Advice given on web sites or blogs may carry liability risks for lawyers, professionals

by • May 1, 2007 • UncategorizedComments Off on Advice given on web sites or blogs may carry liability risks for lawyers, professionals1473

The Gist: Medical experts, LNCs and attorneys should check with their insurance companies about coverage of claims resulting from web site or blog advice.

© The Medical-Legal News 2007

The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, a large underwriter of many attorneys’ liability coverage, recently made a position statement about extending coverage to lawyers when they give advice on internet web logs, or blogs. Nursing Service Organization, an insurance carrier for nurses, and its underwriter CNA, also had a statement, though not specific to blogs.

In essence, the Chubb company was more receptive to covering claims on a “static” informational blog, but less inclined to extend coverage to interactive sites where an attorney-client relationship could develop. Many court cases have set precedents wherein professionals, such as nurses and doctors, may establish provider-patient relationships via phone and e-mail, and be held professionally liable.

About 70,00o new blogs are created per day, according to Technorati, a monitoring firm.

James L. Rhyner, worldwide lawyers professional manager for Chubb Specialty Insurance, said in a press release, “Today, more and more law firms are establishing blogs. Chubb does insure this new form of communication, and will continue to do so within select parameters.”

Chubb stated, “Seminar-informational blogs do not provide advice to a specific individual on a unique matter. Typically, these blogs pose a minimal level of risk…. In an advisory blog, however, a law firm offers advice. By its nature, then, it increases the risk of a malpractice lawsuit against the firm. An advisory blog can potentially establish an attorney-client relationship. As always, Chubb’s underwriters will evaluate each submission on its own merits.”

A position statement by CNA, which insures legal nurse consultants through NSO, advised, “CNA states that due to the complex and individual situations that may occur, it is the policy of CNA, the underwriter of this professional liability insurance program [NSO’s], not to speculate as to the prospective availability of coverage under specific circumstances. Should an incident occur during your practice of (consulting services), a CNA claims consultant will investigate and determine the applicability of coverage based on the terms, conditions and exclusions available at that time.”

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