Attorney Fees are almost universally excluded in the attorney malpractice policy damages definition. 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 Travelers policy the definition of damages may include punitive damages:
E. Damages means money which an Insured is legally obligated to pay as settlements, judgments and compensatory damages; punitive or exemplary damages if insurable under the applicable law most favorable to the insurability of punitive or exemplary damages; or prejudgment and post judgment interest.
Damages does not include the following:
1. Civil or criminal fines; sanctions; liquidated damages; payroll or other taxes; penalties; the multiplied portion of any multiplied damage award; equitable or injunctive relief; any return, withdrawal, restitution or reduction of professional fees, profits or other charges; or damages or types of relief deemed uninsurable under applicable law.
2. Defense Expenses.
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, CPIA
California License # 0D87292
L Squared Insurance Agency, LLC ® DBA in California as
L2 L Squared Insurance Agency, License # 0L93416
Managing Director, CEO