What to Do When Your Lawyer Messed Up

Home » Blog » General » What to Do When Your Lawyer Messed Up

You’ve been in a car accident, you’ve hired a lawyer, and now you think your lawyer may have screwed up your case. Maybe you feel you’re not getting the attention you deserve from a bad lawyer, or maybe you think your lawyer is missing key deadlines.

Whatever the reason, if you suspect your lawyer of negligence in your car accident case, there are a few things you can do.

The personal injury lawyers at our law firm, The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers, can provide legal advice about what to do when your lawyer messed up your case, and to find out whether or not you have a legal malpractice case.

What Do I Do If I Suspect My Lawyer Is Negligent in My Case?

Clients place great trust in their attorneys to use their experience, education, and training to pursue their cases competently and professionally.

If your attorney fails this fiduciary duty and that breach affects the outcome of your case, you may be a victim of legal malpractice and can consider taking the next steps to sue your former attorney.

What Are Common Signs That My Personal Injury Lawyer Is Not Doing a Good Job?

There are many signs that your attorney is not doing a good job, but some common ones include:

  • Not returning your phone calls or emails in a timely manner.
  • Failing to keep you updated on the status of your case.
  • Not being prepared for court hearings or depositions.
  • Not investigating your case or gathering evidence.
  • Not being aggressive in negotiations with the insurance company.

What Are Examples of Legal Malpractice Cases?

What Are Examples of Legal Malpractice Cases Infographic
Examples of attorney malpractice might include:

  • Missing the statute of limitations filing deadline
  • Misuse of client funds and fraud
  • Padded and fraudulent billing
  • Settling a case without client consent
  • Material conflicts of interest
  • Not responding to a dispositive motion
  • Failing to add critical claims or defendants
  • Repeated and prolonged failure to communicate

What Is NOT Legal Malpractice?

Without additional evidence of wrongdoing, some common examples of behavior in legal profession that might be bad for business and demonstrate a poor attorney-client relationship but are NOT a breach of the duty your attorney owed you:

  • Rude behavior
  • Personality clashes
  • Not immediately answering your phone call or email
  • Bad outcome in your case
  • Your attorney is friends with opposing counsel

For a more in-depth look at what are and are NOT considered valid legal malpractice claims, read our article, What is Considered Malpractice for an Attorney?

Are There Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys?

Every state bar association plus the District of Columbia requires that their attorneys follow a written canon of professional standards. In Illinois, those are called the Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct.

Important rules for attorney-client relationships include:

  1. Competence in legal practice
  2. Diligence in pursuing and managing a case
  3. Communication with the client
  4. Safekeeping of the client’s property separate from their own

What Do I Do If I Think My Lawyer Made an Error in My Case?

What to Do if You Suspect Lawyer Negligence in Your Car Accident Case Infographic

Personal injury cases often take months, if not years, and slow progress or unfavorable motions don’t always indicate a lawyer failed their duty or was negligent. If you suspect malpractice:

1) Remain calm and gather the facts.

Do not jump to conclusions! Even great lawyers lose motions and even entire cases. If you think something’s wrong with your case, keep pursuing it to minimize damages. Collect facts and save all case documents.

2) Sit down and have a meeting with your attorney.

Arrange to meet, call, or video chat with your lawyer to discuss your case status and your concerns. In legal matters, wins and losses are part of the process: focus on key aspects such as important motions, expert testimony, and trial preparation. Regular updates during crucial times are vital, though daily communication isn’t required.

3) Get a second opinion.

After your meeting, if you are still dissatisfied, consider seeking another lawyer’s opinion for a new perspective and guidance on next steps.

4) Continue pursuing your case.

Even if your attorney did commit malpractice, you cannot simply abandon your case. You have a duty to mitigate damages, which means you must continue pursuing your case to obtain the best results possible despite your former attorney’s incompetence.

This may include retaining another attorney to see the case through.

How Do I Prove Legal Malpractice?

Proving legal malpractice when you sue your lawyer is no easy task because you must not only show that your attorney committed malpractice, you must also show that the attorney’s negligence materially affected the outcome of your case.

To recover compensation in a legal malpractice lawsuit case, you must prove each of the following:

  1. Your attorney owes you a fiduciary duty of care. If you are a client, this element will be easy to prove.
  2. Your lawyer fails their fiduciary duty of care. Attorneys are expected to follow a canon of professional ethics and to pursue your case using their expertise, training, and education. For example, if your attorney forgot to file a critical motion.
  3. But for the attorney’s breach, your case results would have been materially different. This element can be the most difficult to prove. You will only be able to recover damages if your lawyer’s incompetence made the difference in your case.
  4. Damages. To prove damages, demonstrate the impact of your attorney’s error on your case’s value. If your settlement was significantly lower than your case’s worth due to this mistake—settling for thousands instead of a rightful million—you can recover the difference.

I’m Not Happy with My Personal Injury Lawyer. What Can I Do?

If you’re dissatisfied with your lawyer’s management of your case, consider a second opinion and legal representation from legal malpractice lawyers. The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers provides a no-cost consultation to discuss your situation, evaluate if you have a valid legal malpractice claim, and determine if our firm suits your needs.

What to Do When Your Lawyer Messed Up
The personal injury lawyers at The Kryder Law Group, LLC can provide legal counsel about what to do when your lawyer messed up your case.

Do I have a case?

Get In Touch With Us
The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers, 134 North LaSalle St. Suite 1515 Chicago, IL 60602
Get Directions
Call us Today
(312) 598-1012

    Phone Number (312) 598-1012
    134 North LaSalle St., Suite 1515
    Chicago, IL 60602 Get Directions

    Settlements & Verdicts

    $7.5 Million Recovered for a Construction Worker Injured on Site
    $3 Million Recovered for the Family of a Person Struck by a Garbage Truck
    $2.2 Million Recovered for a Salesperson Injured in an Automobile Collision
    $2 Million Recovered for a Person Struck by a Speeding Vehicle While Waiting for the CTA Bus
    $1.4 Million Recovered for a Computer Programmer Injured in a Slip and Fall
    Phone (312) 223-1700