Every physician needs medical malpractice insurance. It exists to help doctors (and other medical providers) insure themselves against professional liabilities. What are some of these? What can you do to avoid these claims?
Let's take a look at the coverage offered by malpractice insurance a little more closely. Policies will offer assistance for a vast array of common medical errors. However, other mistakes won't have coverage on this specific policy. Therefore, you might need to add extra coverage to your existing malpractice coverage. Nevertheless, consider standard malpractice coverage essential to your overall practice protection.
Understanding Malpractice Coverage
Medical offices are some of the riskiest environments in which anyone can practice. Caregivers, regardless of their specialty, could accidentally cause harm to a patient. Even in seemingly-low-risk environments, these threats exist.
If something bad happens to a patient, they generally have a right to recourse. It is during such situations that malpractice lawsuits might arise. When they do, the costs and reputational damage could prove devastating to the practice. Therefore, this coverage can go a long way towards helping keep the practice on even footing.
Your policy might cover an affected client's medical bills, extra costs and legal fees. With coverage, both you and your patients can worry less about whether they are in good hands. Everyone often has a better chance of reaching an amicable, satisfactory settlement.
What Your Policy Covers
Most malpractice policies cover a variety of accidents that might occur while you treat your patients. For example, they might apply to:
- Misdiagnosis or mistreatment of a condition
- Diagnosis delays
- Mistreatment during pregnancy or birth
- Prescription errors
- Mistakes administering anesthesia
- Surgery complications
Let's say, for example, you misdiagnose a patient with cancer. They don't have cancer, but a series of errors in testing led to the misdiagnosis. Therefore, you subjected the patient to unnecessary treatment, pain and suffering, not to mention mental anguish. They'll suffer financially and personally because of the mistake on your part. So, it is not unreasonable to assume that the patient in question might sue you because of this accident.
You did not intend to misdiagnose the patient. However, mistakes did occur. A court might find you were negligent in the commission of the actions. Therefore, the results of the malpractice liability suit might turn out in the client's favor.
That's where malpractice insurance can help. It might assist you in settling with the affected patient. However, you won't have to put the business itself on the line trying to recover. Given that the average malpractice suit costs over $200,000 in settlements, it is easy to see why you need coverage.
What Does Malpractice Insurance Not Cover?
Nevertheless, malpractice insurance won't cover every mistake you might make. Generally, these policies only apply to the mistakes made in the course of treating a patient. They might not cover other losses, like:
- HIPAA Violations
- Sexual improprieties
- Illegal conduct
- Insurance fraud
- Records alteration
- General liabilities
- Cyber theft
- Employee injuries
So, you might need protection alongside a standard malpractice policy. Each of these policies will likely fall under the umbrella of liability insurance. However, they'll apply to different types of risks within your business. Each policy will create an added layer of comprehensive protection.
Errors & Omissions (E&O) coverage applies to professional mistakes. For example, it might apply to clerical errors or professional advice that causes a client a financial loss. For example, if you make a billing error, you might have coverage under this protection.
Cyber Liability Insurance
Most medical practices store records and other sensitive information on computers. This leaves that information vulnerable to deletion, theft, ransomware attacks and more. If such an accident occurs, both the practice and patients might face risks of identity theft and other personal losses.
Cyber liability insurance might help clean up these messes. It might help you recover data, pay regulatory fees, and assist patients with identity protection.
General Liability Coverage
General liability insurance might apply to injuries or property damage you cause clients. For example, if a client falls in your business and gets hurt, this coverage might help you pay their medical bills. The injury didn't occur during the course of treatment. Therefore, this policy might apply instead of malpractice coverage.
You have a duty to protect your employees within the practice. So, if one gets hurt or chronically ill on the job, you might have to compensate them. Most states require medical practices to carry workers' compensation insurance. It covers practice employees hurt on the job. Coverage can help them supplement income and cover extra costs during their recovery. As a result, protection is critical for almost any business.
Contact your Medical Malpractice insurance agent about the specific risks within your operations. A medical practice faces unique privacy, security and safety rules. So, it's important to tailor your malpractice and liability coverage to your own needs. With care, you can create a better liability coverage cushion for your own uses.
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