Professional Negligence / Malpractice

  • Legal Malpractice

Legal malpractice claims raise questions whether your attorney was negligent in his representation of your interests.  In considering that question, negligence can take many forms.  To determine first whether a legal malpractice action may actually be brought in Florida, the Florida Supreme Court has determined that three elements must be satisfied:  (1) there must be an employment relationship between the individual and that attorney, (2) the attorney must have neglected a reasonable duty, and (3) the attorney’s negligence must be the proximate cause of loss to the client.  Larson & Larson, P.A. v. TSE Industries, Inc., 22 So.3d 36, 39 (Fla. 2009).  Moreover, the legal malpractice action must be brought within two years “from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.”  Id.  What that means for that attorney’s client is that the client has to establish that not only would he/she have won their case and/or prevailed with a more favorable result, but it was the attorney’s specific dereliction that caused the adverse outcome.

Again, professional malpractice / negligence can take many forms.  This may include the failure of the attorney to understand the substantive law at issue, which may lead to potential claims being overlooked, arguments improperly advanced, or a general failure to properly advance the case up to and through trial of the matter.  Similarly, negligence may include a failure to adhere to deadlines imposed by the law or the court or otherwise not complying with a legal requirement, such as missing a statute of limitation; not participating in a mandatory presuit process; failing to timely respond to discovery propounded by the opposing side; failing to file witness, expert, and/or exhibit lists; and/or otherwise not complying with a law or the court’s specific scheduling order.  Lawyers may also be neglectful if they fail to disclose a conflict of interest or if they place their own interest before that of the client.  Neglect may come in the form of mistakes in the preparation of legal documents, financial calculations, or other mistakes that cause a party financial harm.  Some examples even rise to the level of fraud.  Not meant to be an exhaustive list, if you suspect that your attorney did not properly represent your interests, you need to seek an experienced attorney to evaluate your potential legal malpractice action.

Litigation against one’s attorney for professional legal malpractice requires experienced counsel in this area of the law, and The Jackson Law Firm, P.A. possesses the experience in handling such cases.  We look forward to putting that experience to work on your behalf.

Notably, The Florida Bar provides a means for recovery in instances where someone has suffered a loss of money or property due to misappropriation or embezzlement of an attorney for which more information may be found at The Florida Bar website under the Client’s Security Fund.  However, this avenue is for claims against attorneys who have been suspended or disbarred.

Keep in mind that being represented by an experienced attorney can cause you to avoid mistakes that might affect the value of your legal claim.  Rest assured that the attorney, as well as his/her professional malpractice insurance company, will most certainly have experienced legal counsel, and it will not be their goal to look out for your best interests.  Instead, their goal will be to keep claim costs down and minimize the amount paid out on each claim.  Thus, it is important, if you believe you may have a claim, for you to seek legal advice as quickly as possible in order to preserve evidence and to allow your new attorney to be able to pursue all applicable remedies.  The Jackson Law Firm, P.A. welcomes the opportunity to discuss your claim with you in confidence.

When you contact us, your consultation will be free, and you pay no fee unless we obtain a recovery.  The attorneys of The Jackson Law Firm, P.A. look forward to being able to serve you.