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Legal Malpractice FAQ

Legal Malpractice Frequently Asked Questions

Find out what you can do to protect your right to competent representation

The Law Office of Jeremiah A. Denton III adheres to high standards and expects the same from our colleagues in the legal profession. Since 1980, we have provided Virginia Beach clients with dedicated, effective representation. If you have suffered damages because of a mistake or misconduct by your former attorney, we pursue your rightful compensation. Read our attorneys’ responses to frequently asked questions about Virginia legal malpractice claims. Then contact our office to discuss your individual circumstances and to take the crucial steps to protect yourself and your rights.

Get answers from our Virginia attorneys about filing a legal malpractice claim against your previous lawyer

For answers to your questions about legal malpractice, call The Law Office of Jeremiah A. Denton III at 757-215-4818 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.


Can I file a legal malpractice claim because I don’t like the outcome of my case?

That you had hoped for a better outcome does not rise to the level of a valid claim for malpractice. If another qualified attorney might have performed the same actions or taken the same approach, your attorney did not commit legal malpractice. If another attorney would not have acted as she did, you may have a valid claim.

Even though my lawyer’s mistake didn’t really cause me any harm, can I still file a claim?

You must show damages to prevail on a legal malpractice claim.

What are examples of actions that might be considered legal negligence?

Legal negligence may involve failing to file a crucial motion or petition by the deadline, breaching the terms of your client contract, breaching a fiduciary duty, acting unprofessionally during negotiations or trial, failing to submit relevant evidence during trial, lying to you about an important development in your case or taking any other negligent or unethical action that causes you harm.

My lawyer didn’t fulfill any of the terms of our signed contract. Is this a basis for legal malpractice?

Breach of contract is a common ground for legal malpractice. You also may have other actions under different contract and business theories of the law.

I suspect my lawyer is diverting funds that belong to my trust account. Is this considered malpractice?

Breach of fiduciary duty is a common ground for legal malpractice. Depending on the facts of your case, an attorney who diverts funds from a trust account might also face criminal charges and disciplinary proceedings by the Virginia State Bar.

I asked a friend of a friend at a party for free legal advice that turned out to be wrong. Can I sue the attorney for malpractice even though I didn’t actually retain her?

Unless you could prove that the attorney put herself forward as your legal representative and that you believed she did in fact represent you in your case, it is unlikely that you could prevail on a claim under these circumstances.

Can a pro bono legal aid attorney be held accountable for legal malpractice?

The price you paid for your legal representation is irrelevant. The fact that your attorney supplied you with free legal services does not relieve him from the obligation of providing you with competent, ethical representation.

Where do I file a grievance complaint about my lawyer?

You can file a grievance complaint against an attorney with the Virginia State Bar. The Law Office of Jeremiah A. Denton III can help you with this process in addition to filing your legal malpractice claim.

Will the insurance company settle quickly to spare the attorney’s reputation?

Most legal insurance carriers fight tooth and nail to win. They do not settle to spare a lawyer the bad publicity. In fact, most attorneys aggressively seek to win to protect their reputations. However, we find that victims of legal negligence usually get justice.

If my attorney does not carry malpractice insurance, should I forget about ever seeing the money I won in my judgment?

You can still collect from the attorney or law firm for damages. One option for collecting on a judgment is having the lawyer’s paycheck garnished. If you were a victim of fraud, you may also be entitled to compensation for up to $50,000 by the Virginia State Bar’s client protection fund.

Virginia State Bar Disclaimer
Every Legal Matter Is Different. The Outcome Of Each Legal Case Depends Upon Many Factors, Including The Facts Of The Case, And No Attorney Can Guarantee A Positive Result In Any Particular Case. The Outcome Of Every Case Will Depend On A Variety Of Factors Unique To Each Case And Case Results Depicted Here Do Not Guarantee Or Predict A Similar Result In Any Future Case.
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