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West Virginia (WV) Legal Malpractice Information Center

Are WV Attorneys Required to Have Malpractice Insurance?

By Jeffery L. Robinette, PLLC posted in Legal Malpractice, Choosing an Attorney, WV Legal Malpractice Claims, Legal Malpractice Insurance on Friday,November 4, 2016

The short answer is no, not all attorneys in West Virginia are required to carry liability insurance.  Even well-qualified, experienced attorneys can make an error or one of their staff members can forget a deadline or make a mistake.

For your own protection, it is essential that you look for "PLLC" indicating that the law firm you hire is a Professional Limited Liability Company.  To qualify as a PLLC under WV state law, that law firm must carry at least one million dollars in liability protection for legal malpractice.  

While there is no requirement by the State Bar for West Virginia lawyers to have professional liability insurance, there is a requirement to disclose whether or not you have insurance. 

Excellent lawyers rarely make mistakes, but if they do, their clients deserve to be protected.  Unfortunately, some attorneys are less than excellent and are too eager to attract work which they may not be qualified or equipped to handle.  They may know the law, but are not adept in running their own law office at the same time.  Such an attorney might forget to file important legal papers in a timely manner, and ultimately, some injury claims are dismissed because of lawyer malpractice.

Ask the lawyer you are considering if he has legal malpractice insurance.  If an attorney does not carry this liability insurance, if he or she would make a legal mistake on your case and it is dismissed or significantly diminished in value, there would be no insurance compensation in the form of a settlement for such legal negligence.  You then would be forced to file a lawsuit against that lawyer for his personal assets.  That attorney may or may not have assets or financial resources to compensate you for the error and pay your claim.