Legal malpractice tougher to prove than most suits
A law firm in Louisiana is being sued by one of its former clients. Patricia Frank was not happy with the service she received from her attorney, Mark W. Smith, in a slip and fall suit against Boomtown Casinos. Frank filed a suit against Continental Casualty Co., Mark W. Smith PLC and Mark W. Smith at the 24th Judicial District Court a month ago.
Frank alleges that her attorney waited for over a year to file a suit against the casino, and missed the statute of limitations. As a result, she was unable to file suit and was barred from pursuing legal action against the casino. Smith has been accused of legal malpractice and professional negligence and Frank is pursuing an unspecified amount of money in damages.
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If true, it would be hard to argue with her wanting reparations for a lost opportunity and for any long term disabilities that would otherwise go uncompensated. However, there is a tricky under-layer to proving a legal malpractice case.
In order to prove the suit, plaintiffs must be able to show that had it not been for a lawyer’s negligence, they would have otherwise been able to prevail in their suit. Meaning, if Frank’s lawyer had filed on time, would they have won money?
Proving such would be a tall order for most attorneys, especially inexperienced ones. In addition, it must be proven that the lawyer failed to exercise the skill and care associated with the profession, that the attorney was negligent in their duties and that the plaintiff incurred actual damages as a result of action or inaction by the defendant.
The burden of proof in this circumstance could be very difficult. How does an attorney convince a jury or mediator that had the charges been filed in time that the client would’ve won compensation? How is it provable that the case was even winnable and how can the amount of pain and suffering experienced as a result be quantified?
These are all difficult questions for any attorney. Make sure you find a legal malpractice professional, like the NJ attorneys at Team Law, to help guide you through what can be a tricky case – call 732-388-5454 or email us here for a free consultation