Is the plaintiff only able to recover the expenses paid to the negligent lawyer or can they recover more than that? Trying to figure out if the amount paid to the lawyer is worth pursuing with a legal malpractice lawsuit.
There is no arbitrary limit on the amount you can recover. You can recover whatever amount the evidence supports. Generally speaking, any and all actual economic losses flowiing from the lawyer's misconduct are recoverable in a legal malpractice case. However, as Messrs. Arbuckle and Barclay have correctly stated, you have to prove not only your damages, but negligent conduct of the lawyer as well, which requires expert testimony.
If you are considering suing your former lawyer pro se, I suggest that you save the time and effort because you will not win. Even is small claims court, the judge is required to follow the law. Your adversary will know the law and you won't, so you will be at an insurmountable disadvantage.
Accordingly, I suggest that you consult a lawyer about handling this for you.
If you prevail there will be an award out of which you will be paid & your attorney will be paid a portion of that amount. Every state has different statutes regarding malpractice claim. Consult immediately with a TX attorney - I am not licensed in TX>
This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.
If you win, you can get whatever your damages are. In a malpractice suit you must get expert testimony that the work fell below the standard of law practice. There is no guarantee of a good result, only good work. So unless the fee is very large, you may spend more on expert fees than you could get. However, if the work did fall below the standard of legal practice and something bad happened (such as your house got foreclosed), then you can sue for more than the fees. You will need an attorney to represent you or you will likely lose.
This is not legal advice. You should always discuss the specifics of your issue in person with an attorney. Be aware that there are time limits on all claims that depend on the kind of claim, so do not delay in seeking an attorney.
You are not limited to ONLY the legal fees that you paid to the lawyer, if, and this is huge, IF you can prove that your losses (i.e. damages) are directly and proximately the result of this legal malpractice. Malpractice cases (medical or legal) are hard to win, because one must have expert testimony to support your assertions that the legal advice and services you received fell BELOW the standard of care (i.e. the kind of services provided by a reasonably careful, prudent lawyer in the same or similar circumstances). In a legal malpractice case, you will need NOT ONLY a lawyer to take your case, but he/she will need to engage an attorney to testify as an expert regarding what the defendant (the lawyer who formerly represented you whom you are now suing) should have done, or failed to do, and must opine (must testify it is his opinion) that your losses were likely caused by or directly related to the action or inaction of your former lawyer.
As you can see, this can get pretty complicated, so I would emphatically recommend that you engage experienced malpractice counsel to review your case and discuss with you whether your damage model (your losses, and how you can prove them) will support the investment of time and money it will cost to bring a legal malpractice action. There is also another significant concern, and that is that EVEN if you can prove malpractice and tie all, or much of your losses to this malpractice, if the lawyer you are suing does not have sufficient assets to pay your likely judgment or does not have legal malpractice insurance coverage, then you can win at trial, only to lose at collecting the monies owed to you. Best of luck to you.
There is no legal relationship created or implied by the exchange of messages or information on this website. All statements by me are offered as general guidance, but should not be considered in any way to be legal advice for you to act on without consultation with a licensed lawyer in your state. In all cases, an attorney should be retained to review the full circumstances and deliver advice consistent with the information and guidance offered on this site. Legal advice is ONLY offered by me in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.
Contact a few lawyers who handle legal malpractice cases. They can tell you over the phone if it is worth meeting and maybe pursuing.
A tiny handful of lawyers handle these cases...simply google legal malpractice lawyer texas, and you will see them.
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The answer to your question will depend on the underlying claim that the lawyer mishandled. If the underlying claim is for a medical malpractice lawsuit, for example, then the damages would be based on the recovery that would likely have occurred in that case had the case been handled properly. Since medical malpractice cases have damages caps imposed on them, then the recovery in the legal malpractice case will be limited as well. Likewise, if the case is against a governmental entity, the applicable damages caps there will limit the recovery against the lawyer. For this reason, it is important to consult with an attorney who handles both legal malpractice cases and has some familiarity with the issues in underlying case as well. These cases are referred to as "a case within a case" because you will have to prove both the underlying case as well as the legal malpractice case. As you can tell, this can get pretty complicated. So, it is better to get with an experienced lawyer early on in order to get through all the issues prior to making a final decision about whether to proceed with a legal malpractice claim.
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