By David L. Duff of Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. posted in About the Law on Friday, September 6, 2019.
Patients who have been injured through the negligence of their doctors have very little hesitancy in suing for medical malpractice; however, clients who sustain losses as the result of negligence by their lawyers seldom pursue a claim for legal malpractice. Lawyers, just like doctors, are required to perform their services to within a certain standard of care. If a lawyer’s actions on behalf of a client fail to meet the required standard of care, then that lawyer has committed legal malpractice; and, the unsuspecting client often bears the loss.
If your lawyer has done something wrong in the handling of your legal matter, Virginia law imposes a time restriction within which you must sue the lawyer, or be forever barred from doing so. This time constraint is known as the “statute of limitations,” and depends upon whether or not you had a written fee agreement with your lawyer. If there is a document that sets forth the financial terms upon which you hired the lawyer, then the applicable statute of limitations is five (5) years from the date on which the lawyer stopped representing you with respect to the subject legal matter. If there is no written fee agreement, and the lawyer was hired by you “on a handshake,” then the statute of limitations decreases to three (3) years.
Not every mistake that your lawyer may make will constitute legal malpractice; and, not every act of legal malpractice will justify suing the lawyer. Often a “cost-benefit” analysis needs to be made before embarking upon legal malpractice litigation.
If you feel as though your lawyer may have committed legal malpractice in the handling of your legal matter, please call Duff & Kronfeld at (703) 591-7475, and schedule a complimentary, 30-minute telephone consultation with any of our attorneys.