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A Look at Legal Malpractice Statute Of Limitations

Date Added: May 03, 2012 11:18:47 AM
Author: Annie J
Category: Business & Economy: Finance & Investment: Insurance

While the statute of limitations for filing a malpractice suit against a firm or one of its attorneys differs from state to state, in California, it must be filed within one year from date of discovery, and within four years of the wrongful act. A statute of limitations is a law that places a time limit on pursuing a legal remedy in relation to wrongful conduct. After the expiration of the statutory period, unless a legal exception applies, the injured person loses the right to file a lawsuit seeking money damages or other relief. What constitutes legal malpractice? If a person feels an attorney has not fulfilled his obligations while representing them in a case they will have the option of seeking damages. One must be able to prove negligence on the following grounds: • Failure to meet important filing deadlines • Failure to conduct due diligence in reviewing contracts • Failure to conduct an adequate investigation into facts • Violations of professional standards of conduct • Violation of fiduciary duties • Failure to gather evidence and eyewitness testimony Any lawyer acting on behalf of his or her client will know and understand the importance of making court ordered filing deadlines. By missing these deadlines he/she risks the possibility that a lawsuit will suffer due to his oversight. By not properly communicating to his/her client, or simply due to incompetence, particularly when it comes to reviewing contracts in a timely manner, conducting a proper investigation, or violating codes of ethics, all potentially damaging to any case that his/her client has entrusted him/her with, can be grounds for filing a legal malpractice suit. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.6, an action against an attorney for a wrongful act or omission, other than for actual fraud, during the performance of professional services shall be commenced within one year after discovery by the plaintiff, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the facts constituting the wrongful act or omission, and no longer than four years from the date of the wrongful act or omission, whichever occurs first. Whether a person feels their lawyer is guilty of a conflict of interest with regards to their case, or has made damaging decisions without their consent, going so far as to not even bother to consult them prior to acting on their behalf, or has made false statements to them or on their behalf then they will likely have cause to file suit against them. A person may also file malpractice in the event they feel they were excessively charged fees for services rendered. If the plaintiff is required to establish his or her factual innocence for an underlying criminal charge as an element of his or her claim, the action shall be commenced within two years after the plaintiff achieves post conviction exoneration in the form of a final judicial disposition of the criminal case. Except for a claim for which the plaintiff is required to establish his or her factual innocence, in no event shall the time for commencement of legal action exceed four years except that the period shall be tolled during the time that any of the following exist: 1. The plaintiff has not sustained any actual injuries. 2. The attorney continues to represent the plaintiff regarding the specific subject matter in which the alleged wrongful act or omission occurred. 3. The attorney willfully conceals the facts constituting the wrongful act or omission when the attorney knows such facts, except that this subdivision shall toll only the four-year limitation. 4. The plaintiff is under a legal or physical disability that restricts the plaintiff's ability to commence legal action. legal malpractice insurance http://www.legal-liability-insurance.com
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