St. Petersburg Legal Malpractice Lawyer
As attorneys, we have a duty to not only uphold the standards of our profession by providing competent legal representation to our clients, but also by holding other lawyers accountable for their failure to practice honestly and with integrity. Attorneys who violate the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct can be disciplined by the Florida Bar, but this doesn’t account for the harm and damage done to the client as a result of a lawyer’s misconduct. That is where a St. Petersburg legal malpractice lawyer steps in and ensures that clients who have been harmed by the misconduct of a legal representative can recover compensation for their economic losses.
Examples of Legal Malpractice
In Florida, all attorneys are required to provide competent representation to their clients, which means that they must exhibit adequate knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation while handling a case. Lawyers who violate this responsibility can be held liable for legal malpractice, which requires proof that:
- The lawyer in question was employed by the client and so had a duty to use reasonable care in representing that person;
- The lawyer was negligent in his or her duties and so failed to provide quality legal representation to the client; and
- The client suffered an economic loss as a result of the lawyer’s negligence.
In order to satisfy these elements, plaintiffs must be able to point to a concrete example of an attorney’s misconduct, which could include:
- Giving incompetent advice or representation;
- Handling legal matters improperly due to a lack of knowledge of the law;
- Displaying unethical conduct;
- Failing to place a client’s interests above the lawyer’s personal interests;
- Negligently managing a case;
- Breaching client-attorney privilege;
- Commingling a client’s funds with personal funds or the contents of other client accounts;
- Missing important deadlines;
- Engaging in an improper relationship with a client;
- Utilizing false advertising practices by misrepresenting an ability to handle a certain type of claim;
- Failing to keep a client reasonably informed about the state of his or her case;
- Being dishonest with a client, the court, or opposing counsel;
- Failing to disclose conflicts of interests; or
- Using unreasonable or fraudulent billing practices, such as overcharging, double billing, charging for unreasonable fees or expenses, or failing to perform work for which a client was billed.
Testimony from an expert witness can be crucial when it comes to demonstrating how a reasonable attorney should have acted in the same or a similar situation. However, once a wronged client meets this burden, he or she will still need to provide evidence of financial loss, which could require the submission of extensive financial documents, including records of the funds spent on the case, lost work time, and travel expenses. It’s a good idea to go over the types of evidence that the court will require with your newly retained attorney before filing a claim.
Contact a St. Petersburg Legal Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you were wronged by an attorney who was representing you in a legal matter, you could be eligible for malpractice damages. Please contact the legal team at Masterson, Hoag & Smith, P.A. by calling 727-325-2696 to learn more about your legal options.