Legal malpractice can have a devastating impact on all parties involved. An experienced practitioner is expected to provide advice that serves a client’s best interests, yet when legal professionals act negligently or recklessly, their missteps can be life-altering for their clients. Unsurprisingly, legal malpractice can have far-reaching consequences for those affected, ranging from financial losses to emotional distress. If you need help with a legal malpractice situation, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation.
The Fiduciary Relationship Between Lawyers and Clients
Legal malpractice is a type of professional negligence that occurs when an attorney or other legal professional fails to follow the accepted standard of care when providing legal services, resulting in personal injury for their client.
Legal malpractice can take on various forms including breaching fiduciary duties, engaging in fraudulent activities, and misappropriation of funds from clients. This may include errors or omissions during the course of representation, failing to meet the deadlines for filing paperwork, not performing a conflict check prior to taking a case, and violating laws, statutes, and ethical regulations.
To prove an attorney’s negligence in these cases, the following four elements must generally be proven:
First and foremost, you need to clearly define that there was a duty or agreement between you and the attorney. You can do this by showing proof of a signed fee agreement or by presenting other evidence of the attorney-client relationship.
Breach Of Duty
Once it has been established that there was a duty or agreement between the two parties, it needs to be determined if there has been any breach of this agreement. This means the legal professional failed to fulfill their duties according to the contract/agreement or failed to act with the appropriate level of care.
You also need to demonstrate that the lawyer’s conduct was directly responsible for your damages. For example, showing that because your attorney failed to file your claim within the statute of limitations – despite having ample time to prepare – you no longer have a viable claim to recover compensation in an injury case.
Lastly, you need to show that you have actually suffered damage as a result. You will need to present evidence of financial loss. This can be challenged if it appears that the outcome wouldn’t have been different had proper action been taken in time.
Negligence alone doesn’t mean you will win a legal malpractice claim. If the attorney was negligent but you suffered no damages, you have no claim.
You Will Need Expert Witness Testimony for a Legal Malpractice Claim in Albuquerque
In a legal malpractice claim in Albuquerque, an expert witness must be used to establish negligence on the part of your previous attorney. The expert witness must be qualified to testify about the standard of care that a reasonable attorney would have exercised in the same or similar circumstances.
Expert testimonies play a crucial role in legal malpractice claims and impact how the court determines whether the attorney’s conduct fell below the standard of care and whether that conduct caused the plaintiff to suffer damages.
New Mexico Statute of Limitations for Legal Malpractice Claims
If you are considering a legal malpractice case in New Mexico, it is important to understand the applicable statute of limitations. Unfortunately, there is no specific statute governing the time to file legal malpractice cases in New Mexico, and parties argue that there are two different statutes that may apply.
The first relevant statute is for various causes of action, including injuries to the person, and puts the statute of limitations at three years. The other statute of limitations, which is for all claims based upon accounts, written contracts, injuries to property, conversion of personal property, fraud, or any other unspecified claims, puts the deadline at four years.
Parties often disagree about which limitations statute is applicable and case law has been unclear as to which limitation period applies in these situations. Because it’s not entirely clear if the statute of limitations is three years or four years, it’s important to speak with a legal malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss the deadline.
Example of Legal Malpractice Case in Albuquerque
To bring a successful legal malpractice case if your attorney missed the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim, you must show that you could have obtained more compensation had it not been for your attorney’s negligence. This means proving how much money would have been recovered in the original case but for their negligence. To do this, you must present evidence that a judgment would have likely been reached without their negligence and in what amount.
Gathering evidence such as medical bills, and records of lost wages or income due to injury or illness caused by the incident in question can be key in proving these damages successfully.
Why Hire Davis Kelin Law Firm For Your Legal Malpractice Claim?
Choosing a law firm after you’ve been taken advantage of by a previous lawyer can be daunting, but at our firm, you can trust our legal malpractice lawyers with your case. Here’s why you should work with Davis Kelin Law Firm:
We offer an initial free phone consultation so that our Albuquerque team of professional attorneys can gain an understanding of your case and determine whether this is something we are able to help with.
We have been incredibly successful with numerous multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts; put simply, we know what it takes to build a winning case.
Our commitment extends beyond just providing quality legal services. We also care deeply about our community and regularly donate to various causes.
If you’re looking for an experienced team that genuinely cares about your legal malpractice claim, contact us to schedule a free consultation.
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