Lawyer’s Professional Liability is designed to protect an insured member of the policyholder from catastrophic financial loss. In the event the professional is sued for malpractice and becomes legally obligated to pay damages, the professional liability carrier will defend the insured in the suit. Any damages, up to the limit of liability, that the insured becomes liable to pay will be paid- less the deductible and subject to the policy terms, conditions, and exclusions.
Approximately 6% of all attorneys in the U.S. are likely to face an allegation of professional liability in any given year. On average, every attorney will face two claims of professional negligence during their career. Claims activity against attorneys has steadily increased in each of the past two decades, with no reason to believe the pattern will end. Lawyers in all parts of the country, all size firms, and all areas of practice are at risk every year.
Dealing with a professional liability claim can be expensive. Even if a lawyer is ultimately cleared, the money spent on defense, not to mention the hours devoted to addressing the claim and the anxiety the situation can bring, can be a very costly proposition. Professional liability insurance helps ease that burden by sharing some of the monetary risks and assuming much of the responsibility for responding to and defending against that claim. Professional liability insurance can also help protect your clients against significant losses by helping lawyers meet their obligations to protect their clients’ interests even in the worst of circumstances.
Lawyer malpractice claims are as varied as the creativity of the plaintiffs’ lawyers who represent the claimants. The most common claims brought against lawyers are those alleging simple, straightforward mistakes, including administrative errors or substantive errors of law. Claims alleging that the lawyer completely and improperly abandoned a representation or entirely failed to address the client’s needs in any way are becoming more and more frequent. Increasingly, lawyers face suits in which the primary or sole allegation is one of breach of fiduciary duty, often because of a conflict of interest, and frequently based on duties arising through implication. In addition, claims are also made due to fees suits brought against the clients and claims brought by non-client.
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