TLTR: This article discusses legal malpractice insurance, the areas it covers, and which professions require it the most. It also explores how and where you can buy the policy.
Before we start, let’s go through a hypothetical scenario.
After studying for years in a widely recognized law school and practicing for many more, Tim, a 47-year-old divorce lawyer, went bankrupt. In his last case, Tim represented a client who ended up filing a malpractice case against him. After months of fighting the case, Tim ended up losing and came to financial ruin.
If he’d had legal malpractice insurance, his insurance company would have helped him settle with his client by offering the client a pay out or paying the defense cost. Now, Tim is facing bankruptcy without anything to back him up.
The costs associated with legal malpractice lawsuits are astronomical. According to Claims Journal, the last two years have seen the biggest legal malpractice claims payouts ever. At least four claims cost more than $100 million in 2020.
Introducing Legal Malpractice Insurance
Malpractice insurance policies are generally offered as part of an all-inclusive package for lawyers and attorneys. It can also be purchased separately depending on the individual’s needs—regardless of their profession.
Simply put, legal malpractice insurance is a specialized type of professional liability insurance. When you face a lawsuit that accuses you of incompetence, legal malpractice insurance can provide you a way to stay financially afloat.
Legal malpractice insurance is a topic not often discussed by every professional in every field. The common misconception is that most people don’t have any need for such insurance because they don’t work in the legal field. But when you’re looking to protect your business and livelihood from lawsuits, it’s an important consideration.
Note: This policy is also known as lawyer malpractice insurance.
How Does Legal Malpractice Insurance Work?
The policy is usually written as a “claims made” or “occurrence made” policy.
Claims-Made Policy: A “claims made” policy means that claims made during the time the policy is active will be covered. For instance, let’s say the case in question took place in 2018, and your policy covers you from 2020 through 2025. If the claim is made in, say, 2021, the policy will have you covered.
Occurrence Based Policy: An “occurrence made” policy means that coverage extends for any incidents which took place while the policy was put in place. For example, If the policy was active between the years 2015-2020 and a malpractice incident occurred in 2017 then the policy will cover you for that incident for all future claims.
Note: “Occurrence made” policies are generally seen as a sub-category of medical malpractice insurance. Please refer to your insurance provider in order to know which type is applicable for your profession.
Legal malpractice insurance generally works similarly to lawyers insurance, employment practices liability insurance, engineer insurance, handyman insurance, risk insurance and more. The policy covers you for errors and omissions that may come up in your profession.
What Does Malpractice Insurance Cover?
There are various kinds of costs covered under legal malpractice insurance. Some of these are:
- Lawyer fees
- Medical damages
- Punitive damages
- Arbitration costs
- Defense fees
- Expert witness costs
Note: Remember that the policy will only cover you up to the specified policy limit.
Legal Malpractice Insurance: The Specializations Which Need It The Most
When it comes to malpractice insurance for health care workers, it is popularly known as medical malpractice insurance. The policy covers healthcare providers. It can be understood as a professional liability insurance which protects licensed professionals from liabilities which may be associated with their own practices. Liabilities occur when there is any form of misconduct from the professional’s end.
Health care is a broad category and encompasses many different professions. Medical malpractice insurance is available for almost all of them. For example, you can purchase malpractice insurance for doctors as well as counselors.
Here’s a list of health care workers for whom malpractice insurance is crucial:
Nursing/medical students, and more
Medical malpractice insurance is one of the most popular malpractice insurance categories, and for good reason. According to Yale News, estimates of preventable fatalities are quite high in the U.S., with as many as 22,000 a year. The article reports that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Note: Medical malpractice insurance is generally a little expensive. On average, the cost of the policy is about $7,500 per year. The price is likely to increase if you work in a new or extremely specialized field.
Legal Institutes/Law Workers
It’s commonly known that legal malpractice insurance is essential for everyone who practices some form of law. According to the Insurance Business Magazine, malpractice claims in the legal sector are rising rapidly. Statistics show the number of claims which require multimillion-dollar payouts are dramatically increasing.
