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Improve Your Odds in a Professional Liability Lawsuit

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Jul 28, 2016

Tips for defeding your business against a professional liability lawsuit. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, York, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Litigation is like lightening; it can never be accurately predicted. So, the best defense against both is to avoid them altogether. While it’s possible to seek shelter and stay out of harm’s way during a storm, avoiding a professional liability lawsuit can be much more complicated.

Being diligent in all areas of your business could be an asset if you face a professional liability lawsuit, even if you have professional liability insurance, but it can’t always prevent one.

If you own a small-business and you’re being threatened with a lawsuit, your best defense is preparation. Assume that a lawsuit could be coming at any time and you may be ready if it actually does.

Here are 3 key strategies to maximize your odds of successfully defending your business against a professional liability lawsuit:

#1. Document all communications with your clients

During the course of a lawsuit, your lawyer may ask you for a particular document or certain facts relating to an important incident. If you’re working from memory alone, you’re going to have trouble presenting a cohesive defense. You will have much easier access to information about your lawsuit if you have left a thorough paper trail. Depending on your type of business, that trail might include:

  • Written contracts
  • Work documents
  • Invoices and receipts
  • Confirming emails sent after meetings and phone calls
  • Changes to contracts and proposals

Just keep in mind that overly-complicated documents may hurt your case. If a mediator or jury can’t follow the information in a key document, they could easily assume that your client couldn’t either. 

 

#2. Work with your lawyer

The relationship between lawyer and client can come under considerable strain during the course of a lawsuit. A good working relationship can increase the odds of a positive outcome and reduce your anxiety considerably. You and your attorney are a team. Here are some teambuilding hints to improve your odds of winning:

  • Keep your lawyer informed by disclosing everything that might pertain to the dispute. Don’t hold back. Lawyers are trained to sift through information and determine what is useful and what is not.

  • Prepare summaries, timelines, and other materials. Be as accurate as possible. Your lawyer will base your claims and defenses on this information.

  • Respond promptly to all requests. Your lawyer may have to work under a very tight deadline. The more time you give your lawyer to digest the material you provide, the better job your lawyer can do of using that material to prepare important legal papers.

  • Keep your lawyer apprised of your schedule. You will need to be present at certain events in a lawsuit. Most of these events can be postponed or moved up to accommodate your schedule, but your lawyer must have enough advance warning that you won't be available.

Assess the professional liability lawsuit honestly

Your first instinct after being hit with a lawsuit might be to fight the claim with all available means. After the initial emotions have subsided, however, and you can approach the dispute objectively, you might discover that it makes sense to settle. An honest assessment might make you realize that that you were in error to some extent, or you may come to the conclusion that a sustained legal battle would drain your financial resources.

You should realize that most lawsuits settle, and that the court system is designed to put pressure on both parties to settle. You continually need to reassess whether defending the lawsuit makes economic sense. If you see yourself spending a large amount on legal fees, settling the lawsuit is probably a good move. Remember that your time is worth something. So is your peace of mind.

 

Protection starts with the right business insurance - call today!

Tips-to-defend-professional-liability-lawsuit.jpgTo learn more about Professional Liability Insurance, which helps you pay for the cost of lawsuits and other expenses for which you are legally responsible, and for all your Business Insurance needs contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610)775-3848.

Tags: Professional Liability Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Professional Liability Lawsuit

5 Business Insurance Questions for Every Small Business Owner

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Feb 26, 2015

Business Insurance Questions for Small Business OwnersSmart business owners know that insurance is important to protect their business and assets.  But, knowing which ones are right for your business can be a challenge.  No one wants to be caught without the right business insurance if something happens, and no one wants to pay for insurance that isn’t necessary. Here are six questions to ask to help determine what type of insurance you need to protect your business:

 

1.     Is it possible that someone could be injured or property damaged in the course of doing business with me?

If you answered yes, then you should consider Commercial Liability Insurance. Every business, even a home-based business, needs to look at liability insurance.  This type of policy provides insurance protection for bodily injury or property damage claims that you become legally responsible to pay. Standard policies include premises and operations risks that are common to the business owner or contractor. These policies also include product liability insurance and completed operations liability coverage. Medical payment insurance protection is also standard with most policies.

