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Actual Damages Statutes

Actual Damages Interplay with the Statute of Limitation and Statute of Repose

A cause of action accrues when the client “reasonably should have known of the injury for which damages are sought.”  The accrual of a cause of action occurs when a plaintiff discovers or within a reasonable time should discover his or her injury and incurs damages directly attributable to counsel’s neglect.  “…[It] is the realized injury to the client, not the attorney’s misapplication of the expertise, which marks the point in time for measuring compliance with a statue of limitations period.”  “The injury which sets the clock running is the entry of a final judgment against a party, and not a preliminary finding of liability” because actual damages are an element of a legal malpractice claim.  It follows that the failure to determine the correct date when the client is actually damaged by the act or omission of his former counsel may result in a bar to the legal malpractice lawsuit.

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