At Blue Lion Insurance Advisors, LLC, we find that many of our New Jersey business clients want to know if there is anything they can do to lower their risk of being sued for professional negligence. Being well-trained in risk management and experienced in insurance matters, we have insights to add to such discussions. Contact us at (732) 649-1600 or online for a free assessment of your insurance needs and best options.
We find that increased awareness of the possibility of human error and taking proactive steps to deal with it can lower your risk of being accused of professional negligence or malpractice. Nonetheless, we advise our professional clients to purchase Error and Omissions (E&O) Insurance (Professional Liability insurance), since no matter what measures your company takes to prevent claims of professional negligence, you can never eliminate the risk.
Lawsuits claiming professional negligence can be extremely costly and destabilize the financial underpinning of even large corporations. So it is critical for your company or practice to have comprehensive coverage for employee mistakes that may damage your clients.
All Types of Businesses Can Be Sued for Professional Negligence
Enterprises that provide personal services or care are frequently the targets of professional negligence claims. These businesses include:
- Financial advisors
- Healthcare providers
- Home inspection services
- Real estate brokers
- Residential and commercial builders
- Technological services
Types of Mistakes that May Lead to Professional Negligence Lawsuits
Depending on your particular profession, you may be negligent if you:
- Missed a significant deadline
- Failed to notice a miscalculation
- Failed to inform your client or patient of possible risks
- Undervalued a home or property
- Neglected to file appropriate documents
- Made a surgical mistake
- Caused a client or patient physical injury
- Created a defective design that made a structure unsafe
- Outsourced work to an unreliable individual or team
Such mistakes are more common than many realize and leave professionals vulnerable to expensive litigation with high settlements, attorney fees, and court costs. Even with Errors & Omissions Insurance, your company can suffer reputational damage that may threaten your bottom line. That’s why it’s essential to be proactive.
Methods to Keep Mistakes from Precipitating Professional Negligence Lawsuits
The possible remedies are not as complicated as you might suppose. They bear a strong resemblance to the actions that keep relationships intact after missteps. Communication is key.
We all make mistakes, but a great deal depends on how we establish a trusting relationship before they occur and how we handle the situation afterward.
In other words, to avoid professional negligence lawsuits, treat the other person the way you would want to be treated in similar circumstances by:
- Checking in regularly
Not all individuals with questions or concerns will approach you; this varies according to personalities and cultural norms. Therefore, it is essential that you keep the lines of communication open and periodically check in to make sure that a problem isn’t brewing.
- Obtaining customer approval for each phase of a project
No one wants to be overwhelmed by nitpicking while working hard to complete a project. However, the person you are working so hard to please does not have the knowledge or expertise you do and may need a reasonable number of questions answered.
Also, it is helpful to have each step of the project approved (initialed) so you are sure they are satisfied so far. A written record of your client’s agreement at various stages will also be helpful if a lawsuit arises.
- Resolve small issues before they become big ones
Never ignore complaints. Pay attention and respond to all of them. Though they may seem unimportant to you, your response will be reassuring and maintain trust in the relationship. The more trust a client or patient has in you, the more likely they will treat you as a friend rather than an adversary, even if you make a significant mistake.
- Meet deadlines and explain when you can’t
Worse than missing a deadline is missing a deadline without notifying the affected party. Giving a heads-up in a timely fashion can mean the difference between disappointment and rage on the pa, rt of the person you’re inconveniencing.
- Acknowledging your mistake, apologizing, and agreeing to make good
If you make a mistake, acknowledging fault, apologizing, and agreeing to repair the damage is enough to disarm your client or patient. A follow-up call indicating renewed concern can make all the difference in the world.
Contact Our Knowledgeable Insurance Advisors Today
The best protection against a professional negligence lawsuit is twofold: take the above steps to prevent claims in the first place and consult with our skilled insurance advisors to make sure you have sufficient Errors & Omissions Insurance. Don’t take unnecessary chances; let us help to make your insurance program Blue Lion Strong™.