Early Reporting of Claims and Potential Claims

Many of our risk management video tips are surrounding the need for early reporting of claims and potential claims. A very important risk management tip. In this same vein, I want to talk about the angry client. 

Many insureds have had this situation where a client unexpectedly shows up at the office, or calls you on the phone to express their displeasure about something you did or something that has happened. 

Perhaps their case is taking too long. They haven’t heard from you in a few weeks, their phone call wasn’t returned, or they’re just not feeling the love from your office. Don’t just shrug this off as that’s just Joe being Joe, or they just want to blow off steam, or you convince yourself that nothing you did was wrong or incorrect and it’ll blow over. 

Unfortunately, many insureds take this approach and find themselves embroiled in a legal malpractice suit down the road. As with any claim or potential claim, report the issue, let the carrier know about it and let them decide if it meets the definition of a claim or potential claim. And if you don’t report it, at least call the malpractice hotline that may be available to you from your carrier. Most insurance carriers do provide a hotline for this type of situation and you would be well advised to use it.┬áIt is part of the benefits program of being an insured.

Don’t be the cautionary tale of an unhappy client.

Legal Malpractice Avoidance Tips – Don’t Go Into Business With Your Client

Conflicts of interest have always been a concern to underwriters of legal malpractice insurance. Conflicts come in different shapes and sizes and can oftentimes be difficult to identify. Most attorneys won’t represent both parties in an auto accident or the husband and wife in a divorce matter, but sometimes are quick to jump into a business venture with a client. I don’t know why, but it seems to me that recently, attorneys are more willing to overlook or downplay the serious nature of getting into business with a client. 

Whether you want to invest in the client’s business or take an active role in operating the clients business, both are fraught with legal malpractice dangers. Usually, in the end, it’s just not worth the risk or the friendship to be in business with a client. Now, I can’t tell you not to go into business with a client, but I can tell you that if you do decide to do it, make sure you are well aware of the dangers of doing so and review and dissect all of the pros and cons. 

Review the insurance policy; how does this affect the insurance coverage? Talk to your insurance broker and other professionals such as your accountant and business consultant and call the legal malpractice hotline of your insurance company. You can discuss the situation with a legal malpractice attorney. This benefit is usually included in the policy for insureds of most insurance companies. Find out all the insurance information good and bad before jumping into business with a client.