Covering Mental Anguish in your Malpractice Insurance

Mental anguishUnfortunate accidents in medical practices may cause physical injury to patients. Patients may seek restitution from the practice to help compensate for those injuries. Medical liability insurance can help a practice recover from allegations that it caused harm to a patient.

You likely understand that a malpractice claim could put your business on the ropes. Furthermore, your reputation could come under fire as you address a malpractice claim.

If a physician causes harm to the patient that harm could turn out as much more than just physical harm. A patient may begin to suffer emotionally as a result of their injury. Should a patient sue a physician for malpractice, they might allege mental anguish.

What is Mental Anguish?

Mental anguish has a variety of specific applications. The definition generally means emotional suffering as a result of a personal injury. Emotional suffering might include depression, anxiety, stress, grief or panic disorders.

Mental anguish might impact a person’s ability to functionally live their life. If a patient can trace mental anguish to an injury sustained in your care, it might spell trouble for your practice. The patient could sue for mental anguish damages in a malpractice claim.

How Malpractice Insurance Covers Mental Anguish

You might assume that malpractice insurance covers mental anguish charges. Think again.

Often, medical liability policies don’t include mental anguish under bodily injury coverage. Most policies define bodily injury liabilities as physical harm done to a patient. Mental anguish, while functional and certainly debilitating, is not necessarily physical.

That might leave a hole in liability insurance coverage. If a patient successfully sues for mental anguish, your policy might not provide a payout for you to compensate that person.

Whether your standard malpractice insurance covers mental anguish depends on several factors. Two of those are your policy’s definition of bodily injury, and the location where you sell the policy.

  • Policies define bodily injury differently. Some policies include mental anguish as a form of bodily injury. They include mental anguish as a bodily injury because of the functional impact it may have on a patient’s life.
  • Some states require insurance carriers to cover mental anguish as a bodily injury. However, not every state requires insurance companies to assume this risk.

Covering Mental Anguish Risks

Make sure you have coverage for mental anguish claims. Talk to your liability insurance provider. See if your standard policy assumes that bodily injury includes mental anguish scenarios.

If policies don’t include this coverage, some alternatives may make your coverage stronger. Umbrella insurance may expand the definition of bodily injury to include mental anguish.

We’ve got you covered. We can help you get a strong, reliable New York medical liability policy. If you have questions, call us at 800.462.3401 for more information.

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