Whether faced with the wrongdoing of another, a criminal charge or a serious injury, heading to court is a nerve-wracking experience. Most people in Maryland do not take on this experience alone. Obtaining the guidance of an experienced lawyer is often your best option for achieving the best possible outcome for your unique situation, but what if someone drops the ball? In the face of legal malpractice, you might feel understandably lost.
If you are like most people here in Maryland and elsewhere, you probably contact an attorney because you have a problem that requires his or her experience. You trust that your best interests remain a priority and your case will be resolved in the best manner possible. Unfortunately, like those in other professions, mistakes can happen. The question is whether that mistake constituted legal malpractice and caused you economic harm.
You may already know that Maryland attorneys are expected to meet certain requirements and owe you a duty of care as a client. When your case does not turn out as you expected, you may wonder whether your attorney committed legal malpractice. The fact of the matter is that no one can guarantee you the outcome to your case that you desire. However, when your attorney makes an error that facilitates a negative outcome to your case, you may have a legal malpractice claim.
When hiring an attorney for a personal injury claim, a Maryland resident trusts that the one chosen will diligently pursue a recovery from any and all potential defendants who may bear some responsibility for the injuries suffered. Failing to do so could close off a potential source of restitution that could help with the financial losses sustained. An individual in a neighboring state says that is exactly what happened, and he now alleges legal malpractice kept him from receiving approximately $1.8 million.
Attorneys here in Maryland and elsewhere must meet certain professional and ethical standards. Most diligently follow the Rules of Professional Conduct put forth by the American Bar Association. However, through mistake or intention, some attorneys violate these rules and their clients suffer for it. If you suspect that your attorney somehow committed legal malpractice, it may help to know more about the most common ways this may occur before taking any further steps.
Back in May, our blog spent some time discussing how the very first decree in the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct dictates that all attorneys must provide clients with competent representation, meaning services demonstrating a reasonably necessary degree of "legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation."
When a person makes the decision to retain the services of an attorney to handle a particular issue -- from an estate plan or employment agreement to a divorce or a DWI -- they understandably assume -- and rightly expect -- a certain level of competence.
When you hire a Maryland lawyer to represent you, you expect that he or she will be competent and have your best interests in mind. Unfortunately, not all attorneys live up to their responsibilities. If the evidence supports it, a legal malpractice claim could be filed in order to seek restitution for the damages caused by the attorney.
In a previous post, we discussed that while we, as a society, hold attorneys in high regard owing to their education and training, we also expect them to handle our legal issues -- from divorces and DUI charges to trusts and truck accidents -- with the necessary diligence and dedication.
There are certain professions that we, as a society, hold in high regard owing to the education and training required, and the complexity of the work performed. While physicians certainly fall into this category, so do attorneys, whom we rely on to handle an array of matters from car accidents and divorces to estate planning and criminal charges, to name only a few.