Nurses play a critical role in the healthcare team. Like doctors and physicians, they provide essential care to the patients. They also offer emotional support when patients are ill, preparing for a medical procedure, or during their recovery. Like the other workers on the medical team, they may make a mistake.
Malpractice insurance covers nurses for the mistakes they make while on duty. If the services you offered placed the patients at risk of harm, they will suffer financial and personal losses. Since it was your fault, they may hold you responsible for the suffered losses. Even unintentional errors in the process of administering medication may attract a malpractice claim. All nursing experts, including nurses, need malpractice insurance in the same way physicians and doctors require.
Nursing malpractice insurance is occurrence-based. You want to understand the policies, especially when you change from one healthcare institution to another. When an occurrence-based policy covers you but switches to a claim-made policy, there won’t be a gap in insurance coverage. However, when you switch from a claim-based to an occurrence-based policy, you will not be covered for matters that occurred when your claim-based coverage was active.
Many myths and misconceptions exist surrounding nurses and professional liability insurance, also known as nursing malpractice insurance. You must understand the myths and the facts. The American Nurses Association has outlined the common myths and why nurses should know about the benefits of having their malpractice insurance. This article debunks these myths and discusses the facts and why nurses should have their malpractice insurance.
Myth #1: Your Facility Insurance Will Cover Any Malpractice Lawsuit
Facts: If you’re working for a clinic, hospital, or doctor, then there is a good chance you are insured. When you start working in a clinic or hospital, you want to understand the facility insurance policies and how they relate to the individual employees. Ensure you know the coverage amount, its limits, and if they are sufficient to cover all your needs. After you know your coverage, you will more likely notice it's not as encompassing as you might like. For instance, when you are working with an agency, the insurance facility might not cover you because you are not a technical employee of the facility. When you come under a lawsuit, the facility will likely not offer legal representation meaning you will find your attorney.
The main problem of relying on the facility insurance is, their policy is purposely meant to protect the clinic or hospital but not its employees. It means when a patient seeks to use against you, the facility insurance will look to protect itself. The facility doesn't care whether they lose you or not. Another situation is when someone sues the facility because of your actions or negligence, the hospital or clinic might sue you to claim the costs. They will more likely not provide any coverage against their cases. Thus if you are a nurse and don’t have your malpractice insurance, you want to think about it and join immediately. Don't wait until circumstances force you to have malpractice insurance.
Myth #2: The Malpractice Insurance is Meant for Bad Nurses and Poor Practitioners
Facts: You are likely a great nurse! Unfortunately, great nurses like you are also sued and reported to their board of nurses. In most cases, it just happens. Thus when it happens, you will be responsible for seeking an attorney and paying for the incurred costs. Thus you may end up paying huge costs.
However, when you have malpractice insurance, all these costs will be covered. You will be excited by removing the worry of paying your money for legal representation. Also, you will not have stress or worry about knowing whether the settlement by the board of nurses is favorable. Working without malpractice insurance coverage, you will be responsible for the huge settlement expenses. Instead, with malpractice insurance, you don’t doubt to negotiate the settlement costs or have a burden when taking your case for an official hearing when the settlement costs are high.
In a situation whereby you are not guilty of negligence actions, you will not be responsible for paying the settlement. But you will still have to pay for the legal fee, among other court costs. Also, if the case prohibits you from attending your regular works or the court prohibits you from work as the case proceeds, malpractice insurance will ensure you receive compensation for the missed work, among other relevant costs.
When the case takes you from your home, they will cover all the added expenses, including meals and lodging. Please don’t rely on your employer's insurance since they won't cover all risks you might face while working. Thus, have your malpractice insurance cover all the potential risks that might come when you are at work.
Myth #3: Malpractice Insurance Will Make You More Likely to Be Sued
Facts: The argument behind this misconception is that malpractice insurance will make you a target to be sued. This reasoning is false. While you are driving, do you intentionally collide with other vehicles because your car is insured? So, no one crashes your vehicle because they have insurance too. In a real sense, insurance is a protection against anything that could go wrong, but usually, it's not a reason to make things go crazy.
