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Professional Negligence and Malpractice - Who Gets Sued?

Everyone is familiar with physicians, hospitals, and other medical providers and the ability to sue them for what is commonly referred to as "medical malpractice" but in actuality is a lawsuit against them for professional negligence. Who else is subject to this kind of a lawsuit?

Virtually any professional can be held accountable to a client or customer for a breach of the duty that professional owes his or her client or customer. Lawyers are frequently sued for legal malpractice and much of my professional career has been spent doing exactly that, including suing attorneys for overcharging their clients in excessive attorney's fees cases. A lawyer is held accountable to his client not for bad judgment but also for the failure to use the skill care and knowledge that a reasonably well qualified lawyer would use practicing the same type of law under the same circumstances. That is known as the breach of a duty owed the client or, simply put, the duty to do something that other lawyers would have been reasonably expected to do.

Lawyers are not the only professionals subject to professional negligence suits.

Accountants carry the same responsibility to their clients and the failure to do what a reasonably well qualified accountant would do under similar circumstances leaves them subject to a lawsuit for professional negligence. It is again the failure to use the skill, care and knowledge that a reasonable accountant would have used under similar circumstances.

Construction managers, architects, engineers of all types, even dentists and veterinarians can be subject to claims for professional negligence all based upon a failure to do what a similar professional would have done utilizing the skill, care and knowledge of a reasonably well qualified practitioner in similar circumstances.

Of course there are many variables that need to be satisfied which this article does not approach or treat. Rather it is my intent to show the availability of a lawsuit against numerous different types of professionals based not upon an error in judgment but instead upon a breach of the duty that they owe their respective clients and customers. Much of my practice, in fact virtually all of my practice, is concentrated in the areas of professional negligence/nonmedical malpractice and the charging of excessive fees.

-TWG

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