Having malpractice insurance makes certain that you are covered for whatever happens in your profession, and for your personal protection, although not all states require it. Practicing law is a business that carries a high risk, and just one disgruntled client can disrupt your business and your life even if you have not done anything wrong. Statistics predict that each and every attorney will have to defend one malpractice suit, at least, during her or his career. It will cost your time and high legal fees to establish your innocence regardless of whether you are validated. For that reason, it just makes good sense to fully protect yourself in every way both for your career and your personal life.
Even though certain specialities in law such as financial securities and real estate carry a high liability risk, the field in which you practice is not really relevant in whether or not you will ever face a lawsuit. Since lawsuits against attorneys are increasing, it has become more prudent in recent years to carry larger amounts of insurance regardless of the legal malpractice insurance cost. Even if the person’s claim is found to be without merit, you may need a minimum of $300,000 for your legal fees in your defense. If you should lose the case, the costs could very well be significantly higher than that amount.
In order to keep your overall costs low and get the maximum protection for your personal efforts in taking out legal malpractice insurance, there are precautions you can use. Every document in your professional files in your office must be treated as though they will be scrutinized one day in a court of law. In every state, under Rules of Discovery, complete access is permitted to each and every document in your files. You can make giant strides toward protecting yourself if you behave at all times as if you know a legal malpractice attorney is looking over your shoulder. Everything should be kept, including printing out and keeping emails in your client’s files. Keep in mind that, just as in Miranda, anything can be used against you that you say, at some future time, and keep careful documentation of your work for every moment on each case. Even your personal notes about your clients should be professionally and carefully chosen and worded. Preventative actions such as this can lower your legal malpractice insurance cost, by doing as your insurance carrier advises.
Be careful with your dates and calendar, since statistics show that 20 percent of all malpractice lawsuits involved missed deadlines. Every meeting, every event and every deadline should be recorded in writing whether you put it in your palm pilot, your DayTimer, or write it on your napkin at lunch. Do not throw any notes away, thinking you will never need them again. Do your best to be courteous, friendly and conscientious in order to keep your clientele happy, because unhappy clients are often the beginning of a malpractice compaint. Be professional enough to answer correspondence and emails, and promptly return phone calls. A client who feels ignored is more likely to file a lawsuit in order to “get your attention.”
If you do not feel right about taking a potential client, and your intuition is telling you to be cautious, it would be better not to accept them as a client. Sometimes our best friend is the feeling we have that is trying to warn us away. You do not have to accept every client who asks for your help. Talk with a malpractice attorney and get his or her recommendations on what kind of strategies to use in order to guard your professional legal practice. Your insurance agency should have suggestions on ways that you can lower your legal malpractice insurance cost for your business. Certain checks and balances to protect yourself are simple to implement and can save a lot of trouble in the future. If you are wise about protecting your law practice you will have a lucrative and long running career.