Another fervently held belief of the parishioners of the Church of Lalalala I Can’t Hear You is that only a fool would carry professional liability insurance because, you see, lawyers who represent home buyers are so surpassingly naïve and venal that, if you tell them that there is no insurance from which they can collect a judgment, they will simply go away. Problem solved.

I think that this widely held belief very likely stems from the pop-culture meme that lawyers are blood suckers whose only interest is what’s in it for them. Now, I’m not so naïve that I would deny that examples of that stereotype exist in some profusion in my profession. However, against that negative stereotype you have to contrast advocates like, for example, the effulgent Daniel Petrocelli. whose masterful prosecution of the wrongful death case on behalf of Fred Goldman against the man who murdered his son, was undertaken without any realistic hope of adequate compensation – or any at all, for that matter. The vast majority of lawyers of my acquaintance, less renowned than Daniel Petrocelli to be sure, though no less skilled, embrace the same ethic. They want to see that their client gets justice.

To be sure, “justice” for a home inspector’s client who is unhappy that the air conditioning system suddenly stopped working some ten months after the inspection, eight months after the client took occupancy of the inspected dwelling and some two months after the system was performing its function flawlessly may well be – and invariably is – a firm explanation that, you know, stuff happens that, as much as you would like to wish it otherwise, is nobody’s fault.

That enduring truth notwithstanding, there is certainly no shortage of home inspection clients making such claims. And if a claimant is not deterred by the fact that he has no case, how realistic is it to believe that he will care whether or not an inspector has insurance? To judge from the sheer number of claims where the first notice of claim is an actual lawsuit, it is pretty clear that no thought whatsoever is given to the issue of whether or not a defendant inspector has insurance.

And if lawyers actually did consider whether a defendant was insured before filing suit, there would never be any lawsuits for fraud, assault, battery, defamation or any other tort for which insurance is simply not available.

That such suits abound should tell you all you need to know about the role that a defendant’s insured status plays in an attorney’s decision whether or not to undertake a given representation. This is a valuable piece of home inspector training.

A wise home inspector will prepare himself accordingly.

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