17 Dec Can I Sue My Personal Injury Lawyer?
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you are hiring them intending to represent you and defend your case potentially in the court of law. However, what happens when that trust is violated? Whether they’ve neglected you or misrepresented you, personal injury lawyers sometimes don’t do what you hire them for. If you have a good case against your personal injury lawyer, you can file for malpractice against the attorney you hired.
When you hire a lawyer, you have trust that they’ll do the job you’ve hired them for. And for a majority of personal injury lawyers, they do their job well. However, there are sometimes a few bad attorneys. If yours has wronged you, you may want to consider suing your personal injury lawyer. The lawyers at Truskett Law Firm can help you understand your rights if another lawyer has misrepresented you.
So, can you sue your personal injury lawyer? In short, yes. You can sue your personal injury attorney for malpractice, negligence, or misrepresentation. When you sue an attorney for legal malpractice, you’ll need to prove that the lawyer did not use the appropriate or ordinary amount of skill and care most lawyers use in similar cases.
Note that if you lost your case, this does not mean that your attorney committed malpractice. In every case, there will be one side that wins and another that loses, despite the attorneys’ skills on each side. Let’s take a closer look at this important topic.
Can I Sue My Personal Injury Lawyer?
There are many reasons why you may wish to sue your personal injury lawyer including suing your lawyer for malpractice. It is important to fully understand this complex situation before you proceed.
What is Malpractice?
Malpractice is about an attorney not doing something they were required to do. You’ll need to prove that your attorney was required to do something, that they did not do what they were required to do, or they did it wrongs, and it resulted in a financial case to you.
What You Need to Win a Malpractice Case
It can be tough to win a malpractice case due to the amount of evidence you need to prove your lawyer failed to use the ordinary skill or care when handling your case. That’s why it’s important to remember these four things you need to win a malpractice case:
- Duty: the lawyer owed you their commitment to perform a task properly.
- Breach: the lawyer breached their duty towards you by either negligence, making a mistake, or not doing what they were contracted to do.
- Causation: this behavior by the lawyer caused you damages and is something you’d have to prove.
- Damages: the costs suffered resulted in a financial loss to you.
Often, troubled attorney-client relationships are set off by lack of communication, incompetence, and dishonesty, inadequate legal work, billings, and arbitration. The American Bar Association says the most common malpractice claims include failure to know the law, strategy in planning error, inadequate discovery or investigation into the matter, failure to file documents, procrastination, failure to obtain client consent, and fraud.
Malpractice also includes negligence, breach of duty, breach of contract, and misrepresentation.
Reasons to Sue Your Attorney
There may be some grey areas when considering suing your lawyer. Here’s a list of reasons for which you could sue your lawyer:
- Your lawyer abandoned your case.
- The case was dismissed due to a lack of research and effort on behalf of your lawyer.
- Your lawyer has settled your case without your permission.
- Your lawyer is representing a separate client to your disadvantage.
- The attorney has made apparent errors that a professional attorney should not make.
- Your lawyer has neglected to contact you.
Can I Fire My Lawyer?
It’s entirely up to the client to fire your attorney at any time or point. However, your attorney must have violated your rights or committed malpractice for you to have a case to file against them. You’ll want to have another lawyer that is interested in your case and is willing to file a claim against another attorney.
It’s essential when you ask or sign an authorization allowing your new attorney to acquire your documents for the impending case. A fee dispute with your former lawyer may result, or even if you have yet to pay them, you are entitled to your information.
What is Legal Negligence?
You’ll need to prove the lawyer didn’t use the proper care in your case. This can include missing a deadline, communication errors, filing the wrong papers, not complying with court orders, or making other errors that weren’t intentional but sloppy.
If your attorney falls out of contact with you, this would be considered a failure to communicate. There can be little signs that eventually lead up to something as big as a failure to communicate. To try and figure out why they may have cut off communication with you, make sure you try all communication channels, including calls, writing them letters or emails, or even fax them.
There may be a good reason for the lack of communication, like your attorney being busy researching your case. However, if reaching out doesn’t work and you find out they’re negligent, you may consider firing them or filing a formal complaint.
What is Breach of Duty?
This type of malpractice happens when a lawyer violates their responsibilities. This can include settling your case without your approval, not preparing the case for trial, providing misinformation or lying to you, misusing funds provided for the court cost, or misusing funds owed to you.
Breach of Contract
When your attorney fails to do something agreed upon in the contract, this is a breach of contract. An example would be filing your deed or patent. If your attorney has promised to do something they were contractually obligated to do and didn’t do it, you have evidence for breach of contract.
What Are Your Rights?
You must understand some fundamental rights to which you’re entitled. This includes effective and proper communication, correspondence between a client and their attorney, the attorney is competent enough to know the core knowledge and expertise of your legal issue, the work being completed ethically, and that the agreement of fees is followed.
You can expect an attorney to:
- Keep you up to date about your case.
- Guide you throughout the entire legal process.
- Tell you what they expect to happen in your case.
- Allow you to make vital decisions concerning your case.
- Give you a costs assessment
- Keep in communication with you
- Inform you of changes, delays, or setbacks in your case
- Give you information for you to make educated decisions.
- Prepare you for your case, including disposition and trial preparation.
Things to Know If You Decide to Sue
If you end up deciding to sue your attorney, you’ll want to save every document. You’ll need your paper trail to prove their malpractice. Record all communication, contracts, meetings, bank records, and phone calls. Establishing proof can also include verifying misappropriated funds like overcharges or if your attorney settles your case without your permission for a lesser amount than you agreed.
If your attorney lied to you and promised something like personally handling your case, but you consistently find yourself communicating with other representatives instead of the lawyer, ensure you have and keep proof.
Alternatives to Suing Your Personal Injury Lawyer
If your attorney violated proper legal ethics, you could file a grievance with the ethics committee of the state bar association. This association ensures all attorneys are held to ethical standards to renew their licenses. If you file a grievance, that lawyer could be disbarred or directed to pay you compensation. If you are disputing a fee with your lawyer, the state may also have a fee dispute committee that can help you resolve without going to court.
You can also hire another lawyer to achieve the outcome you need. Or, if you want to negotiate with the lawyer that you’re having issues with through another attorney, you can seek settlement for the mistakes that were made in your case.
Truskett is Tulsa’s Best Personal Injury Attorneys
We understand at Truskett Law Firm that trust between clients and their lawyers is essential. Your trust is valuable, and we don’t take it lightly when you put your confidence in our experienced professionals. Our experienced legal professionals will handle your personal injury claims.
Truskett can guarantee that we are dedicated to our clients and their cases as our top priorities. We promise to do our best so that you don’t experience any of the malpractice mentioned in this article. Truskett was founded on the values of community, safety, educating clients, and advocacy. Our lawyers have over a decade of practicing personal injury law explicitly.
Accidents that cause personal injuries can be very jarring to your life. Our personal injury law firm covers cases including car wreck injury, semi-truck crashes, surgical injuries, property damage, wrongful death cases, catastrophic injury, and insurance disputes in Oklahoma. We also handle nursing home negligence, unintentional falls (slip and or trips and falls), pedestrian injury, defective products, injuries from animals, birth injury, and Tulsa personal injury. If you or a loved one need a personal injury lawyer, Truskett Law Firm is the best in Tulsa!
Don’t risk it. Call Truskett now for a free personal injury consultation!