A variety of business insurance policies exist to cover companies in the event of a lawsuit. Ted Devine, CEO at 771 Advisors, said third-party injury claims and accusations of defamatory remarks about a competitor are typically covered by general liability insurance. Client allegations that your work caused them a financial loss are often covered by a professional liability policy. Suits from employees may be covered by employment practices liability insurance or employer’s liability insurance, which is included in some workers’ compensation policies. [Read related article: Business Insurance Coverage You Should Have (But Might Not)]
“Should the suit fall under the umbrella of what your policy covers, it’s common for your benefits to pay for attorneys’ fees, court costs and any settlement or judgment you’re found liable for paying,” Devine said. If you believe one of your current policies covers the suit, get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible.
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“Most insurance policies require that suit papers be promptly forwarded to the insurer … to preserve any insurance coverage,” said David Turner, a partner at Schulten, Ward, Turner & Weiss. “If the suit is covered, the insurer or counsel retained by the insurer will defend the lawsuit.” Turner noted that companies should keep their general counsel advised of any claims against them, even if an insurance company is involved in defending the case.
DO NOT: Assume your insurance will cover the suit
Certain types of lawsuits may indeed be covered by a general liability policy, but do not assume that this is the case. Turner said that business owners should consult with their insurance provider to confirm whether or not the lawsuit is covered, as the specific circumstances of the suit may exclude it from the policy.