Lawyers must report more than simply ‘claims.’ The notice provision of a policy requires that lawyers disclose to the malpractice carrier not only claims but potential claims. A potential claims is any fact or circumstance of which the lawyer is aware that may give rise to a claim. Also, the application each year will require that any potential claims be reported.
Could these situations be considered potential claims?
- Client demands you waive or refund their fees
- Written request to toll or waive a statute relating to a potential civil or administrative proceeding
- Client alleges malpractice or threatens to sue verbally or in writing
- Client requesting their file
- Client initiates a bar complaint (often there is deductible-free defense and loss of earning coverage for lawyers included in the policy) more on this in a later communication.
- Client reports a firm to the fee dispute panel of the bar
- If an attorney is considering explaining an error or omission to the client, state bar there is likely a duty to report it to the carrier as well.
Legal Malpractice insurance carriers often provide confidential hotlines for free consultation regarding potential claims. The ABA also has a potential claims hotline for its members. We suggest contacting the carrier or a hotline with anything that may give rise to a claim.