Lawyers are human and make mistakes too. When a lawyer makes a mistake, which damages their client, an attorney experienced and competent in handling legal malpractice cases should be consulted at once. In the field of personal injury, the most common mistake made by a plaintiff's personal injury lawyer, which may permanently extinguish the plaintiff's claim, is failing to file a lawsuit prior to the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is simply the date that any lawsuit must be filed by the plaintiff in order to preserve the claim and set the case in motion toward trial. If the plaintiff's lawsuit is not filed prior to the statute of limitations, the case, with few exceptions, cannot move forward. If the statute of limitations was missed because of the plaintiff's lawyer's error, a claim may be made against that lawyer.
The value of the legal malpractice claim is the value of the underlying initial claim (the one in which the plaintiff went uncompensated). These claims are handled the same way most plaintiff's cases are handled, in that the plaintiff's attorney typically sends a letter of representation to the lawyer who made the mistake, asking that lawyer to the forward the letter of representation to his or her legal malpractice carrier. If that particular lawyer didn't have malpractice insurance, or fails to respond, the new plaintiff's attorney will file a lawsuit against the first lawyer.
Naturally, there are a myriad of other mistakes that lawyers make that create a viable legal malpractice claim. If you are unsure, call attorney Roger Gelb to discuss your concerns.