As a professional, particularly if you are licensed to provide a service, you are held to a high standard by your clients and the law. You must consistently provide a high-quality service in order to maintain your reputation, keep your license, and avoid disputes with your clients. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts and intentions, clients may still allege you have been negligent or intentionally acted in a harmful way, which caused them injury. When facing such accusations, it is imperative you work with a professional liability attorney who is knowledgeable, experienced, and aggressive like Kristin M. Lausten.
Kristin has experience representing a wide range of professionals, including architects, insurance adjusters, insurance agents and brokers, contractors, certified public accountants, and health care providers. She is prepared to represent you before professional boards and agencies in Louisiana and Arkansas, and when necessary, represent you in court at the trial and appellate levels. Whether you are facing civil liability claims or professional licensure investigation, she is here to help you protect your professional reputation and your livelihood.
Professional License Defense
When a client, customer, or patient is dissatisfied with your services or the outcome of their matter, they may file a complaint with the governing board of your profession.
Any member of the public can file a complaint, which means you may face allegations from a client, coworker, colleague, acquaintance, friend, or family member concerned about your ability to practice your profession safely.
When the board receives a complaint, it will immediately investigate to determine the merit of the complaint. You should be provided a copy of the complaint and given the opportunity to respond. It is at this time that you should contact a professional liability attorney.
This may be a misunderstanding, in which case, Kristin will guide you through resolving the issue as quickly as possible. However, if the board believes the complaint has merit, Kristin will help you cooperate when appropriate while protecting your privacy, rights, and professional license.
Depending on the circumstances, it may be best to request a formal hearing on the matter. This is an administrative hearing and is not the same as a civil trial. However, that does not mean you should take it any less seriously. Kristin will thoroughly prepare for the administrative hearing before the board, including gathering and preparing evidence.
If it is likely that the board will recommend disciplinary action, Kristin is skilled in negotiating the best possible outcome in your case. She may strive to keep the board action private or she may focus on seeking disciplinary actions that do not result in you losing your license. Kristin will focus on getting you back to work as soon as possible.
Facing Professional Liability Claims in Court
Allegations of wrongdoing are not only handled at the administrative level. Patients, clients, and customers may file a lawsuit against you based on negligence, breach of warranty, or breach of contract.
For negligence-based claims, the plaintiff alleges that you failed to adhere to the legal standards that govern your professional conduct. Those legal standards depend on your specific profession and the duty of care required by both the law and professional regulations created by the board. This can be a confusing topic, particularly for those on a jury who may be unfamiliar with your profession or with professional standards of conduct in general.
This potential confusion is why it is essential to work with a highly experienced and skilled professional liability attorney. Kristin understands the importance of translating complex legal and professional standards into plain language. She actively addresses the issue of how non-professionals perceive professional responsibilities and what they expect from professionals in your industry—and whether those perceptions and expectations align with your legal duties.
Breach of contract and breach of warranty claims differ in many respects from professional negligence claims, and Kristin is equally equipped to handle them.
During a breach of contract, the plaintiff claims you failed to uphold one or more provisions of an agreement. Kristin will scrutinize each aspect of the claim, including the validity of the agreement, your rights and responsibilities under the claim, and any evidence of an alleged breach. Kristin will handle a breach of warranty claim similarly, thoroughly reviewing the alleged breach of an express or implied warranty. Her goal will be to provide you with a candid analysis of the claim and then to pursue the best possible outcome, which may be a successful trial or an appropriate settlement.
Defense Through Professional Liability Insurance
Many professionals carry professional liability insurance to ensure a strong defense team and financial assistance is available when they face allegations of negligence or wrongdoing. Kristin is experienced in acting as panel counsel for insurers. Through her work with insurers, she has become proficient in finding creative solutions to professional liability cases, enabling professionals and their insurers to avoid litigation.
One method of avoiding litigation for professional negligence claims is to utilize an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method. The most common methods are mediation and arbitration. These methods may allow for negotiations outside of a courtroom, but that does not mean Kristin takes them any less seriously. She thoroughly prepares for any mediation or arbitration appointment and comes ready with a strategy to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
Professional Liability, Errors and Omissions
When professionals face claims for negligence and liability, their reputations and livelihoods are at stake. Kristin M. Lausten understands the sensitive nature of these allegations and is skilled at defending professional clients, allowing them to uphold their professional standing.
Many of Kristin’s clients have included architects, insurance adjusters, and contractors, as well as those who work in accounting and health care. Kristin has represented professionals at the trial and appellate court levels, as well as in mediation and before regulatory professional boards and agencies. Kristin M. Lausten has negotiated numerous settlements on behalf of her professional clients.
The key issue in defending professionals against liability claims is addressing the issue of the perception and expectation when it comes to professional responsibilities. Whether a case is before a jury, judge, or administrative body, these entities must come to understand what the standards of performance and legal duties are for the professional field at issue. To do this, you must work with an attorney who is experienced in explaining complex terms and concepts to the lay audience; an audience that most likely hasn’t been exposed to that particular professional practice.
In defending architects, engineers, and related individuals (such as design professionals) against liability and negligence claims, it is important to understand the legal and professional standards governing their conduct, as well as the relevant federal laws. The most common causes of action against professionals like these typically include breach of contract, negligence, and/or breach of warranty.
While a breach of contract claim is brought when one party feels that the other has failed to perform according to the contract (without a legal excuse for not doing so), negligence claims against professionals requires expert proof of the applicable standard of care and the breach of that standard. This typically means doing that which a professional of ordinary prudence in the exercise of ordinary care would not have done under the same or similar circumstances, or, conversely, failing to do what a professional of ordinary prudence would have done under the same or similar circumstances.
Panel Counsel and Major Claims Counsel
Kristin M. Lausten has experience representing a broad range of professional service providers including architects, engineers, insurance adjusters and contractors, as well as their affiliated businesses and employers in matters involving allegations of professional negligence and liability.
Kristin M. Lausten is available to act as panel counsel and major claims counsel for insurers and TPAs handling work throughout Louisiana and elsewhere in the Gulf States. Kristin understands how important it is to preserve a professional’s reputation. In this endeavor, Kristin is skilled in finding creative solutions to avoid litigation where necessary by offering skilled alternative dispute resolution services.
Call an Aggressive Professional Liability Litigator
As any type of professional, it is difficult to go through your career without any complaints. Someone, at some point, will not be satisfied. Or, someone will misunderstand the service you provide, or you will misunderstand what a client is looking for. You may also experience difficulties in your personal life or with your health that impact your work.
In any case, someone’s dissatisfaction or a misunderstanding can cause you to face an administrative investigation and/or a civil lawsuit. You should not try to address litigation or a professional complaint alone. Instead, work with an experienced and aggressive professional liability litigator as soon as possible to improve your chance of obtaining a successful outcome.