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CNA Blog — From the Experts

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Published Monday, March 28, 2016
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Why Would Somebody Sue Little Ole' Me? I'm Just a Consultant!

Safeguard Your Practice with These Five Critical Steps for Solo Practitioners

As a solo practitioner, you often run the risk of being sued, due to lawsuits from disgruntled clients to errors and omissions in paperwork. And while this doesn’t keep you from practicing your profession, having the appropriate coverage – such as Professional Liability – is an essential component of your professional practice.

The possibility of being sued for simply doing your job can be intimidating. By following these five critical steps, you can help reduce your risk of facing a lawsuit:
  

  1. Use a written contract with all clients.
    Having a written contact spells out the terms and conditions for both parties. The contract should outline the scope of work that will be provided, as well as the timeframe for project completion.
       
  2. Document in writing any changes to the contract.
    Changes in either the scope of services or the project timeline that occur after the original contract is signed should be documented and presented to the client for review and approval. Both parties should acknowledge and initial the recent change.
      
  3. Implement customer acceptance procedures.
    These procedures should be consistently applied and require client approval upon completion of the project.
      
  4. Avoid suing clients for unpaid fees.
    These lawsuits often result in cross-complaints alleging negligence on the part of the solo practitioner.
       
  5. If you must decline a new engagement, always do so in writing.
    Document and save any declinations. Avoid giving any recommendations to the prospective client.
       

With today’s emerging technologies, it is easier than ever to document, file and maintain all important records – especially those that support a defense in the event that a claim arises. And in addition to securing proper documentation, remaining diligent about what you advise and how you respond to uncooperative clients will also help in preventing unwelcome litigation.

Click here to learn more about CNA’s Professional Services insurance, and to access helpful resources.

One or more of the CNA companies provide the products and/or services described. The information is intended to present a general overview for illustrative purposes only. Read CNA’s General Disclaimer.
One or more of the CNA companies provide the products and/or services described. The information is intended to present a general overview for illustrative purposes only. Read CNA’s General Disclaimer.
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