What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?
If you are a practicing medical professional you need a strong liability insurance policy. Medical malpractice insurance covers doctors and other medical professionals for liability arising out of their treatment of patients. The costs of defending and the amount of money rewarded in medical malpractice lawsuits can be crippling to any business or individual.
What Kind of Policy Should I Look For?
There are several factors that a medical professional should consider when choosing a malpractice insurance policy. These include:
- The net worth of the business
- The number of employees
- The net worth of the individual
- State laws on medical malpractice lawsuits, such as caps on liability
- The experience and the medical specialty of the individual
- The cost of insurance premiums in relation to the coverage
- The existence of risk management and prevention programs
What Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cover?
Insurance typically covers negligence claims as well as other claims that the medical professional’s conduct breached his or her duty of care. Insurance coverage often covers the cost of an attorney and other legal fees if a claim is made against the insured.
What Doesn’t Medical Malpractice Insurance Cover?
Malpractice Insurance typically covers only claims that the professional’s medical conduct was subpar. Claims relating to other matters, such as sexual abuse claims, employee disputes, and/or accusations of criminal behavior, are rarely covered by medical malpractice insurance.
Are Doctors Required To Purchase Malpractice Insurance?
This question is largely decided on a state by state basis. Although states are capable of passing such laws, most states currently have no requirements to purchase malpractice insurance. However, lawsuits can be extremely expensive and it would wise for the medical professional to purchase such insurance. Most employers will either require that their employees be insured or cover the employees with their existing insurance coverage.
Why Is Malpractice Insurance So Expensive When Tort Reform Has Capped the Amount of Money Rewarded To Plaintiffs of Medical Malpractice Cases?
Spikes in the price of malpractice insurance in the 1970’s, 1980’s and early 2000’s drove political demands that the amount of money rewarded to plaintiffs of medical malpractice cases be capped to ensure that medical professionals would not be driven out of their fields by rising litigation costs. These caps, however, were often deemed unconstitutional by state courts.
It is interesting to note that during the decade that most of the litigation award caps were in place, the price of malpractice insurance continued to go up despite the fact that personal injury attorneys filing lawsuits for medical malpractice were going down. Debate over the cost of malpractice insurance and its impact on the medical field continues at both the state and the federal level.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Choosing a medical malpractice insurance policy is an important part of starting a business. A personal injury attorney can advise you of the legal trends in your state and help you protect your business and your assets without spending more than you should on an insurance policy.