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What is Lawyers' Malpractice Insurance?

By Keith Koons
Updated May 17, 2024
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Lawyers' malpractice insurance is a policy that monetarily protects attorneys when they give unsound legal advice. While each policy is somewhat unique, generally this policy covers any expenses incurred by a lawyer when he does an injustice to a paid client. It could also apply if the legal representative is proven grossly incompetent during a trial. This type of coverage is usually sought by any type of legal firm that represents clients, and the cost of lawyers' malpractice insurance varies by profession.

Under normal circumstances, lawyers' malpractice insurance is applied for when any type of legal firm begins operating as a business. There are many circumstances where the professional could make an honest mistake and advise a client to do something that may not be in his best interests. This type of policy would protect that attorney if the client ends up suffering monetary damages because of it. Since regional laws are so complex and often open to interpretation, both the lawyer and the client may feel that the law on their respective sides. Lawyers' malpractice insurance insures that if such an issue were ever raised, the attorney would not have to pay for representation out of his own pocket.

Another aspect of lawyers' malpractice insurance is paying for actual damages. If the issue was to go before a judge and a verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff, the policy would pay for any incurred payouts up to the defined maximum. Many of these types of cases can end up returning substantial amounts when the attorney is found negligent. Law firms often carry lawyers' malpractice insurance policies with high liability coverage. When verdicts call for excess of what the insurance policy would pay, the legal firm is responsible for settling the difference.

A typical case where lawyers' malpractice insurance would be necessary could be found in almost any aspect of the law. For example, if a criminal attorney failed to introduce evidence in his possession that would prove his client's innocence, the suspect would have a legal right to file a civil suit. The same type of situation could take place within corporate law when a lawyer accidentally left out a simple clause inside a contract. Simple mistakes could unintentionally cause the client to suffer a monetary loss, and malpractice insurance is there to protect the lawyer.

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