2.     Do I own a building or any business equipment or property – such as office equipment, inventory, or tools – to run my business?

If you answered yes, then you should consider Commercial Property Insurance. If you own a building or have business property  you should consider protecting those assets from fire, vandalism, theft, smoke damage, etc. with Commercial Property Insurance.  Expanded coverage often includes water damage, sewer back-up, business interruption insurance, and more. A tailored property insurance policy usually pays on a replacement cost basis, which means there is no depreciation in the event of a loss. 

3.     Could someone sue me based on the business that I conduct with them?

If you answered yes, then you should consider Professional Liability Insurance.  This insurance, also known Professional Indemnity Insurance, is a type of commercial insurance that provides protection for an Error and Omission Insurance exposure. This type of insurance protection typically covers negligence claims arising from an alleged act or failure to act that caused harm to another. Doctors, lawyers, and most professionals have some type of Error & Omission Insurance (Professional Liability Insurance) exposure. 

4.     Do I use any type of vehicle to run my business?

If you answered yes, then you should consider Commercial Vehicle Insurance.   This is an insurance that covers owned and non-owned vehicles that employees, contractors, and business owners use to conduct business.  The vehicle could be a truck, a van, a limo, or even a sedan, depending on what that vehicle is used for and what it is equipped with. Standard vehicle insurance coverage includes bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection (including medical and lost wages expense), and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and physical damage to your vehicle including comprehensive and collision coverage. 

5.     Do I have any employees working for me?

If you answered yes, then you should consider Worker’s Compensation. Worker’s Compensation Insurance is a type of small business insurance that is mandatory in most states and covers employees for work-related injuries. A typical "workers comp" insurance policy pays lost wages and medical expenses incurred due to a work-related accident, while also protecting the employer against accident-related lawsuits. 

 

American Insuring Group provides all types of business insurance for small business owners in Philadelphia, Reading, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown, the Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, PA and beyond. Contact us today.These five business insurance questions are a great starting point for any business owner, but you don’t need to go it alone.  The advice of a trusted and experienced independent insurance agent from American Insuring Group can help ensure that you obtain the right insurance at the right price for your business.  

Don't take a chance - contact us  at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, commercial property insurance

Professional Liability Insurance - What Every Consultant Needs

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Aug 12, 2014

Do you need professional liability insurance? Learn why general liability insurance is insufficient protection for consultants.With the current sluggish economy, more and more companies are turning to business consultants to help cut spending, maximize productivity, and develop more cost-efficient practices.  Business consulting services come in a variety of shapes – from sales and marketing consulting to technology consulting – and sizes - from working out of a home office to working in a large consulting agency. 

Subjectivity, Risk and Professional Liability Insurance

If you’re one of the estimated 400,000 consultants in the US, it doesn’t matter what your specialty is, where you work, or your level of expertise - the advice you provide usually contains an element of subjectivity, which is open to allegations of negligent acts, errors, or omissions.  In the event of a lawsuit, legal fees and damages paid – whether a consultant is at fault or not – can quickly add up, so it’s important that you protect you and your business from potentially catastrophic litigation with Professional Liability Insurance (PLI), sometimes referred to as Professional Indemnity Insurance, which is a sub-category within Commercial Insurance. 

What is Professional Liability Insurance?

PLI is a type of commercial insurance that provides protection for Error and Omission exposure, sometimes referred to as errors and omissions insurance. It protects you from negligence claims arising from an alleged act or failure to act that caused harm to another party.  This type of claim is not covered by more general liability insurance policies. 

Why Isn't General Liability Insurance Enough?

General liability insurance policies only cover bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury. Some forms of insurance cover employers, public or product liability. Professional Liability insurance covers legal claims that cause harm that isn’t covered by these other general policies, such as negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith and fair dealing, and inaccurate advice.

Professional Liability Insurance and Larger Consulting Contracts

If you decide to work with a larger corporation, PLI may be required to secure a contract. By acquiring this type of coverage in advance may be viewed as being prepared and better qualified to operate in the big leagues where the more lucrative consulting engagements are typically found.

Learn More About Professional Liability Insurance

For more information about professional liability insurance and other forms of commercial insurance, contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610)775-3848.

 

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