Many practicing lawyers and attorneys believe that legal malpractice insurance should not be mandatory in order to practice law. However, as explained in The Indiana Lawyer, states such as Idaho and Oregon require professionals to carry the policy in order to practice. California and Washington are also actively considering implementing the law. Those in favor say that clients might not get relief if a lawyer fails to procure finances.
Note: the average cost for legal attorneys for malpractice insurance is around $1,200 to $2,500 per year. However, the annual price can range between $3,000 to $10,000 if the attorney practices in a high-risk area.
Every industry has its unique insurance needs. For educational institutes, safety is one of the top priorities. However, maintaining safety can be difficult amidst all the things that can go wrong. One of them being school shootings.
According to The Washington Post, the trend of mass shootings in schools has started to surge as schools are beginning to open post the pandemic. Having a comprehensive insurance policy is important for schools, colleges as well as universities.
Legal malpractice insurance for educational institutes isn’t commonly heard of. It can make a significant difference in a school’s functionality. It takes a lot of finances to run a school. Especially so if the school has many unique programs for its students.
For instance, if an educational institute is known for admitting children to various kinds of scholarships, then it would be sensible for them to offer their students malpractice insurance. In any case, the student slips up or makes a mistake, the insurance can help secure their career.
How To Buy Malpractice Insurance?
Here are five easy steps to buy legal malpractice insurance today:
Step One: Find the Right Provider
Finding an insurance company that fits your needs is the first step. You will need to do some research on this. After the initially doing online research to figure out which companies can offer you coverage in your state, call them up and talk to them to get their rates.
To help you get started on the process, here are some of the best malpractice insurance companies as per Investopedia:
|Insurance carrier||Known For|
|Proliability (Professional Liability Insurance)||Best for any kind of malpractice insurance|
|Nurses Service Organization||Best for nurses malpractice insurance|
|Healthcare Providers Service Organization||Best for therapist/psychologist/psychiatry malpractice insurance|
|Dentist’s Advantage||Best for dentists malpractice insurance|
|CoverWallet||Best for social workers malpractice insurance|
|State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company||Best for doctors malpractice insurance|
|360 Coverage Pros||Best for attorney malpractice insurance|
Step Two: Be Careful with the Forms
Legal Malpractice insurance requires you to fill out forms in the initial process. These forms need to be detailed so that the insurer can properly cover all your assets. Make sure you don’t withhold any kind of information from the company or your agent.
Step Three: Know Your Policy Limits
It is quite important to know the specifics of your coverage. A standard legal malpractice insurance policy doesn’t tend to cover acts that occurred prior to the coverage. Make sure you check the contract thoroughly. Also check with your agents and companies before you buy the policy.
Make sure you also see the monetary limits of your insurance policy. It’ll help you plan your legal action (if required) accordingly.
Step Four: Know When the Coverage Starts
Many legal malpractice insurance policies take a while to start even after you have paid for your deductibles and your premiums. Make sure you’re careful pay attention to the effective dates before you get into risky business.
Step Five: Know About the Claim Process
If you find yourself in a situation where a client makes a malpractice claim against you, make sure to inform your carrier immediately. If you handle the claim on your own, the insurance company may refuse to pay for your legal fees or for your settlement. Make sure that you follow the proper insurance claim process.
Looking For a Legal Malpractice Insurance Agent Near You
Finding the best attorney malpractice insurance agent in your area can be a difficult task. It can be difficult to know where to begin with so many different companies, policies, and coverages to choose from. A good legal malpractice insurance agent can assist you in navigating the complex landscape of legal malpractice insurance and ensuring you get the coverage you require at a price that fits your budget.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Investigate potential agents: Begin by looking for legal malpractice insurance agents in your area. Look for agents with a good industry reputation and experience dealing with legal malpractice policies. Ask other legal malpractice owners for recommendations, or look online for reviews and ratings.
