Lawyers are there to help us deal with some of the most difficult times of our lives. They help us buy houses, plan our estates and set up businesses while resolving disputes with others from employers to neighbors. All of these processes will generally go without a hitch, but you might be wondering what you can do if there is a problem. It is possible for you to sue your lawyer? The simple answer is yes, but you might have a lot of questions relating to suing a solicitor.
What Can You Do When You Receive Poor Service?
Poor service is a very vague issue and it can relate to anything from poor communication to problems with the fees you are charged by the lawyer. These problems can be very frustrating, but they might not be negligent on their own. If you have poor service from your lawyer, the internal complaints procedure that the law firm has should be your first stop. If this does not help resolve the issue, you can try the Legal Ombudsman who will look into the case and resolve it.
Can You Sue A Lawyer?
You can, but you will need to show that you have suffered more than bad service from the lawyer. You will have to prove that the lawyer was professionally negligent. The lawyer will need to have done something or failed to do something that has caused losses for you.
There are many examples of solicitor negligence including their failure to carry out a search when you purchase a home. Missed court deadlines which result in your inability to pursue a claim is another example. Other forms of negligence will be providing incorrect legal advice and the poor drafting of a will that leaves you unable to claim your inheritance.
How Much Can You Sue For?
If you are making a professional negligence claim against a lawyer, you can only claim for damages. This will be the amount that you have lost as a result of the negligence. The damages should place you back in the position you were in before the lawyer acted negligently.
There are a few ways that damages can be measured in these cases. A good example of this will be a conveyancing negligence case. In this type of case, you will only be able to claim the difference in price that you paid for the house and the price you should have paid if there was no error. In some rarer cases, you could sue for the entire value of the property. You might also be able to claim the amount you had to pay another lawyer to fix the issue. These are additional costs that you would not have faced if there was no negligence.
Is There A Time Limit For These Claims?
There is a time limit for all professional negligence claims. This is generally 6 years from the date of the negligence. If you only find out about the negligence at a later date, you will have 3 years from the date of discovery of the negligence or the end of the 6 years depending on the one that is later. There are some rare cases where a long-stop limit is applied and this will be 15 years from the date of the negligence.
What You Need To Do To Sue Your Lawyer
If you believe that your lawyer has been negligent, you will need to act as soon as possible. It is recommended that you contact a different law firm and set up an initial consultation. Lawyers who specialize in professional negligence cases will be able to determine the validity of your claim. If your lawyer has been negligent, they will be able to help you resolve the issue and pursue your case.
Not all professional negligence cases will need to go to court. In most cases, the issues can be resolved with mediation and negotiation. Before you rush to court, you should send a letter of claim to the lawyer and set out the case against them. Your previous lawyer will have a chance to respond and set out their defence. This will generally start the process of discussing a settlement and most cases end here before getting close to court.
If You Lawyer Insured?
All lawyers need to have some professional indemnity insurance. Their insurance company is likely to pay your damages if your claim is successful.