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Does legal malpractice include small mistakes?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2022 | Legal Malpractice

Legal malpractice can be difficult to understand because while it seems like it would encompass any mistake, that is not true. Malpractice is a serious situation with specific requirements to prove.

The American Bar Association explains a simple mistake could or could not be legal malpractice. It highly depends on the circumstances and results of the mistake.

Damages

One of the biggest factors that will determine if a mistake is malpractice is whether it causes damage. If you suffer in some way due to the actions of the lawyer, then you likely have a case. However, if you were merely inconvenienced or mad about the mistake, then the loss is not significant enough to rise to the level of malpractice.

Negligence

You also need to show the attorney was doing something outside the scope of normal practice when the mistake happened. If the action was merely the attorney making a typical decision that did not pan out, it probably is not malpractice. However, if the attorney’s actions make no sense or go outside the scope of how a typical lawyer would act, then it could be malpractice.

Proving legal malpractice is not an easy task. You need to show the attorney intentionally made a mistake and it ended in significant harm to you. Malpractice is not about being mad that your case did not end the way you wanted. It is not about not liking your lawyer or being unhappy with the treatment you received. The attorney must break codes of ethics or other legal standards in a true act of negligence that causes you serious harm. Most of the time, a simple mistake will not fall into this category.