Attorneys are professionals who rely on their education, experience, talent, and their effort to do a quality job. Unfortunately, sometimes they can make a mistake. There are two types of mistakes that can be made: ethical and professional.
When there is an ethical mistake, you can bring an ethics complaint against the attorney through the State Bar. This is a free process, but it rarely gets the client any money back or any sort of better result. This process is similar to reporting someone for breaking a law. For this, you do not need to hire an attorney. You can if you want to.
When an attorney makes a professional mistake, this is called malpractice. Different states have different standards for how to prove malpractice. In North Carolina, in order to prove malpractice, you essentially have to show that you would have had a better outcome without the mistake made by the attorney. Certain mistakes are almost always malpractice, like missed appellate deadlines or statute of limitations that prevent your case from moving forward.
For malpractice, you need to file a lawsuit against the attorney for malpractice. Generally, this involves hiring a new attorney. Most every attorney has malpractice insurance to protect him or herself from these types of mistakes. This insurance also protects the client.
Some mistakes can amount to both ethical violations and malpractice. In these cases, you can conduct the processes simultaneously because ethical violations rarely provide monetary awards to wronged clients.
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