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Legal Malpractice and Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Attorneys owe significant ethical and legal obligations to their clients. The Attorney-Client relationship establishes a “fiduciary duty.” This is one of the highest duties the law imposes. It requires the attorney to exercise the utmost care, and place the interests of the client above all others.

The client is entitled to place complete trust and confidence in the attorney, and rely on his or her advice. If there is a breach of this trust and confidence, you may have a case against your attorney for Legal Malpractice or Breach of Fiduciary Duty. If this is the case, you should contact a St. Louis Legal Malpractice Attorney as soon as possible.

legal1Legal malpractice can be described as an attorney’s failure to render professional services with the skill, prudence, and diligence that an ordinary and reasonable attorney would use under the same or similar circumstances.

No legal professional is an insurer of a positive outcome for the client. What creates liability is the attorney’s failure to act in the manner the ordinary or reasonable attorney would act in handling that matter for his client, and that failure causes damage to the client. If you are not sure whether your attorney acted appropriately, you should call a St. Louis Legal Malpractice Lawyer for a free initial consultation.

What Can Be Recovered For an Attorney’s Malpractice?

When an attorney commits malpractice, the client is entitled to recover certain damages caused by the lawyer. At The Gogel Law Firm, our St. Louis Legal Malpractice Attorney takes legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us unless there is a monetary recovery.

A client in a legal malpractice or breach of fiduciary duty case may also recover all monetary damages that were caused by the attorney’s negligence. For example, if an attorney failed to file a lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations period, the client would be entitled to recover the amount that the client would have recovered had the case been timely filed. Our St. Louis Legal Malpractice Attorney can tell you whether certain damages can be claimed due to an attorney’s negligence.

legal2In many cases, if an attorney negligently fails to recover damages or adequately protect a client’s interests in a case, those damages will have to be presented in the legal malpractice case. This is called a “case within a case.” While it sounds daunting that a legal malpractice would necessarily involve two cases (i.e., one case to prove the negligence of the attorney, and another case to prove the damages caused by the attorney), many times, this can actually be easier and more beneficial to the client in the legal malpractice case. For example, if a lawyer fails to file a medical malpractice or wrongful death case against a doctor or hospital within the applicable statute of limitations time period, a client’s only recourse may be a legal malpractice case. While medical malpractice and wrongful death cases against a doctor or hospital are notoriously difficult to win at trial (only approximately 20% of such cases result in a plaintiff’s verdict), a plaintiff’s chances of successfully proving a “case within case” for medical malpractice or wrongful death increase because it is not the doctor or other healthcare provider that the jury is being asked to render a verdict against; it is the negligent lawyer. Right or wrong, jurors generally like doctors, and do not like lawyers.

One final thing to note. Good lawyers make mistakes. In our experience, most of the lawyers that are sued for legal malpractice have never been sued before, and may never be sued again. When a lawyer handles thousands of cases over his or her career, it is possible that a damaging mistake will be made at some point. This is why lawyers purchase legal malpractice insurance. Most lawyers understand that the goal of a legal malpractice case is to make the client “whole.” A legal malpractice case is not meant to harass an otherwise non-negligent attorney. It is merely meant to recover for a client’s legitimate losses.

At The Gogel Law Firm, our St. Louis Legal Malpractice Lawyer works hard to ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve as a result of your attorney’s legal malpractice. We take legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us unless there is a monetary recovery. If you believe you were a victim of legal malpractice, contact our St. Louis Legal Malpractice Law Firm.