What Is Legal Malpractice?
Legal malpractice, generally speaking, is when an attorney has been negligent in providing legal council and/or legal representation. It also includes fraudulent and unethical behavior by the lawyer or law firm. In legal malpractice, this negligence and/or misconduct has breached the “acceptable level of care” or professionalism expected and has caused harm to the client.
Legal malpractice can occur in any type of situation in which someone has hired a lawyer. Legal malpractice can happen in many facets of law, including in real estate, estate law, patent law, and personal injury. This site discusses legal malpractice that has occurred in Illinois personal injury cases and Illinois wrongful death cases, and provides summaries of many such legal malpractice lawsuits.
Some grounds for legal malpractice in personal injury cases include if the lawyer:
- misses the Statute of Limitations
- misses other deadlines
- fails to properly advise a client
- fails to know the law
- fails to follow the client’s directions
- has a conflict of interest
- fails to disclose pertinent information to the client
- performs inaccurate record keeping and/or failure to be able to produce documents
- does obstruction of justice
There are many other potential grounds for one to claim legal malpractice. However, just because a lawyer or law firm makes a mistake, or seems to perform in a poor manner, does not necessarily mean that legal malpractice has occurred. If you know or even suspect that legal malpractice has occurred in your Illinois personal injury case, call Tony Elman, Lead Trial Lawyer at the Elman Joseph Law Group, to discuss the situation and see what remedy might be available to you. Tony Elman can be reached at 773-392-8182 at any time.
Why File A Legal Malpractice Lawsuit?
There are many reasons that one may want to file a legal malpractice lawsuit. Perhaps the main justification is that the client (the plaintiff in the personal injury case) or the client in the wrongful death case is looking to receive compensation that should have been received in the original lawsuit. In many instances, this compensation is needed in order to pay for expenses and other forms of compensation resulting from the accident.
- past and future medical expenses
- lost wages, both past, present, and future
- various other expenses
- physical therapy and vocational training
- loss of consortium
- pain and suffering
- punitive damages
As such, if a lawyer’s negligence and/or other misconduct has caused the client to “miss out” on receiving compensation for the injuries or wrongful death, the client will be at a disadvantage relative to where the client would have been had the case been handled properly by the lawyer.
A simple example may illustrate the situation:
A man slips on the floor of a retail store. As a result of this accident, the man is injured. In addition to breaking his arm, he also hits his head, causing a serious concussion. Because of these injuries, the man incurs $30,000 in medical bills, $10,000 in physical therapy costs, and is unable to work for two weeks, which costs him $4000 in lost wages.
While the total possible amount of the compensation one could expect from such a slip & fall accident is determined by many factors, one can see that the amount of compensation that may be desired in such a premise liability lawsuit is significant.
If a client hires a lawyer or law firm to file a personal injury lawsuit regarding this accident, and that lawyer or law firm is negligent in its handling of the suit, it is possible – if not likely – that the client will receive very little if any compensation for the accident injury. One instance of such an event is if the lawyer fails to file the lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. If such an event occurs, the client will most likely never receive compensation for his accident injuries, regardless of the merits or potential value of his case.
Hence, in the above example, the man very well may want to file a legal malpractice lawsuit against his lawyer in order to attain the compensation that he may have received in the underlying personal injury lawsuit, had the lawsuit been handled in a proper manner. As seen in the above slip & fall injury example, even though the accident injuries, although significant, were minor in nature relative to more serious injuries that can occur in other accidents, the amount of money ranges into the tens of thousands of dollars. Had this injury been of a more “serious” nature, the amount of potential compensation involved likely would be (commensurately) higher.
Tony Elman, Lead Attorney of the Elman Joseph Law Group, offers a free legal consultation to those who believe they have been a victim of legal malpractice. During this consultation, he can discuss the process needed to get compensation, and also indicate how much your case may be worth. Tony Elman can be reached anytime at (773) 392-8182.
The Elman Joseph Law Group has handled over 10,000 Illinois lawsuits over the last 20+ years. This breadth of experience gives us extensive practical knowledge in Illinois case law, and the operating experience needed to determine how to best help our clients realize the maximum monetary compensation.
Over the last 20+ years, we have gained a reputation for our court-trial performance. In fact, because of these attractive court verdicts, many other well-known law firms choose to have Elman Joseph Law Group take cases to court.
Elman Joseph Law Group works on legal malpractice cases on a contingency basis — meaning that clients are not charged legal fees unless and until the client receives accident compensation.