Sound legal advice is imperative if you have been rejected for a claim against your professional indemnity insurance, writes Commercial Litigation Associate, Georgia Taylor.
Professionals such as insurance brokers, accountants, financial advisers, building consultants, real estate agents and architects owe their clients a duty to act with reasonable care and skill. If you, as a professional, fail to do so, your client has the legal right to claim compensation for financial loss suffered as a result. To be faced with such a claim is personally and professionally taxing, even if the claim is without merit. Don’t wait until it’s too late – get sound legal advice on your professional indemnity insurance at the outset, and if you have been rejected for a professional negligence claim you need a lawyer’s help every step of the way.
Starting point – your professional indemnity insurance
Rejected for a professional negligence claim? The main source of financial protection you call upon is your professional indemnity insurance policy. Your indemnity insurance policy should be brokered by an expert in the field of your profession and you should take a close look at what you are covered for. Be mindful that while most professionals have compulsory certifications that encapsulate a pro-forma indemnity policy, this is not guaranteed (or likely) to cover other members of your practice or non-professional employees.
What to do when you have received a professional negligence claim
If you have notification of a professional indemnity claim take the following steps:
- Immediately seek legal advice as to your notification requirements under your insurance policy
It is important to seek legal advice about the notification requirements under your policy. This may be an email to alert your insurer of a possible claim. In other cases, a full claim form must be lodged at the same time. Your practice should also be briefed on the workings of your insurance policy around the same time. A lawyer can help you to understand the terms of your policy and your obligations under them, to ensure you notify your insurer correctly and your team is properly briefed.
- In line with the legal advice you receive, act fast on making your insurance claim
The next stage is dealing with an insurance company. Prior to submitting your claim to your insurer, you should seek legal advice to properly draft and analyze your claim’s information to reduce the chance of an insurer knocking your claim back on the first try. An insurer does not want to pay out money, so don’t give them a reason to think you don’t know what you’re doing. If a lawyer provides you with sound advice on the merits of your claim and helps you to prepare and lodge your claims form you can be confident of an optimal result without a premature denial of the claim.
What to do if you have been rejected for a professional negligence claim
If you have lodged a claim without legal help, seek legal advice from a solicitor with experience in insurance litigation and negligence litigation on how to appeal the rejection. Attwood Marshall Lawyers Commercial Litigation team can handle your insurance claim while defending your professional negligence claim. Having one firm handling these affairs is vital as to not affect or prejudice either matter.
When appealing a rejection for cover, a lawyer is able to help you to understand your policy. Insurance policies position themselves to be read in layman’s terms however it’s the fine print, that a lawyer can decipher, that is usually the most useful to a policy-holder. Lawyers will assess things such as ‘exclusion clauses’ in your policy (which offer an easy escape route for an insurer to reject your claim) and likewise, an additional claim avenue can be missed when it’s time to lodge a claim only due to lack of knowledge about the policy and the claimable event.
Prevent problems before a claim – check your policy
An insurance policy chosen by a broker may not necessarily be the best fit for you and your profession, especially if you market in a niche area. As a professional you should carefully review the terms of your policy and seek legal advice as to the effects it may have on you and if it is really the right policy to fit you and your business. In seeking legal advice prior to entering into an insurance policy, you negate the possibility of paying for a policy that is simply not a fit for your purpose. A solicitor is able to read over your policy and provide sound advice on its effects, coverage and exclusions and provide you with the advice on necessary amendments to the policy and tell you if the policy is just not right for you at all. Attwood Marshall Lawyers Property & Commercial Department provides legal advice in this area.
How Attwood Marshall Lawyers can help
If you have been rejected for a professional negligence claim, please contact our Commercial Litigation Department Manager, Amanda Heather on direct line 07 5506 8245, email firstname.lastname@example.org or free call 1800 621 071. We have an experienced dedicated Commercial Litigation team that practice exclusively in these areas.