Attorney Fees are almost universally excluded from the definition of damages in attorney malpractice policies. Punitive damages may or may not be excluded from malpractice coverage, but your state may not permit.
Your insurer may pay defense costs and the award for damages in a covered malpractice claim. Fees and sanction awards are another matter. Fees or sanction awards often exceed the value of the underlying claim. Awarded punitive damages could dwarf the underlying case.
The time to check for coverage is not after the punitive damage award. So how can you determine whether a particular malpractice insurance policy covers punitive damages? Punitive damage awards are normally awarded for egregious acts some malpractice policies provide coverage other policies exclude the coverage. In the ProAssurance (MedMarc) policy the definition of damages excludes punitive damages:
SECTION 1. DEFINITIONS
Damages means monetary judgments, awards, or settlements, but does not include (a) the return or restitution of legal fees, costs, and expenses charged by the Insured and interest thereon; (b) any funds belonging to or owed to any Insured’s client, trust account funds, or funds of any other person held by any Insured in any capacity, that are allegedly misappropriated, whether by an Insured or any other person, and whether intentionally or not, or interest thereon; or (c) fines, sanctions, penalties, punitive damages, exemplary damages, or any award resulting from the multiplication of compensatory damages, imposed against any Insured, any client of an Insured, or any other person or entity.
Click here for Punitive/Compensatory Damages Allowed by State
CLICK HERE TO OBTAIN AN ATTORNEY MALPRACTICE QUOTE
This blog is an excerpt from the policy. The complete policy along with applicable endorsements could impact the information provided above.
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Lee Norcross, MBA, CPCU
California License # 0D87292
L Squared Insurance Agency, LLC ® DBA in California as
L2 L Squared Insurance Agency, License # 0L93416
Managing Director, CEO
(616) 940-1101 Ext. 7080