Medical workers, from surgeons to general physicians, nurses, and health technicians, may all be held accountable for medical malpractice or misdiagnosis. In these cases, the healthcare worker’s medical malpractice insurance company is responsible for paying any claim.
If you or a loved one has been harmed through medical malpractice, The Joel Bieber Firm can help you learn more about filing a suit for damages. Call today to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
What Is Medical Malpractice Insurance? An Overview
Malpractice insurance is a specialized insurance coverage to protect healthcare professionals. It’s more formally known as “medical professional errors and omissions insurance,” and it covers claims made by a patient against a doctor or nurse.
Malpractice insurance is offered in two forms:
Claims-Made Malpractice Insurance
Under these policies, the claim must be reported while the policy is in effect with the physician’s insurance company. These are the most common type of malpractice insurance and likely the form of insurance the defendant in your case has.
Policyholders can extend their coverage for protection against claims made after the policy is no longer in effect (called “tail coverage”).
Tail coverage can cost up to three times more than the annual premium but may be useful in cases where a plaintiff only discovers the medical error long after the initial incident.
An example of how this coverage is useful would be in the case of an oncologist who misdiagnosed cancer and the patient realized only years later that the misdiagnosis was the cause of their current condition.
Occurrence-Made Malpractice Insurance
This form of medical malpractice insurance covers claims made during the policy period, regardless of when the claim is filed. Even if the policy has been canceled, if the incident occurred during the time that the policy was active, then the medical practitioner will be covered under their occurrence-made policy.
These are less common than claims-made policies and tend to be more expensive as well.
The type of medical malpractice insurance the defendant has may affect how your medical malpractice lawyer approaches your case, but each situation differs.
What Does Malpractice Insurance Cover?
Medical malpractice insurance can cover medical caregivers for many different types of errors, negligence, or misdiagnoses, including:
- Mistakes in treatment or medication prescriptions
- Injuries related to poor medical care
- Misdiagnosis of a medical condition
- Premature discharge from a hospital or clinic
- Unnecessary medical procedures or surgeries
These are not the only examples of someone being harmed through a medical error. If you don’t see your cause of injury listed here, your medical malpractice lawyer may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
Malpractice insurance policies also cover costs associated with defending the policyholder or settling a claim against them, such as:
- Lawyer fees, medication fees, court costs, or arbitration fees
- Medical damages incurred by the plaintiff
- Compensatory or punitive damages for the plaintiff
Medical malpractice insurance covers the insured only up to their policy limits. The policy often lists the coverage as two numbers: for example, $2 million/$ 4 million. These numbers mean:
- $2 million is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for each claim
- $4 million is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for each policy period
Often, the value that your medical malpractice lawyer places on your claim will be limited by the insurance coverage maximum. In cases where the medical professional’s employer is also a named defendant, however, the claim may be valued a little differently, especially if your medical malpractice lawyer is filing for punitive damages.
Cases Not Covered by Malpractice Insurance
Malpractice insurance is intended to protect the medical provider against patient claims of medical misconduct or negligent mistakes. The policy will not cover complaints such as:
- Altering medical records
- Car accidents
- Criminal behavior
- A data breach or other cyber liability
- Property damage to the business
- Employee injury
- Claims of abuse or discrimination filed by a patient
- Sexual misconduct
Each medical malpractice policy may have other exclusions, too, but if your case involves one of these things, your medical malpractice lawyer may seek other resources on your behalf.
Which Healthcare Professionals Need Malpractice Insurance Coverage?
Many medical professionals, including home healthcare providers, licensed nurses, doctors, and physical therapists, may be required to carry malpractice insurance coverage by the healthcare network they are affiliated with or the governing board of their professional specialty.
Even if a medical caregiver isn’t required to carry malpractice insurance, they may still benefit from the extra coverage for protection against a claim.
The cost of malpractice insurance varies depending on the policyholder’s profession, location, and years of experience, as well as the number of claims (if any) previously filed against them.
The Difference Between Professional Liability Insurance and Medical Malpractice Insurance
Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance, and while these terms are similar and sometimes used interchangeably, there are a couple of key differences between these two types of coverage:
- Malpractice insurance covers legal costs, including the claim settlement and legal fees
- Professional liability policies cover mistakes made in general business activities
For example, if a patient files a claim that they were harmed because the doctor prescribed a medication that interacted badly with a medication they were currently taking, then the malpractice policy would cover this claim.
However, if a patient files a claim that the doctor’s office violated its confidentiality responsibilities under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the claim would be handled through professional liability insurance.
The Difference Between General Liability Insurance and Medical Malpractice Insurance
General liability insurance for a medical professional covers any accidental property damage or other injuries caused to others. For example, if a patient slips on a wet floor in a chiropractic office and sprains their wrist, then the general liability insurance of the practice covers the claim.
However, if a patient claims that chiropractic treatment caused a wrist injury, medical malpractice insurance covers the claim.
Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
A Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can File Suit Without Malpractice Insurance. Have you been harmed by a medical misdiagnosis or another type of medical malpractice? The Joel Bieber Firm can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer. There are some factors that affect medical malpractice settlement value and we will help you with this.