When people hire attorneys, they expect them to look out for their best interests. That, along with having an understanding the law and being proficient in legal processes, is what someone might expect from his or her lawyer at a bare minimum.
When a lawyer fails to meet these basic standards, it can have a dire effect on the client's case. For example, in a recent case here in New Jersey, a law office let a medical malpractice case slip through the cracks and unfortunately did not catch this until the statute of limitations had expired. And, the mistakes did not end there; an attorney went on to craft a cover-up and lie to the client about what had happened.
The case dates back to 2008 when a Flemington, New Jersey, man met with a lawyer about handling a medical malpractice claim. The lawyer assigned the case to an associate at the firm, but the case was never entered into the office's case-tracking computer program.
Two years later, when the associate reviewed the file he found out that the statute of limitations had just expired. He hid this fact and wrote a fake settlement agreement, stating that the medical centered offered $600,000 to settle the issue.
He then led the client on about the payment until he was finally pressured to come clean about the whole ordeal.
This associate has since been given a three-month suspension from the New Jersey Supreme Court and the former client has filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against both lawyers in order to obtain damages.
Source: Dailyreportonline.com, "N.J. lawyer suspended for falsely claiming a settlement," David Gialanella, Oct. 5, 2012
- Our New Jersey law firm handles legal malpractice cases.