Again, unless you inform your family members or patients whether you have the insurance, there is no way they will take it as an advantage. If a lawsuit comes against you, whether you have malpractice insurance or not, it’s not the deciding factor in the lawsuit.
You must note that having insurance will not cause a lawsuit; however, it might keep you engaged. When the plaintiff's lawyer notices you have insurance, they will more likely push the case to keep going since they know the insurance will cater to the payments agreed by the involved parties.
It used to be without insurance; you were left off the hook. Most medical providers lacked the capital to pay huge amounts to their plaintiffs; thus, the lawyers would only drop the case. But nowadays, the attorney will keep the case moving whether you have malpractice insurance or not. Also, the nurse's salary is higher than it used to be; thus, the attorney will keep the case going. Thus owning malpractice insurance will not make you more likely to be sued. So, if you are out of malpractice insurance coverage, it's the right time to join before it's too late. Contact our professionals from The Legal Guardian, and they will help you understand more about malpractice insurance.
Myth #4: Having a Malpractice Insurance is Additional Expense as Your Employer Covers You
Facts: During a lawsuit, your employer's legal team focuses on the employer's obligation but not yours. The great benefit of having malpractice insurance is that your interests will come first. Thus you will have peace of mind knowing your interests are paramount. When the case comes down against your employer, you will have your legal team defend you. Instead, they will provide defense fees at your trial. If you don’t have your malpractice insurance, you will need to prepare the case yourself or hire a defense attorney at your cost. However, malpractice insurance will cover your legal defense fees, so you will not find it hard to fight the case by yourself.
Myth #5: Your License is Not at Risk and Your Employer Will Cover You
Facts: Usually, employers don’t have license protection and are mostly the ones who file a complaint with the board of nurses, for instance, alleging you did not follow the correct procedure when attending your duties. A complaint with the board of registration in nursing would attract an investigation; thus, you end up hiring your defense attorney. When the board of registration of nurses files a disciplinary action against you, your career might be at risk or even ruined.
However, when you have your malpractice insurance, your case will be defended by a group of experts. Also, you will not spend much money to hire your defense lawyer. You will more likely retain your job since the attorneys will investigate the case and challenge the prosecutors' evidence. Thus have your malpractice insurance in addition to the other insurances.
You may find yourself facing an investigation from the board of nurses. When the board finds you guilty of malpractice, they may revoke your license. Malpractice insurance will help you take action against the judgment of the nursing board. The insurance will help you recover the license without spending thousands of dollars.
Lastly, the employer policy may only protect you only when you are at work. So, if you give nursing services outside your job, even when you’re offering volunteer or favor to your neighbor, you will require a different policy to cover you. Malpractice insurance is the best since it will cover you while at your job or when volunteering outside the job.
Myth #6: Only Doctors Should Be Sued for Malpractice Insurance
Facts: Many nurses think they should not be sued for malpractice. Instead, doctors are the right candidate for malpractice insurance. However, the truth is any person involved in handling patients might be sued for malpractice when the patients are harmed. In many cases, the lawsuit will involve the entire care team, including the nurse. Thus you might find it challenging to hire an attorney to represent you throughout the process. Also, compensating the plaintiff may leave you in a financial crisis. Thus malpractice insurance is critical for all nurses. Ensure you have malpractice insurance to remain safe on your job.
Myth# 7: Medical Malpractice Claims Increase the Health Care Costs
Facts: The reality is that healthcare costs have risen, but medical malpractice claims have gone down. Thus the rising costs in health care claims don’t hold any truth. Thus as a nurse, you should have your malpractice insurance and ignore the myths circulating from other people who aren’t even health care providers. You will enjoy the benefits of the insurance individually and not as a group. When you don’t have malpractice insurance, you will also suffer the costs alone. Thus the right time to have your malpractice insurance is now.
