Your Cookies are Disabled! NationalNotary.org sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

Notary Bulletin

Notary Tip: 4 Steps To Take If You Are Sued

Updated 9-7-21. Notaries can be sued at any time — even when notarizations are performed correctly. It's crucial you follow these 4 steps to reduce any liability and damages should a complaint ever be filed against you.

1. Contact your bond or E&O insurance carrier.

Don’t wait. Immediately contact your insurance carrier if you have an E&O policy. They will handle the case. Many policies require an insured to notify the carrier of a cliam or lawsuit wihtin a certain number of days in order for the claim to be covered.

2. Locate your journal and be sure to document events.

Your journal contains key evidence that your attorney will use to help your case. It shows that you adhered to laws and best practices, and your attorney will want to have a copy of the journal entry for the notarization in question. It’s also a good idea to document the notarization independent from your journal, recalling details including those present, the location, dates, timelines, circumstances, and anything else pertinent. And collect copies of documents and related records. This will help when your surety carrier or insurer asks for a statement.

Infographic

4 Steps To Take If A Claim Is Filed Against You

Download the PDF

3. Don’t talk to opposing counsel.

If contacted by an attorney other than your own, do not say anything regarding the notarization in question or refer the opposing attorney to your insurance company. And never initiate contact with opposing counsel. Your statements are ammunition for the opposition to use against you, and you should only communicate with your own lawyer or with the bonding or insurance company’s representative. Disclosing information could harm your chances of resolving the claim free of financial loss. Simply refer all questions to your attorney.

4. Cooperate with your attorney.

Your attorney is an expert on Notary claims and is working on your behalf. It’s in your best interest to fully cooperate and supply them with accurate, relevant information. The more you cooperate and disclose, the more likely it is that your attorney can prevent any financial loss.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

 

View All: Notary News

5 Comments

Add your comment

puregold@gwi.net

29 Aug 2016

this is a ridiculous requirement!!

jesus m jimenez

29 Aug 2016

It cost me $17,500.00 to defend myself. It was a vexatious litigant. Then this litigant went to the Secretary of State's office. That is another story and $4,000.00 to state, lack of due diligence on the state. Notaries be careful.

Johnny S. Garcia Jr

01 Sep 2016

There is contradictory information regarding the "DONT'S".,Please review and advise correctly if opposing attorney contacts a notary. Do we, or do we not refer opposing attorneys to insurance company????

National Notary Association

01 Sep 2016

Hello. There was some confusion regarding the wording in the article. We have edited it for clarity and apologize for any inconvenience.

Notary Witness by Subpoena

13 Sep 2021

I was subpoenaed in a case that had nothing to do with the quality of my notary services and instead the judge wanted to get a better idea of my observations of all parties involved in a guardianship proceeding that was held out of town. I contacted my insurance carrier (policy bought through the NNA) and was informed that a notary pays for their own expenses and legal representation out of pocket and only if you "win" your case does the notary insurance step in to reimburse you after your deductible. I had to pay for my own travel and meals based on the court's curiosity. Please don't imagine that there will be anyone materially helping you at the nominal cost of $25 per year. Although I now carry a much stronger policy, I would not count on anyone to assist me with anything.

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.

Close