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Legal Malpractice FAQ

You have questions. We have answers!

Legal malpractice issues usually leave a person with many questions and concerns. If you have suffered harm because of attorney negligence, whether due to a failure to timely file your claim, a dismissal of your case due to the lack of diligence by the attorney, pre-trial or trial malpractice, you have every right to fight for fair and reasonable compensation. The Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has handled such cases with extensive success and offers a free initial telephone consultation for each client. Consult with a New York legal malpractice attorney from our firm right away to get the answers you're looking for! To get started, read through a few common questions below before contacting our offices to schedule your consultation.

What is legal malpractice?
Legal malpractice occurs when an attorney failed to exercise that degree of care, skill and diligence commonly exercised by a member of the legal profession and that "but for" the attorney's negligence, the client would not have lost the case or sustained damage. For example, an attorney could fail to file a claim or lawsuit on time, fail to exchange information with the adversary or fail to obtain available evidence that would have resulted in a favorable outcome There are many other forms of legal malpractice, but they all involve lawyer negligence directly resulting in financial loss to the client.

In order to file a legal malpractice claim, you must be able to prove that you had an attorney/client relationship and that the attorney agreed to represent you on the matter complained about. You cannot sue an attorney for legal malpractice who represented your adversary. Other causes of action may be available, such as fraud.

Can I file a legal malpractice claim for any mistake or error made by my attorney?
No. The only time you can file a valid claim for legal malpractice is if the mistake could have been avoided through due diligence and prudence on the part of the attorney handling the case. The error must have also caused you harm in order for you to file a claim.

How can I prove legal malpractice?
In order to prove legal malpractice, you must not only provide evidence that your lawyer was negligent or failed to perform due diligence, but also that their actions and/or inactions directly resulted in harm to you. You can gather documents, witness statements, court records, and other such evidence to prove your case.

When should I file a legal malpractice claim?
The New York statute of limitations requires that you file a legal malpractice claim within three years of your attorney's negligence that resulted in harm. Based on New York's "continuous representation" doctrine the three year statute of limitations begins to run from the last date the attorney represented you on the matter complained of. Do not delay in consulting an attorney if you suspect legal malpractice. A Court could find that your claim is not entitled to the benefit of the continuous representation doctrine and dismiss your malpractice lawsuit if it was not filed within three years of the alleged malpractice. There are other exceptions to the strict statute of limitations rule in New York which require the advice of an attorney, so you should promptly obtain legal advice to determine if you qualify.

What if my lawyer doesn't have legal malpractice insurance impact my case?
There is no legal requirement that a lawyer obtain legal malpractice insurance in New York State and some victims of legal malpractice will find that their attorney is incapable of paying you just compensation for their negligence. This is commonly referred to as a "judgment proof" defendant. If your attorney has been disbarred from the practice of law, it is possible that he or she does not have any legal malpractice insurance coverage.

When a lawyer has legal malpractice insurance, their insurance company will retain a defense attorney for the lawyer, and will likely negotiate a settlement if they cannot successfully defend the attorney. Alternatively, the insurance defense attorney may raise significant defenses to your claim arguing that the attorney did not depart from the accepted legal standard; and/or, that your case had no merit and would have been dismissed, or, lost at trial even with the finest legal representation. These defenses may be overcome by an experienced legal malpractice attorney. Of course, no reasonable attorney can guarantee a successful result.

Retain a Legal Malpractice Attorney in New York, NY

The Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has handled legal and medical malpractice cases for over 30 years. Attorney Burke is dedicated to preparation and success and will work directly on your case - not a junior associate with little experience - and will fight tirelessly to ensure that you win the compensation you deserve. We understand the code of conduct lawyers are held to in the State of New York, and we will help you hold them accountable for attorney negligence and any harm they have caused you. Contact our firm today to discuss your case at no cost to you!

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