Whether you're defending against pending criminal charges or taking civil action against someone who has injured or wronged you, you depend on your attorney to ensure you remain in compliance with all laws and applicable contracts.
One of the many duties that an attorney owes to their clients is to remain organized and ensure that deadlines are met or that the client moves forward with knowledge about the statute of limitations, if there is one that applies to the case.
Whether due to a lack of organization or perhaps overextending themselves with a large caseload, when an attorney makes a mistake that results in a client missing a deadline or exceeding the statute of limitations, the consequences for the client can be profound. Thankfully, when attorneys fail in these most basic areas of legal representation, the client may have the right to take action against the attorney.
The importance of deadlines and statutes of limitations
In Illinois, as in most states, there are statutes in place that limit how long individuals can face prosecution for specific kinds of crimes. The most serious offenses, such as homicide, do not have a statute of limitations. However, many white-collar crimes and misdemeanor offenses have limitations to how much time can pass before the state brings charges.
A statute of limitations also impacts many personal injury cases and wrongful death claims. The victims seeking compensation in these scenarios must file with the court before a specific date. Failure to do so could mean the loss of your rights to hold someone financially and legally accountable.
Deadlines are also critical to many legal cases. Whether there are stipulations in a contract signed by one or more parties involved or deadlines for filings with the court, it is important that anyone defending against charges or bringing a successful civil action complies with deadlines.
Failing to meet deadlines can often mean the failure of a case. Your lawyer should be aware of the importance of statutes of limitations and deadlines related to your case. Failing to meet them may constitute legal malpractice.
Victims of legal malpractice have rights
If there is any potential good news about being the victim of legal malpractice, it is that you have rights to hold the attorney responsible for the consequences of their actions. Speaking with a third-party lawyer who understands the complicated laws related to legal malpractice can help you determine if you have a case for legal malpractice.
In some cases, you may be able to seek damages from your attorney. In other cases, legal malpractice may be grounds to reopen a criminal case. You can file an appeal or request an extension on a statute of limitations from the courts due to the failure of your attorney.