Professional malpractice occurs when a professional fails to adhere to the minimum standards expected from a person in his/her professional field of endeavor. The standards are based on the degree of skill that other professionals in the same field expect from a member of their profession. The courts refer to it as a “deviation from good and accepted practice.”
The principals of malpractice– which is negligence by a professional– are similar, no matter which professional field is involved. Mr. Ziegler started his professional malpractice work in the field of medical and dental malpractice, but many clients asked him to review malpractice cases against other professionals, including: lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, insurance agents, and real estate brokers.
Malpractice can occur in many settings. We have, for example, successfully sued accountants for an estate, who failed to file an estate tax return, resulting in the imposition of penalties and interest against the estate. We have also defended professionals who were sued for malpractice, who did not maintain a policy of malpractice insurance. Unfortunately, as lawyers, we also encounter clients who have been victimized by their own attorney’s negligence. We have a professional duty to hold the lawyer accountable.
Am I a victim of Professional Malpractice?
Just because the outcome of your tax audit or law suit was not what you expected or hoped for, does not mean that your lawyer or accountant committed malpractice. Professional malpractice is defined as a departure from the minimum standards of the particular profession. Deviation from professional standards is proven in court by testimony of an expert in that field that the professional failed to do some act, or did an act which fell below the accepted standards in his/her field.
A lawyer experienced in legal or accounting malpractice can often tell you at your very first consultation whether the facts of your case constitute malpractice.
If you believe you have suffered damages as a result of your lawyer’s or accountant’s wrongdoing, feel free to contact us to arrange a free consultation to discuss your case. You can also e-mail us your information by clicking here.
How do I select a lawyer to handle my case?
The most important criterion is to find a lawyer who is experienced in handling professional malpractice suits. These cases are different from auto accident cases and should be entrusted to a lawyer who is experienced in the field. Joel J. Ziegler, Esq., has been in practice for over 40 years and has handled hundreds of professional malpractice cases, some involving multi-million dollar damages. Whether your damages are large or small, you want a lawyer who is not afraid to hold a professional liable for the wrongs they have committed.
When hiring a lawyer always ask if they, themselves, are covered by a professional liability insurance policy.
Finally, will the lawyer take your case on a contingency fee basis, where he/she only gets paid if they are successful in recovering damages for you? We always discuss fee arrangements at our first meeting.