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Is it the lawyer’s fault if you miss the statute of limitations?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | Legal Malpractice

Timelines are a critical factor in legal cases. When dealing with matters of the law, you and your lawyer must both be vigilant about time constraints.

If you are pursuing a claim for compensation or filing a lawsuit, the statute of limitations serves as a strict deadline for legal action. If your lawyer fails to act within the stipulated timeframe you might have the option to sue for legal malpractice.

The significance of timely action

The statute of limitations sets the maximum period of time for action during legal proceedings. This timeframe varies depending on the nature of the case. For example, Missouri Revised Statutes Section 516.120 states that the statute of limitations for a car accident claim within the state is five years from the date of the accident itself. Missing this deadline, intentionally or inadvertently, can significantly impact the course of legal affairs.

Potential legal malpractice implications

You might explore the possibility of a legal malpractice case when your case misses the statute of limitations through no fault of your own. Legal malpractice occurs when a lawyer fails to perform competently, and this failure results in harm to the client. If missing the statute of limitations is a result of the lawyer’s negligence or incompetence, it may open the door for a legal malpractice claim.

Elements of a legal malpractice case

For a legal malpractice case to be successful, there are certain elements to consider. The claimant must demonstrate that there was a lawyer-client relationship and that the lawyer breached the duty of care. There must also be evidence that this breach caused harm and that there were damages incurred as a result.

While it may not always be the lawyer’s fault if your case misses the statute of limitations, legal professionals must certainly acknowledge the importance of timely action. Legal malpractice cases are a potential consequence of blatant oversights, emphasizing the need for careful consideration and proactive engagement in legal affairs.

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