Health Care Professional Liability Insurance  

Easy Guide to Health Care Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance is important for all health care workers. Even nurses and non-physicians are not immune from lawsuits regarding the performance of their duties. Malpractice suits occur when it is believed that a doctor or other health care professional has acted in a way that deviates from the general standards of medical practice, whether this is from something that they’ve done, or from negligence. In either case, the wronged party can bring a suit against the health care professional involved for damages. Even if the worker was following incorrect orders being given by a superior, they can be held liable for the results. Because of this, it’s important to carry professional liability insurance even if you’re not required to do so by law. Malpractice suits can harm the career of anyone who works as a medical professional, and the frequency of such suits is increasing.

The legal costs incurred from malpractice suits have been increasing by over ten percent a year since the middle of the 1970s. Awards granted by courts are also going up - by over forty percent in 1999. Professional liability insurance protects you from the financial hardship caused by legal fees and possible court awards, as well as providing legal counsel in the event of a malpractice suit. Even wrongful suits can cost you valuable time and money. Professional liability insurance is there to cover you in these cases as well.

Be sure that you maintain a standard amount of coverage at all times. You can consult with your professional liability insurance agent to find out just what the normal amount of coverage is in your particular location. Be sure to start the renewal process early to avoid any gaps in coverage where you could be damaged by a liability lawsuit. You should begin gathering your information as much as half a year in advance of your plan’s expiration date. Also, try to get your professional liability agent to give you a policy renewal date other than the first of January or the first of July. These are both dates when a large number of medical graduates are looking for their policies, and so the insurance companies are swamped. You’ll find that your own renewal will be more quickly and smoothly processed at another time of year.

You can also speed up the renewal process by making sure that your insurance agent is well informed about your particular situation. Keeping your agent up to speed on what’s going on in your practice prevents nasty paperwork snarls later on. Be sure to make certain that you know the requirements of any hospitals and organizations that you’re associated with before changing your coverage to a riskier, but cheaper type of coverage, such as raising your deductible. This is not like getting affordable health insurance, you need to make sure that you have very comprehensive cover, as the likelyhood of using it is much higher with liability insurance.

These changes may not be compatible with some organizations’ policies about health care professionals’ liability coverage. Also, be sure to maintain tail coverage if you’re retiring or changing practices. This insurance makes sure that you’re covered for suits that occur after the time you’re in that practice, but which relate to the procedures you performed there.
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