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Do I Need Legal Malpractice Insurance for my Pennsylvania or Ohio Firm?

Malpractice allegations are a risk faced every day by attorneys. The number of claims against attorneys has been on the rise for the past 20 years. Due to this litigious economy, there is no reason for this trend not to continue. A malpractice claim can be quite detrimental to a firm, with the cost of the average claim in Pennsylvania at $60,000. Purchasing attorneys malpractice insurance is a great way to mitigate that risk. It should cover you in the event of a claim, saving you time, money and the headache.

Common Causes of Claims

There are many types of claims filed every year against attorneys. However, the most common ones are fairly straightforward. The following list contains the top claim types in PA:

  • - Procrastination in Performance/Follow-up
  • - Failure to Know/Properly Apply Law
  • - Inadequate Discovery/Investigation
  • - Planning Error – Procedure Choice
  • - Lost File, Document Evidence
  • - Failure to File
  • - Failure to Calendar
  • - Conflict of Interest
  • - Failure to Counsel Client

Who is Most at Risk?

Some areas of practice are more likely to give rise to claims than others. According to a 2013 ABA study, the Top 5 total number of claims filed by area of practice is as follows:

  • 1. Real Estate – 10,772 (20.33% of all claims filed)
  • 2. Personal Injury (Plaintiff) – 8260 (15.59% of all claims filed)
  • 3. Family Law – 6432 (12.14% of all claims filed)
  • 4. Estate/Trust/Probate – 5652 (10.67% of all claims filed)
  • 5. Collection/Bankruptcy – 4876 (9.20% of all claims filed)

Additionally, in terms of practice size, Sole Practitioners comprise the largest risk group w/ 18,706 claims filed, or 33.93% of all claimants. 2-5 Attorney firms are second with 17,693 claims filed, or 32.09% of all claimants. Therefore, firms with 1 to 5 attorneys account for 66.02% of all claims. As the average practice size in PA is 2.2 attorneys, the average PA firm falls into this category.

What is included in an Attorney Malpractice Insurance Policy?

All policies are different, so when looking into it, it’s important to ask your broker about the coverage. At INF, we have policy forms that offer the following options:

  • - Defense costs outside the limits
  • - No hammer clause
  • - First dollar defense
  • - Risk management hotlines
  • - Deductible abatement
  • - Supplementary payments that cover loss of earnings
  • - Defense of disciplinary proceedings
  • - Worldwide coverage
  • - Knowledgeable defense panels
  • - Unlimited extended reporting upon retirement
  • - Broad definition of legal services
  • - Broad definition of insured
  • - Free CLE webinars

If I change my coverage, will I lose my prior acts or past acts coverage?

No, you should not lose your prior acts coverage. INF will verify your prior acts coverage in both the coverage proposal and the policy. It is extremely important that you choose an agent that is familiar with claims made policy forms and how coverage is provided for past acts. Terms like “full prior acts coverage” refer to providing coverage for your past acts with no specific date limitations.

Is it prudent for you and the firm not to consider changing carriers because of the nature of claims made policies and prior acts coverage? Absolutely not; On the contrary, you should review your policy, your carrier, and your agent annually. It is NOT a good idea to change your coverage each year based solely on price. It is a good idea to confirm annually that your expiring coverage, carrier and agent are still the best choice for you and your firm.

Working with INtegrity First Corporation

In these tight economic times, it is very important to be certain you have the right coverage at the right price. Obtaining a great price at the expense of the proper coverage is not a prudent business decision. However, overpaying for the right coverage is not prudent either. Finding that happy middle ground where the coverage and the premium is appropriate is now more important than ever. This is the time when working with INtegrity First Corporation, a broker who is committed to protecting you, your employees, and your firm, pays off. We help you find the coverage and premium that work best for you and your firm.

You should contact INtegrity First Corporation for your Attorney Malpractice Insurance quote today!

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