What is legal malpractice?
In order to understand why attorneys would carry legal malpractice insurance in Texas, you should first have an understanding of what exactly legal malpractice is.
Legal malpractice is defined as an attorney “acting, or failing to act” in a manner that a reasonable and prudent attorney would act under the same or similar circumstances; AND that action or inaction causes damages to their client.
There are a number of ways in which an attorney can commit legal malpractice, often without malicious intent or knowledge. To know for sure if your lawyer has committed legal malpractice, you need to contact an experienced legal malpractice attorney, Ross Sears II from Sears Crawford.
Continue reading: How to avoid legal malpractice claims
What is the purpose of legal malpractice insurance?
While there are many reasons why attorneys should carry malpractice insurance, malpractice insurance for lawyers does not just protect the lawyers, it also protects their clients in the event that they commit legal malpractice.
If the malpractice claims are found to be warranted, the insurance company will often pay the client themselves. The payout is generally the dollar amount of how much the insurance company and your legal malpractice attorney value the case, which typically includes all damages that you fought for in the original case, among other things.
If the attorney does not have E&O coverage, then you will be stuck trying to collect from the attorney themselves, instead of an insurance company. If the lawyer cannot pay for insurance, then they most likely won’t pay any judgment you may recover against them. This is just one of the reasons why you should never hire an attorney that does not carry malpractice insurance.
Are lawyers required to have malpractice insurance in Texas?
No, and therein lies the danger. Attorneys are not required to carry legal malpractice insurance in Texas. In the same way that you would not want to get into an auto accident with an uninsured driver, you do not want to run into a problem with an uninsured lawyer. Attorneys in many other states are required to carry legal malpractice insurance in order to practice law in their state. In Texas, lawyers have no obligation to protect their clients against possible malpractice by carrying malpractice insurance.
Furthermore, lawyers in Texas are not even required to disclose whether or not they have legal malpractice insurance to their clients. If you ask your attorney if they carry malpractice insurance for lawyers, and they decline to tell you, it is likely because they do not carry it. We recommend that you ask your attorney before you sign a contract if they carry insurance for malpractice.
If you have already hired a lawyer that did not carry professional liability insurance, and it went poorly, you may want to take legal action. At Sears Crawford, we sue lawyers who have previously wronged their clients, and since you may need some peace of mind: we do carry legal malpractice insurance.
Does your attorney have malpractice insurance for lawyers? If not, contact Sears Crawford to review your legal options.
At the beginning of your relationship, ask your attorney if they carry malpractice insurance for lawyers. If they do not, it is our strong recommendation that you do not hire that attorney. Simply because Texas allows attorneys without E&O coverage to practice law in the state, does not mean that you have to work with them. Make the smart decision and hire someone that wants to protect your interests, and who puts you first.
At Sears Crawford, we carry legal malpractice insurance to protect the interests of our clients, because it is the responsible thing to do. Ross Sears II has been suing lawyers in Texas for decades and takes his clients’ interests as seriously as he does the sanctity of his profession. If you have been harmed by your previous lawyer’s representation and need a lawyer that you can trust, call Ross Sears at (713) 223-3333 or contact us online for a free consultation.