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What do I do if I’m accused of professional malpractice?

First, breath. Just because one is accused of professional malpractice does not mean that they committed it. Whether it is a fellow attorney, a doctor or other licensed professional, we know that our clients are experts in their field, and they follow industry standards. Unfortunately, that is not always enough to protect them from accusations.

Professional standards

When a licensed professional is hired, they are hired to perform a service inline with their profession’s standard of care. Usually, this means they must use the same reasonable care that other reasonable professionals use in their field, and there are, sometimes, specific rules that outline the standard of care, like attorney bar rules. If a client believes their licensed professional violated that standard of care, they can then bring a malpractice claim.

Attorney malpractice

A common example of a malpractice case is legal malpractice. These types of cases are complicated because they have two basic components that must be met. First, it must be proven that the attorney violated some standard of care. Then, it must be proven that a more favorable ruling would have been achieved, “but for” that legal malpractice. Accordingly, in California, it is simply not enough to prove that a lawyer committed malpractice, which is why our clients usually win these types of cases.

Who can be charged with malpractice?

Any professional that must maintain a standard of care, especially those that are licensed by the state. This includes, attorneys, doctors, accountants, real estate agents, architects, engineers, brokers, etc. Even a trustee or executor of an estate can find themselves with allegations of malpractice. Indeed, any time, there is a financial loss that is a result of a paid expert, there could be a malpractice claim.

The California court system

It may surprise our Bay Area readers, but our state’s court system is one of the largest in not just the U.S., but also the entire globe. It serves a population of nearly 40 million people and counting, and routinely handles over 6 million cases a year. This means that professional liability cases are rarely a first for judges in our state, which can help our clients, should litigation be needed.