Who pays if you win a legal malpractice case?

If you are fighting a legal malpractice case, then one of the things you'll want to know is who is responsible for paying you if you win the court case. It's not always straightforward, and there could be different people responsible depending on the circumstances.

Before you move forward with your malpractice case, make sure you have the support of an attorney you trust and the right evidence. Many of the costs associated with a malpractice case come down to the time your attorney spends fighting for you, so having plenty of support for your claim will help.

Possible scenarios

1. Law firm

The first example is an associate attorney at a law firm. In this case, the attorney likely has malpractice insurance through the firm. They might even be guided or supported by a senior attorney at the firm. It could be the attorney's employer who ends up paying out if you sue. The employer, either directly or through malpractice insurance, would likely pay you what the court orders or in accordance with a settlement agreement.

2. Attorney with insurance

All attorneys should have malpractice insurance, just like doctors need to protect themselves with malpractice insurance. If the attorney has malpractice insurance and you win the case, the insurance company will pay out. There may be limits, so if your compensation needs are higher, the attorney might have to pay you out directly. A judge will use their discrepancy to decide, or your attorney and the attorney you are suing will come up with a fair settlement option.

3. Attorney with no insurance

It's a bad idea for any professional to work without insurance, because going without insurance could mean risking being sued with nothing to protect them. If you file a lawsuit and the attorney has no insurance, be wary. You need to make sure that they have enough money to pay you if you do win the case. If not, you could end up with a bill for an expensive legal battle that you'll never see any compensation from.

There are a few places that you can obtain compensation from if you're a victim of legal malpractice. It's best to guarantee that the attorney has insurance or is covered by an employer's insurance before you sue, because suing with no guaranteed payment source is a risk you may not want to take.

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