Myth #8: Medical Errors are Expected and Realistic Errors
Facts: No patient expects to obtain harm from a doctor or nurse. Some complications occur in various medical malpractice cases, but it's upon the patient to set the chain of events that attract the injuries. In other cases, the error might have been prevented when the procedures and policies were followed. Remember, many people who file a lawsuit want to receive answers. Filing the lawsuit will force the medical expert responsible for the mistakes to be deposed or testify.
For many families, it’s the right way to know what happened. You will find it challenging when you don’t have your malpractice insurance to cover you. You might even lose your job when it's discovered the patients suffered severe harm due to your negligence. Thus if you are a nurse and you don’t have malpractice insurance, you want to think about it as soon as possible.
Malpractice insurance is designed to assist you in keeping your money. The nurses employed by larger medical companies are usually under medical insurance policies for the company. However, employer-sponsored insurance is not enough in some cases. Having your malpractice insurance will come with more significant benefits on your side. The entire aim of having malpractice insurance is to avoid going broke when trying to defend yourself. After all, you should not spend your entire life paying back damages.
Myth #9: Medical Malpractice Victories Will Result in High Payouts
Facts: To debunk this myth is simple. Less than one percent of all medical malpractice cases in the US result in awards above $1million. Many patients receive compensation for their medical bills. Based on the circumstance, other patients will receive compensation for monetary damages like lost wages. All professional liability insurance policies limit the amount of liability covered. The policies cover $1million per claim and $6 million for the claims made within the insurance policy duration. When you have an individual policy, you will have access to all liability coverages.
In most cases, the costs of legal fees and defense costs are covered within those limits. In other cases, the court doesn't include the defense costs within that limit. The last thing you want to worry about is whether you are protected in the event of a malpractice lawsuit. Your malpractice insurance will give you peace of mind and ensure you are financially and legally protected from any possible incident.
Myth #10: The tail Coverage Becomes Free in Claims Made After 5 Years
Facts: Tail coverage will protect you from the covered incidents which occurred when the policy was still active but reported after the cancellation of the policy. The claim-made policies usually include retirement, disability, and free death. It provides free tail coverage only when you become fully disabled, or you die while the policy is active or when you retire from medical practice.
Myth #11: You Will Only Be Sued When You Make a Mistake
Facts: You may be sued when you believe you are responsible for a specific patient's outcome, even when the belief is untrue. The patient may sue you when they have not suffered damages, but they hope to win the settlement even if their lawsuit doesn't have grounds. Regardless of if or not the suit has merits, you will incur expenses through the dismissal exercise. Your malpractice insurance policy may provide you with peace of mind and protect you against any financial ruins resulting from you being sued.
Sometimes, the court may award monetary damages in favor of the patient's claim. The expenses must be paid to the patient by the hospital and might be at a physician's or specific nurse's expense. If you don’t have malpractice insurance, you will pay the damages out of your pockets. Thus it's critical to have your malpractice insurance cover you anytime you commit malpractice.
Although doctors and physicians are more likely to be sued for malpractices than nurses, trends are shifting. Each member is being recognized for their contribution meaning greater accountability. Nurses hold crucial positions in the healthcare industry. So they are likely to suffer the consequences of malpractice lawsuits. Malpractice insurance doesn’t necessarily mean you made mistakes. Patients may sue when they think you are responsible for their outcome, even when the belief is unfounded or wrong.
Malpractice insurance comes with numerous benefits to the nurses when they face accusations in Long Beach. You want to work with a competent attorney to provide the legal help you deserve. At The Legal Guardian for legal help, we understand nurses, like other people, make mistakes that might place them in difficult situations. Do you have any questions about malpractice coverage? Call us right away at 888-293-0396, and we will help you understand why you should have your malpractice insurance. We understand the right time to have your malpractice insurance is now.