At any time and in any given situation, a dissatisfied individual can choose to bring a complaint against you. When people sue, they usually name everyone they perceive as having had anything to do with the situation—you, your business, those with whom you share office space. Routinely, claimants sue as many individuals as possible.
Regardless of who is negligent, it can take years for litigation to be dismissed. While you may be exonerated from liability, your attorney’s fees can be staggering. Professional liability insurance helps relieve you from the financial burden of defending yourself in a malpractice lawsuit.
If you’re providing a professional service or rendering a professional opinion, this coverage is highly recommended. In fact, many professions require you to have professional liability insurance before allowing you to practice.
Of the suits that could be brought against you, the two most common are for negligence in the performance of services and breach of contract. Negligence suits, which occur more frequently, arise from damages sustained due to failure to perform according to known standards of conduct in a specific field. The financial consequences of such suits, including the costs to defend them, can be severe. As a result, it is critical that professionals recognize their exposures to financial losses, and adopt effective means to deal with them.
Even if we were to assume that you or your business would never make an error or omission, you simply cannot ignore the fact that anyone can allege virtually anything—and drag you into court. The issue may not even have anything to do with you. If you were even remotely involved in the disputed work, you are likely to face a legal suit. Even if it turns out that you have done nothing wrong, you could still be faced with thousands of dollars in defense costs.
Additionally, it’s important to note that having professional liability insurance does not make you more likely to be sued. It simply makes you more prepared if a lawsuit is brought against you. Whether you’re employed or self-employed, work full-time or part-time, or are a student practicing in a supervised setting, having a professional liability policy will give you peace of mind and the protection you need.