If you receive a subpoena for information or to testify take a deep breath and then notify your malpractice insurer. Even though this is a benefit in many policies it is a 2-edge sword. Responding to the subpoena without notifying your insurer could down the road lead to a malpractice claim’s denial for prior knowledge. Remember prior knowledge is one of the leading reasons for denial of a malpractice claim.
Many attorney malpractice Insurance policies offer subpoena assistance coverage even when it is not related a malpractice claim or potential claim. When you receive a subpoena either to testify in a matter and/or compel you to produce documents ask your insurer how you should proceed with complying with the request. Most policies state that the insurer will appoint an attorney to provide you legal representation and advice. Take them up on this policy coverage.
Although a subpoena may not result in a malpractice claim, it might. Putting the insurer on notice helps protect your rights in case the subpoena progresses into a malpractice claim against you. With many malpractice policies the notice of a subpoena serves as notice of a potential claim.
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Lee Norcross, MBA, CPCU
Managing Director, CEO
(616) 940-1101 Ext. 7080