When you hire an attorney you entrust them to take care of serious legal issues for you or your family. Such legal issues can include problems related to your personal injuries, health, financial well-being, or family.
If your attorney intentionally or carelessly handles your case, and it causes you harm, they may have committed legal malpractice. In Utah, you must prove the following elements to prove your attorney committed malpractice:
(1) There was an attorney-client relationship;
(2) The attorney owed you a duty based upon the relationship;
(3) The attorney breached the duty;
(4) A causal connection between the attorney’s breach and the resulting injury to you; and
See Kranendonk v. Gregory & Swapp, PLLC, 320 P. 3d 689, ¶ 11 (Utah 1996).
Furthermore, in order to a win a legal malpractice case, you have to prove that you would have won your case absent your attorney’s negligence or intentional conduct. In other words, in legal malpractice cases, one has to have a “trial-within-a-trial,” to prove that the “underlying suit would have been successful.” Id. (Quoting Harline v. Barker, 912 P. 2d 433, 439-40 (Utah 1996).
Examples of legal malpractice could include:
• An attorney not filing a lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations;
• An attorney missing other court deadlines;
• An attorney not performing adequate research for the case;
• An attorney stealing or mishandling client money;
• An attorney not getting a necessary expert witness for the case;
• A conflict of interest;
• An attorney’s failure to follow court orders;
• An attorney’s failure to communicate with a client; and
• An attorney settling a case without obtaining the client’s approval.
If your attorney has committed malpractice, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the harm they caused you. At Head Law, we understand the harm that unscrupulous, negligent, and careless attorneys cause, and we hold such attorneys accountable.