Inquire: Contact each agent you’re thinking about hiring and inquire about their experience, qualifications, and services. Find out how long they’ve been providing farm insurance and make sure they understand your farm and its unique requirements.
Compare quotes: Request quotes from each agent for the coverage you require. Compare the quotes to ensure that the coverage is consistent and that you are getting the best value for your money.
Select an agent: Choose the agent who best meets your coverage requirements and budget. Before you sign any contracts or agreements with the agent, make sure to thoroughly read them.
It is important to choose the best legal malpractice insurance agent for you and your family. The agents on Agency Height have the experience and knowledge to provide you with the best insurance coverage and rates.
Agency Height is the ideal choice for your legal malpractice insurance needs, thanks to their comprehensive coverage and attentive customer service.
It’s important to be aware of the risks that you are undertaking by not having legal malpractice insurance. You may think your company will never face lawsuits, but life can take some unexpected turns, and lawsuits can happen without warning.
Legal malpractice insurance is a type of liability insurance that helps protect against the consequences of negligent or erroneous work. It’s a normal human tendency to make mistakes and therefore it’s a sensible idea to look out for yourself in case of such eventualities.
If this sounds like something you would want for your business or if you need more information on why it’s so crucial to have legal malpractice insurance for your profession, find an agent today and ask them about our affordable options!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find A legal malpractice Insurance agent?
If you are looking for an attorney malpractice insurance agent, if you have not already done so, you can contact them through your insurance provider. Referrals from friends and family are another way to connect with one.
You can also search the Agency Height directory for top legal malpractice insurance agents in your area.
Are some professional areas riskier than others?
Certainly, yes. For example, a healthcare provider’s job is riskier than that of an educator, since a healthcare worker is more likely to cause inadvertent physical harm. In terms of legal malpractice insurance, it’s generally the case that health care providers usually go for the costliest coverage in comparison to other professions.
Can I purchase legal malpractice insurance on my own?
It depends. Some carriers allow you to purchase directly from them while others prefer that you go through an insurance agent or an insurance broker. You are going to have to check with your insurance provider.
How much legal malpractice insurance do I need?
This is different for every professional. It depends on the kind of risks and clients you have to deal with. It also depends on the kind of services/products you provide. It also depends on both your professional as well as personal assets.
For example, if you are an esthetician and have a low limit of, say, $80,000, then it certainly won’t be enough if a client files a suit against you. The amount will barely cover the legal fees to fight the case.
You should consult your insurance provider and evaluate your assets, your profession, and your clientele to see how much insurance is adequate for you.
Do Non-profit workers require malpractice insurance?
Yes, they do. Non-profits work closely with causes that involve many people, so it would be recommended to get legal malpractice insurance for social workers. However, they can also substitute the legal malpractice insurance with a comprehensive commercial general liability insurance or add a malpractice insurance to their existing insurance for non-profit.
What all do I need to disclose in my legal malpractice insurance form?
When applying for a legal malpractice insurance policy, you will be required to provide detailed information. It is crucial that you truthfully fill out this form.
You need to also tell your insurance provider about any potential claims. So, for example, if a client has threatened to file a lawsuit against you or your job/business then you should mention it in the form.
In any case where you withhold information from your carriers, your claim can be denied.
What Are Some Questions to Ask the Insurance Company When Buying Legal Malpractice Insurance?
Here is a list of questions you can ask:
What are the limits of the coverage?
Does the policy cover my line of practice?
What is deductible under the policy?
Is there a specific term for the current coverage?
Will there be transparency if their services are no longer applicable to me?
Can they provide me with a Certificate of Insurance?
February 12th, 2023 · 17 mins read
- Introducing Legal Malpractice Insurance
- How Does Legal Malpractice Insurance Work?
- What Does Malpractice Insurance Cover?
- Legal Malpractice Insurance: The Specializations Which Need It The Most
- How To Buy Malpractice Insurance?
- Looking For a Legal Malpractice Insurance Agent Near You
- Frequently Asked Questions
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