When you hire an attorney to represent you in either a criminal or civil matter, there is a certain standard of care you assume will be upheld. If that standard of care is not met, you might have a case for a legal malpractice action.
Guidelines for what defines legal malpractice differ by state. In general, however, legal malpractice occurs when an attorney fails to perform the way one would expect the “average” attorney to perform in a similar case. This does not include basic judgment errors. In order to have grounds for legal malpractice, you must prove either negligence, breach of contract, or violation of fiduciary duty on the part of the attorney.
In a legal malpractice case, you must first prove that an attorney-client relationship existed. In other words, you must have retained that lawyer to represent you in the specific case for which you are claiming legal malpractice. You must also show negligence on the part of the attorney, and it must also be proven that the negligent act was the cause for your injury and, finally, that the injury was serious enough to justify a case.
Proving Legal Malpractice – A Trial within A Trial
In a criminal case, a client may first have to prove his or her innocence before claiming that the actions of the defense attorney caused his or her conviction. In a civil case, the client must show that he or she would have won the case or been awarded greater damages if not for the negligent actions of the attorney. To prove these things, it is sometimes necessary to present the original case over again, known as a trial-in-a trial.
In addition to being a criminal defense attorney, Victor Rotolo is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney. He and the other attorneys at The Rotolo Law Firm are thoroughly familiar with the laws of the State and knowledgeable about the specifics of what constitutes legal malpractice in New Jersey. As trial lawyers, they stand ready to re-try your case if necessary. Contact The Rotolo Law Firm if you believe you are the victim of legal malpractice and our attorneys will evaluate the facts of your case.