Do Not Hire A Lawyer Who Does Not Carry Legal Malpractice Insurance
When you hire a lawyer, one of the first things you should ask that lawyer is “do you carry legal malpractice insurance?” If the answer is “no,” walk away from their office. DO NOT EVER hire a lawyer that doesn’t carry malpractice insurance.
An attorney commits legal malpractice, either intentionally or unknowingly, when they “act or fail to act” in a manner that a reasonable and prudent attorney would (or would not) act under the same or similar circumstances, and that action or inaction causes damages to their client. When this happens, legal malpractice insurance exists to protect the lawyer, but more importantly, to protect their clients too.
Sears Crawford is a well-respected law firm in Houston that is known for suing lawyers. We always carry legal malpractice insurance and encourage clients to only hire attorneys who do the same. Here’s why.
Why is it important to carry malpractice insurance?
You wouldn’t want to get in a car wreck with an uninsured person, and you wouldn’t hire a doctor that wasn’t protected by insurance. So, why would you excuse a lawyer for not having malpractice insurance?
Although there are practice areas that are more at-risk than others, all lawyers, regardless of their risk level, should carry legal malpractice insurance — for the sake of their clients and the integrity of the profession.
Legal malpractice insurance, professional liability insurance, and errors and omissions insurance (E&O) are all forms of similar coverage that cover any payouts owed to the client if their malpractice case is found to be warranted. Think of legal malpractice insurance as a financial safety net, there to protect you if you need it.
Without insurance, the lawyer is responsible for paying you out of their own pocket. If they can’t afford malpractice insurance, how do you expect them to pay you what you recover against them?
Continue Reading: What is legal malpractice?
Do lawyers have to have malpractice insurance?
We are often asked if lawyers are required to carry malpractice insurance. Ideally, the answer would be yes, but unfortunately, in Texas, the answer is NO.
Many lawyers do not carry malpractice insurance. Although we wish it were otherwise, legal malpractice insurance in Texas is not a requirement for practicing lawyers, making it even more important that you inquire about it before you sign any contracts to work with them.
As a general rule (but not always) lawyer who are with a law firm, with 2 or more names on the letterhead/website, are more likely to carry malpractice insurance. Lawyers who are “solo” or only have their own name on the letterhead/website, are far less likely to carry malpractice insurance. However, it is safer to always ask the question “do you carry malpractice insurance?” It’s that simple.
How to find out if an attorney has malpractice insurance
When hiring a legal malpractice attorney in Texas, or frankly, when hiring any attorney in Texas, your first question should be whether or not they carry legal malpractice insurance. If they don’t, there is no reason to continue asking any questions because you cannot/should not hire them. Period! It’s that important. Do not do it.
Lawyers in Texas are not required by law to disclose whether or not they carry malpractice insurance, and therefore, finding out whether an attorney has malpractice insurance can be challenging.
To put it bluntly, any lawyer carrying malpractice insurance is doing so because they want to protect themselves, and more importantly, their client’s interests. They should be proud to tell you that. If a lawyer isn’t willing to disclose whether or not they carry malpractice insurance, take it as a sign that they don’t carry malpractice insurance for lawyers, and walk away.
If you have already hired a lawyer, and are just now finding out that they don’t carry malpractice insurance, it’d be in your best interest to learn how to fire a lawyer in Texas and hire one who puts your best interests before their own.
Looking for a lawyer with legal malpractice insurance in Texas? Call Sears Crawford.
Whether they say it’s because of high costs, fear it will make them a target to be sued, belief that they’re too careful to need it, or low-risk practice area, there is never an excuse good enough to not carry legal malpractice insurance — no matter how the lawyer spins it. And you should never work with a lawyer who doesn’t care enough about their clients to carry insurance to protect them.
At Sears Crawford, we always carry legal malpractice insurance to protect our clients. As a firm, we believe it is our fiduciary duty to protect you as our client by ALWAYS putting your interests ahead of our own. If you need someone in your corner, we sue lawyers.
If you have been harmed by your previous lawyer’s representation and need a legal malpractice attorney in Houston that you can trust, call Ross Sears II at (713) 223-3333 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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