The Risk Manager, Spring 1997

  • Real Estate practice remains a high risk area in second place in all three studies. It is disappointing to see Kentucky at a higher percentage than the ‘96 study. The primary cause for real estate claims remains the same -- missed encumbrances.
  • Collection and Bankruptcy has been visible as a growing source of malpractice claims in Kentucky for some time. This trend developed in Kentucky during a time when national statistics show improvement. What’s going on here?
  • Worker’s Compensation claims have been increasing in Kentucky for some time and are conspicuously higher than either the ‘86 or ‘96 study. Maybe the recent overhaul of Kentucky’s workers compensation law will reverse this trend.
  • Family Law is a growing source of malpractice claims. While Kentucky’s percentage compares favorably with the ‘96 study, it is a practice area of increasing risk. Divorce and elder law matters appear to be the hot spots. It has been estimated that lawyers with less than five years experience account for about 30% of these claims.
  • Business Transactions practice showed a dramatic increase in malpractice claims in the ‘96 study. Much of this is probably attributable to the economic situation of the early ‘90’s. Nonetheless, this is an area to watch. New laws and regulations continue to make already complex business transactions even more complicated. You must keep up.

Top Ten Malpractice Claims by Area of Practice

  ABA'86 NABRICO'96 KY'97
Personal Injury-Plaintiff 25.08% 21.65% 19%
Real Estate 23.29% 14.35% 17%
Business Transactions 3.04% 10.66% *
Family Law 7.88% 9.13% 8%
Corp./Bus. Organization 5.32% 8.87% * 5%
Collection & Bankruptcy 10.49% 7.91% 10%
Estate, Tax and Probate 6.97% 7.59% 7%
Criminal 3.34% 3.82% 5%
Workers' Compensation 2.14% 3.30% 8%
Personal Injury-Defense 3.22% 3.27% 3%
* Lawyers Mutual merges these two categories