In the course of my law practice, I am occasionally hired to take over a case where the client has fired their previous lawyer and hired my firm. In a recent case, I discovered that the previous lawyer had failed to sue the correct corporation that was responsible for the client’s injury. Unfortunately, when I was hired, the Statute of Limitations had already expired and there was nothing that could be done to correct the first lawyer’s mistake.
Equally unfortunately, when I contacted the previous lawyer to discuss this issue, he informed me that he didn’t have any malpractice insurance that could be used to pay for his mistake. He also told me that his firm was deeply in debt and that he didn’t have any money to pay to his former client, but that if I wished I could contact a bankruptcy attorney that he had recently hired!
Although many people never think about this issue, Indiana law does not require attorneys to have malpractice insurance. Thus, if your lawyer does make a mistake on your case, they may have no way to pay for their error.
So what is one to do? The easiest solution is to ask your lawyer if they have malpractice insurance and to ask to see a copy of the declaration page of their insurance policy. While this may make some lawyers uncomfortable, it really should not. An experienced personal injury lawyer should rarely make a mistake on any case, but if they do, they should be more concerned with compensating their former client, rather than with avoiding responsibility for their error.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, give me a call to discuss your legal rights. The consultation is free, and there is no fee until I make a successful recovery. And yes, I will have no problem in showing you a copy of my insurance policy!