What is My Claim Worth?
Damages recoverable in legal malpractice cases vary, depending on the theory of liability alleged. Because the overwhelming majority of legal malpractice cases involve negligence and fiduciary breach, we will focus on damages recoverable under those theories.
Calculating the Value of Your Claim
Clearly recoverable damages include a judgment actually paid by the plaintiff in the underlying case, the cost of litigation that would not have occurred but for the malpractice, payments that were made by plaintiff but were not required under the law, failure to collect on a Note or breach of contract because of malpractice and the value of a claim that would not have been lost but for the malpractice.
Lost profits for an established business are recoverable, subject to a high standard of proof. Lost profits for a nascent business were not traditionally recoverable, but are today, subject to a very tough standard of proof.
Jurisdictions split over whether a judgment that has not been paid is recoverable. Jurisdictions also split over whether emotional damages are recoverable, but virtually all agree that emotional damages are not recoverable if the emotional damages arise solely from economic loss.
Fees paid to the malpracticing attorney are generally recoverable, to the extent plaintiff can prove that the work paid for was negligent or constituted a fiduciary breach. Jurisdictions split over whether a plaintiff’s recovery must be reduced by the contingency fee the plaintiff had agreed to pay the malpracticing attorney.
Subject to rare exceptions, fees paid to the attorney bringing the malpractice lawsuit are not recoverable. Punitive damages are generally recoverable, subject to the traditionally very difficult standard of proof. Jurisdictions split on whether punitive damages from the underlying case would be recoverable in a legal malpractice case involving only negligence.
Post-judgment interest is recoverable and prejudgment interest is recoverable if the underlying sum can be calculated with certainty.
Contact a Legal Malpractice Attorney
If you need help determining the value for your legal malpractice claim, call the legal malpractice attorneys at Entrekin Law today —(602) 954-1123