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Washington, DC Legal Malpractice Attorney

Can I Sue My Lawyer for Legal Malpractice?

When you hire an attorney for a personal injury claim or any kind of legal case, you expect that they have your best interests in mind. Usually, this is just what happens; your lawyer is your partner and advocate. Still, sometimes attorneys can neglect their duty to you as their client. If this occurs, you may be able to sue for legal malpractice.

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Do You Need a Legal Malpractice Lawyer in Washington, DC?

Professional negligence can cost you your case and the compensation you would have recovered. In some cases, the lawyer may even still charge you fees and/or expenses, increasing your financial burdens. However, if your attorney fails to uphold their duty to you, then you may have grounds for an attorney malpractice lawsuit.

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This type of claim is often difficult to file successfully, but a Washington, DC legal malpractice attorney at Regan Zambri Long PLLC can help you hold the lawyer accountable for negligence and also collect the compensation you deserved from your original claim.

Finding an attorney who can successfully represent your claim against a fellow lawyer can be challenging. However, the legal malpractice lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC believe that we have an ethical duty to clients who have been wronged by their legal representatives. Attorney negligence cases are hard-fought and can be extremely expensive to litigate. Therefore, you need a law firm with the experience and resources to handle the complexities of your claim.

We have the experience necessary to go after the attorney that misrepresented you and get the justice you deserve. In fact, Senior Partner Victor E. Long was recently appointed by the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals as a Trustee for the Client Security Trust Fund. Trustees oversee the safe investment on clients’ funds held in trusts in the District of Columbia. Trustees are also decided on whether claims made by clients who have lost money due to the dishonesty of lawyers can proceed in a court of law.

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What Is Legal Malpractice?

As with any professional malpractice claim, legal malpractice cases may arise out of any kind of misconduct. Your lawyer has a duty to provide you with quality legal advice and representation; anything that compromises this duty may be grounds for an attorney negligence lawsuit.

Common examples of legal malpractice include:

  • Failure to apply the law. Your attorney should fully understand your rights and obligations under the law. However, if your attorney is not familiar with the specific laws and statutes relevant to your case, then you may miss opportunities for compensation. This is common when lawyers accept cases in legal areas they do not normally practice.
  • Failure to prepare and/or file paperwork. Your lawyer should stay organized and informed about your case so that you do not miss filing deadlines or other requirements.
  • Conflict of interest. For example, an attorney is representing an injured driver while another attorney in the law firm is representing the at-fault party in the car accident.
  • Negligent discovery. A poor investigation of your case may leave crucial evidence undiscovered, harming your chances of success. Additionally, failure to submit or use important evidence in crafting your claim may also be legal malpractice.
  • Failure to get the client’s consent. Your attorney should not agree to a settlement or any conditions without first getting your consent.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty. The law obligates your lawyer to act to your benefit and protect your property and/or money. This includes communicating with you, maintaining confidentiality, and complying with your wishes.
  • Breach of contract. When you hire legal counsel, you will sign a contract specifying the obligations of all parties. If your lawyer violates the terms of the contract, then you may have grounds for a legal malpractice lawsuit.
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How Do I File An Attorney Malpractice Lawsuit?

Although your lawyer may make a mistake or act negligently, your claim must meet certain requirements to be successful. Generally, you must be able to demonstrate:

The Attorney’s Duty

You need to show that the attorney had a duty to represent your best interests in the case. This is typically the simplest requirement to meet. The contract you signed with the attorney should demonstrate that he or she owed you a duty of care.

Breach of Duty

You may have evidence that your lawyer was negligent in their duty to represent you. Some examples of breach of duty include missing a filing deadline. In many cases, proving breach of duty may require an expert witness who can testify about the errors the lawyer made.

Causation

Even if a lawyer is negligent, this does not necessarily mean that the error caused negative results in your case. For example, your lawyer may fail to gather certain evidence in a medical malpractice claim. However, if this evidence would not have been enough to influence a verdict, then you may not have grounds for a claim.

Actual Damages

You and your legal malpractice attorney must demonstrate the losses you suffered due to your first lawyer’s negligence. This is often difficult, especially in cases involving personal injury. To show that you suffered damages, you must argue that you would have won your case if your lawyer had provided competent representation. This creates a “case within a case,” meaning that your new lawyer may first have to re-litigate your original claim before proceeding with your legal malpractice case.

In addition to filing a claim, you may be able to report your lawyer’s conduct to the state disciplinary board. A legal malpractice attorney in Washington, DC can advise you on all of your options.

Do You Need a Legal Malpractice Attorney in Washington DC?

If your lawyer neglected your case, causing a negative outcome, then you may have a legal negligence claim. However, as an attorney malpractice lawsuit is notoriously difficult, you should always consult with a law firm with experience in legal malpractice claims.

The legal malpractice attorneys at Regan Zambri Long PLLC believe in advocating for injury victims, even if that means suing attorneys. As a personal injury law firm in Washington, DC, we also represent clients in Maryland and Virginia. Call (202) 960-4596 or contact us online today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Malpractice in DC

I Don’t Think My Lawyer is Acting in My Best Interests. Can I Fire Them?

Yes. You have the right to fire an attorney any time during the representation. You are also allowed to see what your lawyer was doing while working on your case. After firing your attorney, you may request your files in order for a new attorney to review the case.

I Can’t Get in Touch With My Attorney. Is This Malpractice?

Attorneys must keep their clients informed about what is going on with their cases. If it seems like the attorney has stopped taking your calls or working on the case, this can be legal malpractice.

Can My Attorney Accept a Settlement Offer Without Consulting Me?

If your lawyer accepts a settlement offer without first obtaining your consent, it is considered a breach of fiduciary duty. The attorney is required to inform of all settlement offers and only you can agree before a settlement is reached.

How Long Do I Have to Bring a Legal Malpractice Claim?

The statute of limitations for legal malpractice in Washington, DC, and in Maryland is three years. In Virginia, the time limit is two years.

Can a Lawyer Represent Opposing Parties?

The simple answer is no, a lawyer cannot represent two clients that have opposing interests. In addition, a lawyer cannot represent a client if another attorney in the same law firm is representing the opposite party.

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Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

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