It is bad enough when something happens in your life that forces you to hire a lawyer for representation. But, it is much worse when the attorney you hire neglects his or her ethical duties and you suffer as a result.
Fortunately, Tennessee law is on the client’s side. When an attorney either intentionally or negligently causes injury to his or her client, legal malpractice has occurred. This problem has been increasing and continues to grow throughout the United States.
Memphis legal malpractice attorney, our own Thomas Greer, provides valuable information in an article he wrote for the respected Avvo legal website last year. Entitled “What Constitutes Legal Malpractice in Tennessee?”, Greer spells out exactly what you must prove to bring a successful lawsuit against a lawyer who has wronged you. He lists the most common types of Tennessee legal malpractice as:
- Failing to file and action within the statute of limitations
- Failing to follow deadlines imposed by the court
- Failing to respond to pleadings filed by opposing parties
- Failing to inform the client of case developments
- Misusing client funds
All of these types of legal malpractice result in just about the same thing; the client suffers and his or her case is either thrown out of court, or the award is severely diminished.
Mr. Greer explains three steps that must be followed to prove legal malpractice in Tennessee:
- Duty: Proving duty means that a lawyer and client have some sort of employment agreement that forms an attorney-client relationship. When a client signs an agreement with his or her lawyer to, for instance, represent a personal injury case, the lawyer has a duty to, “take reasonable steps in handling that claim.”
- Breach of Duty: Next, it must be proven that the attorney breached his or her duty to a client. This means that the attorney did not use the same skill, care and diligence that another, more reasonable, lawyer might have done in the same circumstance. Usually, expert witnesses are called to prove this.
- Damages Caused by the Breach of Duty: Finally, a successful Tennessee legal malpractice suit must prove that the client suffered damages from the negligent actions of his or her attorney. This is typically financial damage. Greer offers the example of a case in which a client filed suit and would have won a financial award if his or her attorney had acted in a responsible, ethical manner.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of legal malpractice, you need a skilled Memphis legal malpractice attorney to represent you. Perhaps more importantly, you need an attorney you can trust.
The attorneys at Bailey & Greer, in Memphis, have a reputation for skilled, trustworthy legal representation. Give us a call toll-free today at 901-680-9777 to see what we can do for you.
Bailey & Greer represents personal injury victims in Tennessee and Mississippi and has also handled cases in Arkansas, Georgia and Missouri.
Since graduating magna cum laude in 2005 from the University of Memphis School of Law, Thomas has helped make a difference in the lives of victims of serious personal injury, wrongful death, and professional negligence. Thomas has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Among other victories in the courtroom, Thomas obtained several impressive jury verdicts and settlements
Read more about Thomas R. Greer