A client may sue a lawyer for professional negligence, fraud in dealing with the client’s money or interests, or for breaching a promise to perform a specific promise in a contract.
With respect to claims of professional negligence, lawyers are licensed professionals who are expected to have a certain level of competency and skill. Professional negligence occurs when a lawyer fails to provide competent service and the client is damaged as a result of that incompetence.
To prevail on a claim of legal malpractice the former client must show that the attorney made errors that no reasonable attorney would make and that the injury would not have happened but for the attorney’s negligence.
The claim must be filed within the statutory period or “statute of limitations” established by state law for legal malpractice claims. In Arizona, a legal malpractice action must be commenced within two years after the cause of action accrues. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-542 (West 1992).
Simply losing a case is not enough to prove legal malpractice. You must be able to prove negligence or willful disregard for accepted standards of practice in order to collect damages. Examples of this could include:
- Unconsented Conflicts of interest
- Settlement without a client’s knowledge, authority, or consent
- Failure to observe statute of limitations
- Failure to acknowledge court orders or file appropriate documentation
- Failure to know the law
In the unfortunate event of legal malpractice, the client is entitled to recover money losses caused by that malpractice. The amount of money damages are determined using a “case within a case” analysis. Emotional distress is not recoverable as an item of damages.
If you think you may be the victim of malpractice, contact the attorneys at Bode & Collins, P.L.C. to discuss your potential claims. You can reach us at 480.355.5020. There is no charge for an initial consultation.
Bode & Collins, P.L.C. serves clients living all over Arizona including clients living in Scottsdale, North Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa, Avondale, Cave Creek, Prescott, Flagstaff, Bullhead City, Kingman, and Tucson.
Although our law firm is based in Scottsdale, we litigate in all counties including Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County, and Yavapai County.