Legal Malpractice Issue

Date: June 30, 2010
Posted In: DLP Law

Sandy was seriously hurt in a motor vehicle accident which was not her fault. Sandy went to an attorney recommended to her by one of her friends. The attorney promised to represent her and attempt to settle her case and, if necessary, file suit. As months passed by Sandy became very frustrated as the attorney neither returned her calls or kept telling her that he was keeping track of things and was attempting to settle her case. Finally, Sandy had enough with the delay and found out that the attorney that she had gone to had never filed a suit within the two years in which she was allowed, under the law, to bring the suit. Sandy was furious and decided she was going to sue her lawyer.

ISSUE: Sandy quickly found out that her lawyer had no legal malpractice insurance and she wondered if a lawyer can practice without legal malpractice insurance.

ANSWER: Yes. Legal malpractice insurance is not required in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, a lawyer that does not carry professional liability insurance, is required to inform all new clients, in writing, that he or she does not have professional liability insurance or at least $100,000.00 per occurrence or $300,000.00 total. This is required under the rules of professional conduct. It has also been in effect for about three years.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.