When you are informed of a complaint against your license—whether by a Texas agency, commission, or licensing board—you must act decisively in order to gain the best chance of a positive outcome. The potential for harm to your reputation, to your ability to practice your chosen profession, and to your very ability to earn your living are put at risk by such complaints and the investigations that may follow on their heels.
It’s common for professionals wrongly accused or complained against to consider the baseless allegations made about them to be ridiculous, and to assume that the truth will come out of its own accord. This is, unfortunately, an overly optimistic frame of mind. Licensing boards are not created with the purpose of preserving the livelihoods of licensees. They have been designed for protection of the public—so they have a prosecutorial element to them, meaning that they will lean in favor of the party making the allegations.
Generally speaking, in the course of an investigation, there will not even be any requirement of harm having come to the complainant. It will be sufficient for an investigator to discover that some rule, law, or duty of care has been breached in order for discipline to be levied against you. And they will not necessarily even stick within the scope of the initial complaint in their search. Many are the professionals who have responded to letters of complaint and to requests for information from investigators believing they have provided information that will help them, only to learn that they have done irreparable damage to their cases.
Therefore there are a few actions to take as soon as you first learn of the complaint made against you.
You should review your insurance coverage—particularly if yours is an industry in which insurance is specific to your profession, such as one in which malpractice insurance is standard. Go through it and determine whether it contains any provisions covering defense against complaints made to your professional board.
And you should hire an experienced professional license defense attorney. Do not hesitate. The more time we have to craft a response to the very first communication you receive—on which there are almost always deadlines to meet—the better we will be able to craft your strategic defense and set the scope of the investigation to come in your favor. BERTOLINO, LLC will go the distance, from the very first stage of the process (where we can be effective at forestalling disciplinary proceedings) all the way to the end of any disciplinary proceedings that may occur as a result.
To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.