Doctors perform an important, necessary and invaluable function. They care for and heal unhealthy people on a daily basis. Unfortunately, doctors are also constantly at risk of being on the receiving end of a devastating lawsuit that can eradicate the practice that took years of time, effort, and hard work to build, not to mention personal assets such as money and property as well. The best way for a doctor to be protected from the devastation of a lawsuit is to carry professional liability insurance.
Protection from financial devastation
Professional liability insurance, commonly known as medical malpractice insurance, can protect a doctor from a lawsuit that could become quite costly. Unfortunately, in today’s society, people are quick to file a lawsuit if they feel that any wrong-doing has occurred. A single malpractice suit can easily bankrupt a doctor. Having adequate professional liability insurance can protect a doctor from losing a practice as well as personal assets. In order to be adequately covered doctors should look for policies that included professional negligence; oversights and errors; incomplete services and treatments; faulty or poor services; and misrepresenting services.
Protection when errors occur
It is human nature to make mistakes. It is inevitable that even the best doctors will make mistakes during their careers. Unfortunately, even minor mistakes that are made by a physician can be harmful or even deadly for a patient. One inadvertent mistake can have long-lasting implications for a doctor. Professional liability insurance can assure a doctor’s practice can remain intact when mistakes are made with patients.
Insufficient employer’s coverage
Most hospitals and larger practices carry malpractice insurance for the business. However individual physicians should not be lulled into a false sense of security with this fact. Coverage that is supplied by an employer is often insufficient for the needs of a physician. A doctor who is involved in a lawsuit and is relying solely on employer-provided professional liability insurance can find him or herself paying out-of-pocket for many of the legal fees that have been incurred.
Most employer-provided liability insurance is “claims-made” coverage. This means a doctor is only covered by it if a claim is made while they are still working for that particular employer. If a claim is made after the physician has moved on to other employment, he or she will not be covered for that claim. So, it is vital physicians carry their own professional liability insurance to make sure they are adequately covered no matter where they work or when they decide to seek other career opportunities.
Legal costs are covered
Having medical malpractice insurance assures that legal costs will be covered regardless of whether the case is won or lost. This is especially helpful because legal costs can sky rocket quickly and physicians who do not have sufficient coverage can go bankrupt rather quickly. Having adequate coverage can be the difference between being able to remain in business and having to close the doors of a practice.
Protect personal assets
Having a professional liability policy is the best way a doctor can assure that the personal assets that were worked for so hard to gain will not be lost in a lawsuit. Doctors work hard to earn money with which to buy items such as boats, vacation homes, fancy cars, and other high-end items. All of these items can be lost in a lawsuit if they are not protected through professional liability insurance. It is definitely a situation where an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure.
Lost wages are covered
Another benefit of having professional liability insurance is that it will cover any wages that are lost due to being involved in a lawsuit. When a doctor must appear in court it means there will be time taken away from the office, which can result in a loss of income. Malpractice insurance will reimburse a doctor for whatever wages are missed due to court appearances and other responsibilities involved with a malpractice suit that take the doctor away from work.
Peace of mind
Perhaps the best reason for a physician to carry professional liability insurance is the peace of mind it provides. Involvement in a malpractice lawsuit can be incredibly stressful and having this insurance policy can, at the very least, provide some solace that all will not be lost and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Doctors work hard to do the best job they can in the best interests of their patients. But, because unexpected problems can arise and mistakes can happen, physicians need to take precautions to protect themselves. Obtaining professional liability insurance is one way doctors can assure they are safeguarded from the financial problems that can occur when these problems surface.
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