New Jersey residents seek the advice and assistance of attorneys because they have a problem they are unable to resolve for themselves. They rely on their attorneys training and experience to provide them with competent legal representation. Unfortunately, this is not always what clients receive, and they might wonder whether they have a professional malpractice law claim.
Any number of circumstances can be construed as negligence, breach of contract or breach of fiduciary duty. In order for legal malpractice to occur, it must first be established that the attorney owed a duty to the individual and breached that duty. The client will then need to show through applicable evidence that he or she suffered injury or harm that resulted in a financial loss.
For example, an attorney is retained to file a lawsuit on behalf of the client (the duty). He or she fails to file paperwork with the court within statutory or court-imposed deadlines (the breach). The court could dismiss the case, and the client loses the chance to receive restitution associated with the claim (the harm and financial loss). Attorneys have a duty to act competently and to respect their fiduciary relationship with their clients. A failure in these areas could also be legal malpractice.
If a New Jersey resident suspects that his or her attorney acted inappropriately, negligently or incompetently, the matter should be discussed with an attorney who practices in the professional malpractice law area. An investigation into the claims will more than likely be done in order to confirm that malpractice occurred. Thereafter, a discussion can take place regarding the legal options available.
Source: FindLaw, "Legal Malpractice Lawsuit FAQ", Dec. 25, 2016