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Legal Malpractice

A lawyer commits legal malpractice when he or she fails to provide quality legal services to a client that fall below acceptable standards within the profession.  This means that during the representation of a client, if a lawyer does something, or fails to do something, that a reasonably competent lawyer would and should do, and the client suffers as a result of it, the lawyer has likely committed legal malpractice.   Typical legal malpractice claims might involve your case being dismissed because your lawyer didn’t do something that he or she was required to do, your lawyer failing to sue the proper parties or file your lawsuit within the recognized time frame for filing the claim, failing to abide by Court Orders or missing other important deadlines in your case.  If you are thinking about suing your lawyer, you will need to discuss this immediately to determine if you have a legitimate legal malpractice case or even if you can still hire another lawyer to repair any damage already done to your case.

In Kentucky and Indiana, few lawsuits are as difficult, expensive and as vigorously defended by experienced insurance lawyers as legal malpractice lawsuits.  In legal malpractice cases, the burden is on the client to show that the client would have won the underlying case if the lawyer had not been incompetent or otherwise made an unacceptable mistake.  The insurance companies have unlimited resources to defend lawyers and law firms with the goal being to avoid compensating injured or wronged clients.

If you suspect that you or a loved one have suffered from legal malpractice, contact me immediately.  Legal malpractice cases in Kentucky and Indiana have short time frames in which they must be filed, and proper investigation and review of the documents involved in the case and circumstances must occur before a lawsuit can be filed.  I’m committed to recovering the maximum compensation for clients that have been injured as a result of legal errors or malpractice.  I have successfully litigated several legal malpractice cases including those involving failure to meet deadlines, failure to attend court and negligent litigation tactics.

The following case summaries are legal negligence cases I have personally handled and litigated and are provided for illustrative and informational purposes only and are not meant to offer legal advice or intend to take the place of consultation with a qualified attorney that has the requisite expertise and experience in these matters.  These cases are only a sampling of the actual cases I have handled.  While some cases may be similar, each case involves unique parties and specific facts, and the application of those facts to the controlling law may differ significantly depending upon the circumstances.  No results or outcomes can be guaranteed in any case.

  1. Robert H. was sued by an individual who claimed Robert was negligent in the use of a Thrifty Rental Truck. Robert hired a local Louisville attorney to defend him against the claims.  Robert paid the attorney an initial retainer of more than $6,000.00 upon hiring them.

During the discovery process, the party suing Robert sent written request for information to him.  Robert’s attorney requested and received two extensions of time to complete the discovery, but he still neglected to respond to the discovery requests for over four months.  The Court ordered Robert to pay all of the other party’s costs and attorney fees related to the discovery and corresponding filings.  Robert’s attorney did not object to the fees and costs awarded by the Court as a discovery sanction.  Robert was never informed of the sanctions against him, nor was he aware of the untimely discovery responses.  Robert’s attorney failed to appear for a scheduled hearing.  The attorney filed a Motion Relief, therein admitting that the delay was his oversight and not that of his client, Robert.  The Court ruled that the attorney was time-barred from any attempt to set aside the Court’s previous Order awarding sanctions against Robert.  A subsequent Motion to Alter, Amend or Vacate was denied based upon the attorney’s own mistake and neglect.  As a result of the Court’s decision, the total amount alleged by the party suing Robert was entered as a Default Judgment against Robert for $50,000.00 plus attorney fees and costs, resulting in a total judgment against Robert in the amount of $223,806.22.

The existence of this ruling and order was never communicated to Robert by his attorney.  Shortly thereafter, Attorney Randy Perkins withdrew as counsel for Robert, however, never informing Robert of the judgment against him.

We were retained to pursue a legal malpractice action against the first attorney based upon his negligence, causing Robert to suffer unnecessary financial losses, specifically Robert paid over $50,000.00 in expenses that could have been avoided by timely and proper action on the part of Attorney.  A lawsuit was filed against the attorney and his firm, both insured by Westchester Fire Insurance Company in Jefferson Circuit Court.  No offers of settlement were made prior to mediation when the case settled.

