St. Denis & Davey, P.A.

Legal Malpractice Issues

What role is served by legal malpractice insurance? — II

| Mar 8, 2017 | Professional Malpractice Law |

In a post last week, we discussed how statistics reveal that as many as 5 to 6 percent of private attorneys here in the U.S. end up being sued by a client each year and how this reality, coupled with the fact that these lawsuits often end up costing considerable time and money, causes many of them to secure legal malpractice insurance.

We also discussed how the coverage provided by this legal malpractice insurance varies depending upon the terms of the policy. We’ll continue this discussion in today’s post.

What role does the insurer play in a legal malpractice lawsuit?

In the event a private attorney is facing a lawsuit alleging legal malpractice and has a legal malpractice policy, the insurer will essentially have two duties (provided the claim falls within the policy terms).

First, it will defend the attorney against the claims and, second, it will pay out the necessary amount in the event a settlement is reached or the attorney is found liable for legal malpractice following a trial.

If an attorney doesn’t have legal malpractice insurance does this mean a lawsuit isn’t possible?  

No. A person who suffers some manner of undue injury caused by their attorney’s intentional or negligent action/inaction may certainly pursue a legal malpractice lawsuit despite the absence of legal malpractice insurance.

The only difference will be that the attorney, not an insurance company, will be required to pay any damages, such that it might take longer or be somewhat more difficult to collect the money owed.

Does Florida require legal malpractice insurance or mandatory disclosure?   

The Sunshine State does not require private attorneys to carry legal malpractice insurance. As for mandatory disclosure, meaning a requirement that an attorney disclose to clients whether they have legal malpractice insurance upfront, there is currently no such obligation.   

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you would like to learn more about your options concerning legal malpractice.