YOU ASK:

What to look for in attorney malpractice insurance?

WE ANSWER:

Malpractice does not only happen in hospitals and clinics. Even professionals in the corporate world are not exempted from complaints or lawsuits filed against them. The professionals who are most vulnerable to this kind of court proceedings are doctors and attorneys. Clients and customers may feel that they do not get the service they deserve with the amount of money they are paying for. They may feel that they are treated wrongfully which will make them unhappy about the attorneys' service.

In the case of an attorney, a client may complain that the lawyer acted in such a way that the client's best interests were not protected. For instance, the client may allege that the lawyer provided bad advice, or that the lawyer was negligent and lost a critical case.

If you need attorney malpractice insurance (also called legal malpractice insurance), you need to look into the following:

  • Coverage. How much does the insurance pay for a covered claim. What is the limit per claim? What is the aggregate limit?
  • Other benefits provided. This may include defense costs and fees, as well as defense costs related to disciplinary proceedings. Some policies also provide for supplementary payments daily for every day that your attendance is required in the trial.
  • Duty to defend. Does the insurance also provide you with claims staff that can help you defend your case?
  • Reputation of insurer. Find an insurance company that has a good reputation for paying claims and supporting their clients when a lawsuit comes.

Other considerations include:

  • Claims Made Coverage. If you are looking for a good legal malpractice insurance policy, a good attribute to look at is the coverage of claims. This simply means that the insurance policy coverage can be applied to a claim regardless if the claim or injury was within or beyond the coverage given.

    Most legal malpractice insurance policies are already claims made. However, it is still best if you can check the exclusions and inclusions for prior cases of malpractice lawsuits that occurred before the policy was issued.

  • Detailed Coverage. Before you avail a legal malpractice insurance policy, be certain that you review the policy coverage and that it must contain coverage for many areas of law. Though limitations may exist, make sure the basics and the most important coverage are included.

    To determine whether an area of law is important, look at its high risks factors. You must also be aware that these coverage policies may appear quite expensive because they are designed to cover the worst case scenario that can happen.

  • Tail Coverage. Tail coverage of legal malpractice insurance pertains to the exact number of years that the coverage will exist whenever a law firm withdraws its insurance policy, dissolves, or closes down. If you are a lawyer and you left the law firm for legal reasons, the insurance coverage should still continue despite of your association and decision.
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