  1. Debra W., a Lexington, Kentucky woman was cited for speeding while driving through Bowling Green, Kentucky. She retained a local attorney in Warren County, Kentucky to represent her for the traffic ticket and paid him a retainer of $500.00.  Several months later while driving through Bowling Green, Kentucky, she was pulled over and arrested as a bench warrant had been issued for her arrest.  The Warren County, Kentucky lawyer she retained had never appeared on her behalf, informed her of his failure to appear, and as a result, she was arrested and spent the night in the Warren County Detention Center.  This woman was a professional and she had no prior arrest history.  I was retained to pursue the legal malpractice case against the negligent lawyer that failed to appear in court on her behalf or even inform her that he had never shown up after accepting her retainer.  The legal malpractice case was settled out-of-court against the lawyer without suit being filed.

 

  1. A Somerset, Kentucky woman hired a lawyer to pursue a car wreck case on her behalf in Pulaski County, Kentucky. The other driver was clearly at fault, and the woman suffered injuries as a result of the car crash.  Under Kentucky law, a person injured in a car accident generally has two years from the date of the car accident to file the lawsuit.  Under certain circumstances, the two years can be extended to two years from the date of the last no-fault payment made on the injured person’s behalf.  In this case, the lawyer the woman hired failed to file the personal injury lawsuit by these deadlines, and as a result, the woman was legally barred from pursuing her injury claims against the other driver.  The claim against her lawyer for legal malpractice was settled through negotiations directly with the lawyer without the woman having to file a professional malpractice lawsuit against the lawyer.

 

  1. Richard I., an Evansville, Indiana man hired an attorney to stop bank proceedings to foreclose on his house. At that time, the house was valued at approximately $100,000, and he had $40,000 remaining on his mortgage – approximately $60,000 of equity existed in the house.  The lawyer he hired in Vanderburgh County, Indiana assured the client that he would be able to delay the foreclosure for at least 90 days, and in any event, long enough for the client to sell the home and avoid losing the property through the foreclosure process.  Multiple attempts were made to contact the lawyer to confirm the status of the case over a period of months, and the client was only told by his lawyer’s partners that his lawyer “was out on medical leave.”  The lawyer returned from “medical leave” and insisted that he also receive $10,000 from the sale of the home that would be additional fee he had earned by putting off the sale of the home.

Shortly after this meeting, a Vanderburgh, Indiana sheriff arrived and informed the homeowner that the home had actually been sold at auction almost three months earlier.  At that time, one of the lawyers in the firm advised the homeowner, incorrectly, that he could still repurchase his home simply by paying the amount that was past due on the mortgage, despite the fact the home had already been sold.  The client subsequently learned that his lawyer had a “nervous breakdown,” left the firm, and was eventually disbarred from the practice of law.

I was retained to pursue a legal malpractice case against the Evansville, Indiana lawyer and his firm which had committed several acts of both legal negligence and ethical violations.  After many months of litigation, the case was settled before trial for a confidential amount.

  1. Beverly C. was one of the most complicated legal malpractice cases I ever handled involved a New Albany, Indiana lawyer that pursued a wrongful death claim on behalf of three surviving children. The children’s father was killed by a drunk driver, and the driver had become intoxicated at a casino in Southern Indiana prior to getting behind the wheel to drive.  The drunk driver crossed over the center line, striking two vehicles, and killing the children’s father.

The children pursued a wrongful death claim for their father against the drunk driver and also a dram shop case against the casino.  A dram shop case is one where the plaintiff attempts to show that a business is negligent by over serving a patron and allowing the patron to drive away from the establishment when the business knows, or should know, that its conduct in serving the patron has caused the patron to become a potentially dangerous or lethal driver.  Claims against the drunk driver and casino included destruction of power to labor and earn, pain and suffering, medical bills, and funeral expenses.

The lawsuit was initially filed in Floyd County, Indiana, but it was subsequently dismissed and refiled in a different jurisdiction in order to benefit from perceived more favorable laws.  Unfortunately, when the case was refiled, it was after the statute of limitations was past, and the children were left without a remedy against the casino due to the untimely filing of the lawsuit.  At the time the lawsuit was dismissed by the Court, there was a pending offer of settlement from the casino in the amount of $55,000.00.

I was retained by the children to pursue a legal malpractice case against their former lawyer for failing to timely file the lawsuit against the dram shop, or in the alternative, for dismissing the lawsuit against the casino in the other jurisdiction, without determining that the second lawsuit was timely.  The case settled shortly after a mediation and prior to the children having to sue their former lawyer.

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