Elements of Legal Malpractice: To have a viable legal malpractice claim, you typically need to prove the three elements listed above: a duty, a breach and a harm. You will have to quantify the harm(s) you have suffered as a result, often in a dollar amount, not just in terms of inconvenience.
- Consult Another Attorney About the Malpractice: It will be necessary for you to consult with a different attorney who regularly handles legal malpractice cases. Lawyers who practice in this area can assess the specific circumstances of your case and provide guidance on whether you have a viable claim. You need a lawyer in Virginia on your side of the legal malpractice claim.
- Filing a Lawsuit: If you and your new attorney determine that you do have a valid claim, you will be advised based on the particulars of your case. Your team at the legal malpractice law firm will help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and if necessary, present your case in court.
What Constitutes Damages?
There are a number of forms of harm that can be the basis for a successful legal malpractice claim. Compensation for loss of legal rights (such as ability to pursue your case), financial losses (including loss of real or personal property), emotional distress, loss of custody or other damages brought about by errors by a lawyer may be available to you through a legal malpractice lawsuit.
Considering Suing a Lawyer? Consult with a Malpractice Attorney
To assess the viability of a legal malpractice claim and pursue appropriate legal action, it is crucial to consult with an experienced malpractice attorney in Virginia. They can evaluate your case, gather evidence, and guide you through the legal process.
To protect your rights and increase your chances of a successful outcome, consult with a qualified malpractice attorney who can provide the necessary guidance and advocate on your behalf.