Attorney Fees in Illinois Legal Malpractice Lawsuits
Anyone who believes their lawyer has possibly committed malpractice is naturally going to have concerns about hiring another attorney to prove the malpractice. Among those concerns is likely how to pay your new attorney.
We are lawyers that help people find the right Illinois attorney for their case. If you want our help in finding a (good) attorney to sue your old one please contact us at any time. All calls are free and confidential. The attorneys we recommend for legal malpractice typically work on a contingency basis.
What does a contingent basis mean?
When a lawyer takes a case on a contingent basis, it means that you don't have to pay anything unless you are successful. If you are successful, you pay your lawyer from the recovery amount. If you are not successful, you owe your lawyer nothing. So, you never put any money out upfront. Your lawyer covers the costs and expenses of throughout the case.
Why would a lawyer take a case on a contingent basis?
For a lawyer, it is the cost of doing business in this type of law it is a risk-reward situation for the lawyer. So, if you are suing for a large sum of money, the lawyer receives a percentage of whatever you are awarded at trial or settlement - usually 1/3 or more of what is recovered (and it is highly recommended that you agree on a percentage at the start of the case and put it in writing.)
The risk for the lawyer, of course, is that if you lose, the lawyer gets paid nothing even though they may spend numerous hours prove the case. Again, that is the risk-reward of this type of law.
How does this work in a legal malpractice case?
To prove your legal malpractice case, you must show the following:
- That your lawyer didn't just have bad judgment but actually violated the "standard of care." (The "standard of care" is what a reasonable attorney would have done in the same situation. This is proven by having other attorneys testify.)
- That if your lawyer had done what was right, you would have won.
- The existence and amount of your damages (and if you lose a lawsuit about something other than money, this will be particularly hard to prove).
You were hurt in a slip and fall accident at a store. The store was negligent. You were suing for reimbursement of your medical bills and compensation for pain and suffering. Your lawyer misses the deadline for filing the lawsuit and your case gets dismissed. You will have to prove:
- That the standard of care was violated, which may not be difficult in this case because most lawyers would not miss the deadline.
- That if your lawyer had done what was right (filed on time), you would have won. This may not be difficult in this case because the store was negligent.
- That amount of your damage. You will have to prove what you would have recovered - medical bills, other costs, other values, etc.
If you sued and won a judgment for $150,000.00, your lawyer would receive $50,000.00.
Even though it legal malpractice cases may be hard to prove, you should still proceed if you believe you lost your case because your lawyer committed malpractice. A consultation with a malpractice attorney will cost you nothing and the lawyers we recommend take cases on a contingency basis so you have nothing to lose by investigating it.
Contact us if you would like our help. We can review your case and recommend a lawyer that is a good fit for you.