Personal Injury Lawyers
Attorney Van O'Steen

Malpractice Also Affects Lawyers

Van O'Steen

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It seems as if malpractice is nearly always preceded by the word “medical.”  Even without specific reference, most people think only of medical malpractice when they hear the word malpractice.

All the jokes about malpractice insurance involve doctors.  News stories dealing with the so-called malpractice insurance crisis are limited to the medical profession.

It is incorrect, however, to assume the term has application only to the medical services industry.  Malpractice is defined as a failure to exercise an accepted degree of professional skill by one who renders professional services.

In other words, the term applies to all those who render professional services—medical doctors, osteopaths, podiatrists, chiropractors, dentists, psychologists, veterinarians, lawyers, accounts, architects, engineers, and others.

There has been a sharp rise in recent years in the number of malpractice suits brought against members of all occupational groups, especially attorneys.

There is no shortage of lawyers who are willing to sue a colleague if legal malpractice appears to have been committed.

Even the most skillful lawyers occasionally make mistakes.  Some lawyers make them more often than others.  If those mistakes result in harm to the lawyer’s client, the lawyer must be held responsible for the loss.

Like medical malpractice claims, legal malpractice claims are often difficult and expensive to process.  For that reason, only cases involving the clearest mistakes and the most serious consequences are likely to be undertaken by other attorneys.

If you believe you are the victim of legal malpractice, consult with a lawyer.

There is a natural human tendency to try to avoid conflict with those who are your friends.  Because most lawyers who work near each other, especially in smaller communities, regularly deal with each other, it might be more productive to go elsewhere for legal advice on lawyer malpractice.

Do not, however, be reluctant to ask another attorney to evaluate the matters.  Lawyers are not as tight-knit a group as they used to be.  They no longer automatically overlook the mistakes of their colleagues.  The increasing cost of legal malpractice insurance bears this out.