What are the typical hurdles in a legal malpractice case?
There are a great number of challenges inherent in proving legal malpractice. It is best to contact an experienced Texas legal malpractice law firm to ensure your rights are protected and that you have the benefit of skilled representation.
At Nowak & Stauch, we have assisted clients in a variety of legal malpractice disputes, including simple statute of limitation cases to complex DTPA and breach of fiduciary duty cases. While some of our lawsuits involved large nationally recognized law firms, others involved solo practitioners. No matter the number of attorneys involved or the nature of the underlying issues, legal malpractice cases can involve several hurdles, including:
- The Privity Rule: Texas law generally prohibits non-clients from suing lawyers. Without an attorney-client relationship (contractual privity), a person has no cause of action for injuries sustained due to a lawyer’s malpractice. The attorney-client relationship is a contractual relationship in which the attorney agrees to render professional services to the client. A written contract with a lawyer is not necessary to have an attorney-client relationship, although it is the common and recommended practice. Texas courts apply an objective standard when examining the actions of the lawyer and client to determine whether such a relationship was formed. Thus, the attorney-client relationship can extend to preliminary consultations in some instances.
- “The case within the case”: Not only must the client prove professional negligence, the negligence must have caused collectible damages in the underlying case. Therefore, a client must prove that he would have prevailed in the underlying case and that he would have been able to collect the damages sought.
- Statute of limitations: A client has two years to pursue a professional negligence claim or a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. A client has four years to pursue a claim for fraud, breach of contract or breach of fiduciary duty. Thus, time is of the essence in contacting a legal malpractice attorney.
These are the most common challenges facing claimants in legal malpractice cases, but they are not the only ones. It is wise for individuals to contact attorneys who are experienced and knowledgeable in legal malpractice to guide them through the process.
Contact Our Firm
If you have questions regarding legal malpractice, we encourage you to contact Nowak & Stauch, PLLC, by completing the contact form located on this website. We accept most cases on a contingent fee basis, and offer services in English and Spanish.