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Legal Malpractice FAQs

Q. HOW LONG DOES A LEGAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT USUALLY TAKE?

A. The answer to this question varies greatly in light of the facts underlying each suit. That said, most legal malpractice lawsuits brought by The Entrekin Law Firm are resolved in the 14-22 month range.

Usually, a few months are spent researching the facts and obtaining information, hiring an expert or experts, drafting the Complaint and getting it approved. From filing, the case tends to run between a year and a year and a half, although large cases can take longer.

Q. CAN I RECOVER MONEY FOR EMOTIONAL DAMAGES?

A. Generally no. There are rare exceptions, but most lawsuits against attorneys are limited to financial damages caused.

A small line of cases have made provision for emotional damages in legal malpractice cases when an attorney’s error causes a parent to give up an adopted child and there is some language in other cases that suggests emotional damages may be available in very limited circumstances, but generally, legal malpractice damages are measured in financial losses.

Q. WILL MY ATTORNEY HAVE INSURANCE TO COVER MY CLAIMS?

A. Only Oregon requires it for all attorneys. Most attorneys in private practice have liability insurance and the amount will generally depend on the size of the firm.

Q. HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE?

A. In most cases, two years from when you discovered or should have discovered the malpractice through the exercise of reasonable diligence. If the malpractice arose as part of a lawsuit, the statute of limitations will generally start to run when the lawsuit is terminated. In that circumstance, a victim is not required to appeal in order to reverse the attorney’s errors, but failure to appeal can give a defendant a defense, although generally not a very effective one.

NEVER SIT ON YOUR RIGHTS, ALWAYS INQUIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AS TO WHETHER YOU HAVE CASE. Many Plaintiffs will decide that because they only “discovered” the legal malpractice at a particular time, they have two years from that time to file. They are often shocked when courts decide that they either “discovered” or should have discovered the legal malpractice much earlier and hold that their claim for legal malpractice is time barred.

Q. HOW DO YOU GET PAID?

A. We take cases mainly on a contingency fee basis and sometimes on an hourly basis, after consultation with the client.

Q. WHAT ARE THE CASES WITH THE BEST CHANCE OF SUCCESS?

A. Cases involving large money damages in the areas of business transactions and business litigation, real estate, entertainment law, patents, trademarks and in some instances, catastrophic personal injury tend to do well.

Bankruptcy cases, criminal cases and family law cases are generally less successful, although large corporate bankruptcy cases are sometimes worth pursuing.