While everyone makes mistakes, lawyers must try to avoid errors that could change the outcome of a case. While no lawyer can guarantee a win, the lawyer cannot act recklessly or make mistakes that cost a person his or her case.
If an attorney makes a mistake, there are a couple of ways that you can determine if it was a simple error or malpractice.
Did the attorney make a reasonable mistake?
First, look at the mistake the lawyer made. Sometimes, it is easy to reflect on a decision once you know the consequences and claim it is unreasonable. Put yourself in the position of your attorney without the knowledge you have now. Be careful not to hold lawyers to too high of standards. Some of the most skilled and talented lawyers may make decisions differently from the average attorney. If the lawyer acted similarly to most lawyers in the community, he or she made a mistake but did not commit malpractice.
Did you face damages as a result of the error?
Next, you have to consider damages. If you believe that your lawyer made a negligent error but did not lose your case or suffer any consequences, then you do not have a case. Even in the case of inexcusable mistakes and negligence, you cannot file a claim against the lawyer. If you lose your case, however, you can file a malpractice claim under the notion that you would win your case if not for the mistake.
Mistakes can happen when working with any professional, but if a lawyer’s negligence caused you damages, you have a malpractice claim.