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lawThe settlement or award of damages in a legal malpractice claim is limited to the extent of the damages suffered by the plaintiff. Simply put, in a successful claim, any money the error cost you is typically recoverable in a legal malpractice claim. However, there is no magic number for a legal malpractice case. Every settlement or award is entirely circumstance specific. Speaking with an experienced malpractice attorney will give you a better idea of what damages you may be able to recover. 

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are aimed at compensating the plaintiff for losses. In other words, compensatory damages are meant to attempt to make the plaintiff whole again. 

Losses or injuries you suffered should be recoverable in your claim. Since attorneys practice, various types of law, compensatory damages for legal malpractice can range widely from case to case. Some examples include lost wages, lost business income, loss of consortium when the situation caused damage to relationships, mental anguish, and emotional distress.

Non-economic damages are recoverable in malpractice cases as well. For example, if attorney malpractice results in a wrongful conviction, emotional distress damages (mental anguish) may be in order. Similarly, damage to your reputation in the community could constitute non-economic damage. 

Consequential Damages

Consequential damages are damages that result from the negligence of the attorney. An example would be if you could not pursue a time-sensitive opportunity after a deal fell through due to legal malpractice. 

Consequential damages are an indirect result of the negligence that took place. To be entitled to consequential damages, a plaintiff must show that the damages are a foreseeable result of the negligence that took place. For instance, if an attorney failed to file a claim within the statute of limitations, then it is foreseeable that the plaintiff would be barred from bringing the claim. 

Costs Related To Litigation

Suppose a plaintiff in a legal malpractice suit had lost their claim due to an attorney missing the statute of limitations. In that case, the plaintiff may be able to recover the associated court costs connected to the loss claim. 

Attorney’s Fees

In some cases, plaintiffs may be able to recover attorney’s fees for costs incurred in filing the malpractice claim. This is an exception to the “American Rule” typically followed by California courts. The American Rule provides that each party is responsible for their own attorney’s fees. However, if a plaintiff in a legal malpractice claim can show bad faith or malicious acts on the part of the attorney in question, then an exception could apply in some cases. 

Can I Recover The Full Amount For My Lost Claim?

While not impossible, recovering a “full amount” for a claim lost to attorney malpractice is difficult. The potentiality or the merits of a claim could provide a rough estimate of what a settlement or judgment may have amounted to. Still, non-economic damages or punitive damages can vary widely between settlements and judgments. Due to this, the only way to have known what a “full amount” for a judgment would have been to litigate the case; however, that opportunity was lost when the statute of limitations barred the claim. Thus, the judgment for the malpractice claim may hinge on how the original case could have played out. This will almost certainly be highly contested in such malpractice claims. 

As with other cases, it is only possible to estimate damages if you meet with an attorney who rigorously evaluates your claim. Even then, a hopeful estimate and a low estimate may be all that is feasible so as to avoid making promises. 

Contact A Personal Injury Attorney

Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates has the experience and expertise to solve problems for clients and achieve the best possible results. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 888-848-5084 or contact us online