Medical malpractice in Los Angeles occurs when a medical professional harms a patient. That harm causes an additional injury and medical expenses. Legal malpractice is similar. Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney fails to complete their legal duties.
This failure harms the client. The harm caused may include additional legal fees and expenses. It may also include jail or prison time if it is a criminal court case. If legal malpractice does occur, an attorney is needed. This is not just any attorney, but legal malpractice attorney los angeles. Before hiring a legal malpractice attorney, it’s important to understand the elements of legal malpractice.
Basics of a Legal Malpractice Claim
A legal malpractice claim involves negligence. It doesn’t involve suing because the attorney didn’t win a case or wasn’t nice to their client. No attorney can promise a particular outcome. However, an attorney is held to a higher standard than a non-lawyer. They have the task of providing a professional service with the prudence, diligence and skill a reasonable Los Angeles attorney would use in the same situation.
This means if they fail in doing the above, they may be negligent. Negligence is the failure to act as another attorney would in the same or similar situation. In Los Angeles, negligence is defined in a series of four steps. The first step is the existence of an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship refers to a client hiring the attorney to represent them. This is often the easiest element to prove.
The second step is proving a breach occurred. A breach refers to a failure on the attorney’s part to act as another Los Angeles attorney would in the same and/or similar circumstances. For example, the attorney didn’t file a response by the deadline. This meant the client couldn’t continue their lawsuit. Another attorney would have filed the response before or on the deadline. Thus, the first attorney breach their attorney-client relationship. The third step is to show the attorney’s negligence harmed their client. The harm must be direct or proximate. The last step is proving the extent of the injury. This is done by showing damages such as additional legal fees. This is where the client receives money from the attorney because they caused them harm by being negligent.
Have an Attorney Explain the Case-Within-a-Case Concept
As mentioned before, an attorney is needed to help win a legal malpractice case. Showing negligence isn’t enough in a legal malpractice case. There must be significant proof an attorney’s negligence actually caused the client harm. According to the Civil Jury Instruction 601, the plaintiff must prove that they would have obtained a better result if represented by a reasonably careful attorney.
Thus, that means a legal malpractice claim is actually a case within a case. It’s a case within a case because a plaintiff must show that a different result would have occurred with another Los Angeles attorney. A legal malpractice attorney will assist in proving the former attorney’s negligence amounted to malpractice.