Firm-Wide blog

Malpractice Does Not Have to Be Medical

By Burg Simpson
November 28, 2017
3 min read

When most people hear the word “malpractice,” they think of their doctor, calling to mind horror stories of misdiagnosed or untreated health problems.  But doctors are not the only professionals who are required to conform to a standard of care.

When professionals act negligently and you suffer as a result of their mistakes, you may be entitled to damages.  If you have suffered from malpractice, a reputable commercial litigation lawyer can help.

Types of Malpractice

Generally, malpractice simply means that a professional was negligent and failed to live up to the standard of care for his or her profession.  A mistake, standing alone, is not necessarily malpractice – for example, if people can reasonably disagree on a diagnosis or an engineering recommendation and there is a problem down the road, which may not mean there was malpractice.  However, where a reasonable professional would not have made that decision (or made that mistake), then we are talking about malpractice.

There may be specific rules established by the profession or that are incorporated into a statute that regulates their conduct.  For example, the following professionals have established rules and standards that govern their conduct:

  • Accountants
  • Architects
  • Clergy
  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Professional Engineers
  • Psychologists

Legal Malpractice

Taking legal malpractice as an example, lawyers are highly regulated professionals.  To prove legal malpractice – or professional negligence – you need to show the following:

  • There is an attorney-client relationship (and therefore the lawyer owed you a duty of care);
  • The lawyer breached that duty by failing to exercise care (the competence and diligence exercised by lawyers) by, for example, acting carelessly or by committing a mistake; and
  • That failure caused you injury or harm.

According to the American Bar Association, the following are the most common categories of legal malpractice:

  • Failure to know or properly apply the law. It may be malpractice for an attorney who is not familiar with an area of law to fail to take steps to educate themselves.  It would also be malpractice for an attorney who knows the law to fail to apply it properly.
  • Planning or strategy error. It may be malpractice for an attorney to commit significant errors in judgment as to how the client’s case should be handled.
  • Inadequate discovery of facts or inadequate investigation. It may be malpractice for an attorney to fail to discover facts they should have (for example, facts that would have come to light in a reasonable investigation).
  • Failure to file documents or missing deadlines. It may be malpractice for an attorney to fail to file documents or misses a critical deadline.

Here at Burg Simpson, we are committed to the law and our clients, so we take cases of legal malpractice very seriously. If you suspect you have suffered from any type of malpractice, including legal malpractice, call 303-792-5595 to speak with one of the Colorado commercial litigation lawyers at Burg Simpson immediately!

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