f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

June 4, 2003

More Protection for Insured Clients in Fla.

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:01 pm

Florida led the way last year with its required Statement of Insured Client’s Rights [Rule 4-1.8(j)].  Starting July 1, 2003, insured clients will have even more protection in Florida, to help ensure that they are not misled when a lawyer is representing both the insurance company and the insured in personal injury and property damage tort cases. The new requirements added to the Rules of Professional Conduct will (1) specifically obligate the defense lawyer to explain from the start to the insured client when the lawyer also represents the insurance company, in order “to minimize confusion and inconsistent expectations that may arise” [Rule 4-17(e)]; and (2) help clarify for the client when lawyers practicing under a law firm name are functioning as insurance staff attorneys [Rule 4-7.10(j)].

These are the kind of disclosure requirements that can make lawyer codes of ethics far more client-friendly. It’s sad that lawyers so often need a specific mandate before making such common-sense disclosures. Since they do, the codes of ethics should make sure the client is protected with adequate information — that’s what I mean by client-centered reform.

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