I need to hire a personal injury lawyer. Should I ask if the lawyer has malpractice coverage or can I assume that the lawyer has the coverage because it is required by law to have it?
Believe it or not, there is nothing in the law that requires lawyers to have malpractice insurance coverage. Any lawyer can make a mistake, and he or she should have malpractice insurance to protect a client from harmed by the mistake. Feel free to ask the lawyer you are thinking about hiring whether he or she has malpractice insurance coverage and ask them to confirm their answer in writing. If they don’t have it, hire a different lawyer.
Why would a law firm not have malpractice coverage? There are only two reasons. First, they cannot buy it. It is difficult to purchase malpractice insurance coverage if you handle class action and other specialized types of cases. Second, the lawyer is trying to save money. Malpractice insurance coverage is expensive and there are some lawyers who simply will not spend the money to protect their clients from an error.
Our firm has had malpractice insurance coverage since it was founded in 1993. We will continue to do so. In the unlikely event that we make an error that causes harm to a client (none of the lawyers in the firm have ever been sued for legal malpractice by a client) we want the client to have the benefit of the insurance coverage we purchased to protect them.