As an attorney, your primary focus is your clients and their needs. Yet, with the realities of today’s world, most legal professionals will find themselves responding to an allegation of malpractice at some point in their careers. These claims, with and without merit, require investigation and defense.
OAMIC knows that merely thinking about a legal malpractice claim, much less being on the receiving end of one, can be an unnerving experience. Because of this, we’ve made the process of claims reporting as easy and painless as possible.
Common Claims Questions
How does a claims-made policy work?
In order for an incident to be covered under a claims-made policy, two things must be true: You need to have insurance when the claim is made and your prior acts date contained in your policy must be on or before the date the incident occurred. The insurance policy in effect when the claim is made is the one that actually responds to the claim, hence the name claims-made. Because there are two factors involved in determining if a claim is covered, continuity of insurance is very important for claims-made policies. For a full explanation, see our article “Understanding Your Claims-Made Insurance Policy.”
How do I report a claim or incident to OAMIC and what is the process?
The easiest way to initiate the claims reporting process is to visit our portal. You may also call us 405-471-5380.
You will be asked to complete a form and provide a written narrative that summarizes the nature of your representation and the circumstances of the allegations or incident. You may also be asked to meet with us or to provide a complete copy of the case file.
When a report is made to OAMIC, it is immediately reviewed to determine if the error can be corrected or the damage mitigated in any way.
An experienced team of professionals, including our in-house claims staff and outside counsel, work side-by-side with our insured attorneys. Many claims and incidents never become lawsuits. If they do, we will work closely with you and the defense attorney we choose to represent you. Your defense attorney and our claims staff are available to answer questions whenever you need them.
What is the difference between a claim and an incident?
A claim is a demand upon you for money damages relating to alleged damages as a result of your legal services. This would include, but is not limited to, the receipt of a summons and petition.
An incident is any circumstance, act, error or omission that could be expected to be the basis of – or lead to – a claim or suit covered by your insurance policy. This includes any notice, advice and/or threat, written or verbal, that an entity intends to hold you responsible for an alleged error or omission.
When do I report a claim or incident?
Your OAMIC policy requires you to report any act or omission that might reasonably lead to a claim against you. OAMIC policyholders must report both actual and potential claims, whether they are meritorious or groundless. This may include missed deadlines, default judgement entered against your client, threatening or complaining letter from client, or filed bar grievance.
You should report a claim or an incident to OAMIC as early as possible because not only can late reporting jeopardize coverage, but incidents that are reported early can frequently be repaired.
Should I report something that I don’t think is covered?
Yes. It is best to let the OAMIC Claims Department determine coverage. However, if you fail to report a claim in a timely manner, coverage could be jeopardized.
Should I report a claim I think is within my deductible?
Yes. Often, the full amount of the claim is not readily ascertainable and late reporting could jeopardize coverage for the claim.
What does the deductible apply to?
The deductible applies to payments made to a claimant, as well as legal fees and expenses incurred in defending a claim. You may refer to your policy language or contact OAMIC with any questions.
Should I advise my client about a mistake I discover?
Yes. You should contact OAMIC immediately and – if possible – prior to discussing the situation with the client.
Should I advise my client to retain new counsel or can I continue to represent my client after I discover I have made an error?
Every situation is unique. It’s best to contact OAMIC for clarification regarding potential conflicts of interest.