Malpractice Insurance? - page 2

Do you think it's a good idea for nurses to buy malpractice insurance? Why or why not?... Read More

  1. by   Jolie
    The one very important point that Mr. Huffman consistently fails to address in his arguments against liability insurance is this:

    What if you act (unintentionally) in a manner that causes harm to a patient? Isn't that patient entitled to fair and just compensation for his/her injuries?

    Would any of us utilize the services of an uninsured physician? I, for one, would not. Not because I believe him/her to be inferior, but because I wish to be fairly compensated should an error in judgement cost me my health/livelihood, etc.

    I'm not advocating frivolous lawsuits, just personal responsibility on the part of the professional nurse.
  2. by   James Huffman
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    While I understand that it's rare that nurses actually get sued for malpractice, they are often accused of things that bring them before the BON. With insurance, they have legal representation. Without it, they're alone, scared, and often too broke to afford a lawyer.

    So I guess I disagree with your posts, Mr. Huffman.

    By the way, are you a lawyer?
    1. Some insurance covers accusations before the BON, some doesn't. It's important to read the fine print, and make sure that this is part of the coverage if choosing to buy a policy.

    2. No, I'm not an attorney.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I agree w/the above post. Mr. Huffman fails to address those cases where compensation is rightful and not necessarily due from the HOSPITAL itself. What about righting a wrong one has done? About duty?
  4. by   James Huffman
    Quote from Jolie
    The one very important point that Mr. Huffman consistently fails to address in his arguments against liability insurance is this:

    What if you act (unintentionally) in a manner that causes harm to a patient? Isn't that patient entitled to fair and just compensation for his/her injuries?

    Would any of us utilize the services of an uninsured physician? I, for one, would not. Not because I believe him/her to be inferior, but because I wish to be fairly compensated should an error in judgement cost me my health/livelihood, etc.

    I'm not advocating frivolous lawsuits, just personal responsibility on the part of the professional nurse.
    I don't disagree with you; it's just that I don't see how your scenario would play out in real life.

    In other words, let's say one of us made a unintentional error. The injured patient still has to sue to claim any money from one's malpractice insurance. In other words, you can admit to all kinds of error, but the insurance company is not going to cut a check to the patient without a court judgement.

    It's certainly an individual's prerogative to choose a physician (or any professional) as they wish, but I can guarantee you that any injury is going to require a court judgement, unless the claim is so egregious that the insurance company settles out of court.

    Then there's always the lawyer's cut of the settlement, too. That's not an insubstantial amount.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  5. by   traumaRUs
    Like many decisions in nursing, this is an individual one. This is a very important decision that must be made after consideration of both sides. That said, there are several threads devoted to this subject and the original poster may find more information doing a search. Good luck...
  6. by   rjflyn
    One error in Mr Huffmans post. Court judgements typically are not erased by bankruptcy. As an example OJ Simpson- he owes how many millions and he has filed bankruptcy. Also in some states ones home is protected from being taken to satisfiy a judgement. One needs to look at the laws and more importantly the presidence set in said state. One thing is true some lawyers wont sue if there is no money to be gotten. My wife worked for such a firm they didnt take cases that the only assests were a persons home ect.


    rj
  7. by   humglum
    I was just talking about this very subject at one of the other forums I subscribe to. I have malpractice insurance, I actually just purchased it last year (after having been a nurse in some markedly unsafe situations for nearly 2 years), and am glad that I did. I don't volunteer to anyone that I have it, but I'm happy to know its there. I'm actually in the middle of something right now that is starting to look litigious. I hope it doesn't get that far.

    I don't understand the argument that you're more likely to get sued if you're insured. I don't trust any facility to back me up if I make an egregious error and (God forbid) cause a sentinel event.
  8. by   James Huffman
    Quote from rjflyn
    One error in Mr Huffmans post. Court judgements typically are not erased by bankruptcy. As an example OJ Simpson- he owes how many millions and he has filed bankruptcy. Also in some states ones home is protected from being taken to satisfiy a judgement. One needs to look at the laws and more importantly the presidence set in said state. One thing is true some lawyers wont sue if there is no money to be gotten. My wife worked for such a firm they didnt take cases that the only assests were a persons home ect. rj
    I appreciate the input about the O. J. Simpson case. I guess I'm not sure about one thing, though: under California law, if he has filed bankruptcy, does he still owe the money in question?

    Thanks again. The issue of personal liability and responsibility are important ones for nurses and all professional providers. Finding how to work through the question is not necessarily an easy one.

    I would encourage readers again: if you choose to get liability insurance, find some that also covers any charges before your state's board of nursing. There are things that wouldn't even be heard in a courtroom, but the BON can and will deal with them. An example is "sleeping on duty," a charge that regularly gets nurses brought up for hearings in NC. Lawsuits are not fun, but as I pointed out earlier, you are highly unlikely ever to face one. Charges against the BON are far more likely, and much more dangerous to your career.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  9. by   James Huffman
    Quote from CharmCityRN
    I was just talking about this very subject at one of the other forums I subscribe to. I have malpractice insurance, I actually just purchased it last year (after having been a nurse in some markedly unsafe situations for nearly 2 years), and am glad that I did. I don't volunteer to anyone that I have it, but I'm happy to know its there. I'm actually in the middle of something right now that is starting to look litigious. I hope it doesn't get that far.

    I don't understand the argument that you're more likely to get sued if you're insured. I don't trust any facility to back me up if I make an egregious error and (God forbid) cause a sentinel event.
    In other words, the lawyer only makes money if a settlement gets money from you. If someone has no substantial assets and no insurance, the patient is unlikely to find a lawyer who will take on the case.

    I'm sorry that you're in the middle of a bad situation now. I'm assuming you left the "markedly unsafe situations" that you mention. If a facility, unit, or whatever is operating in an unsafe manner, one of the best things we can do -- from a liability and professional standpoint -- is to get away from it. You did the right thing.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  10. by   humglum
    Thanks for your input, James. Just to clarify, the litigation is not against me, and it hasn't even gotten to that point. Right now its a disgruntled family who feel like their family member got worse after he was admitted to the hospital, although he'd been experiencing a gradual decline for about a year prior. Its clear to everyone involved (except them, of course) that we did the best we could for this person, and it was part of his neurological disease process. Our neurology fellow has called a family meeting and is going to discuss the patient's condition, the medical interventions and studies that have been done, and try to help them understand a bit better.

    And I see the correlation between no assets and no settlement to be had. It still makes me feel comfortable to have malpractice insurance, because I do have assets that could be liquidated as part of a settlement, and I'd prefer that didn't happen.
  11. by   begalli
    Quote from James Huffman
    2. No, I'm not an attorney.
    Are you an RN?

    I wonder what your qualifications are to give recommendations and advice on RN malpractice insurance? And to whom are you giving this advice?

    Sure hope you have a disclaimer at your blog.

    Your first post, James Huffman, sounds just like this ncbi study done about the reasons people sue:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...t_uids=8002688

    I posted the above link on a thread discussing open ICU visitation on another thread:
    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthre...1&page=6&pp=10

    I would definitely say that every nurse should carry malpractice insurance (even student nurses). There are so many obstacles that nurses face every day in the workplace. Our licenses are always on the line.

    It also means that lawyers tend not to go after people who have very little money. And let's imagine that you are like most people. You drive a several-years-old car. You own a house, but the banks owns a great deal more of it than you do. You have several credit cards with large balances. You live from paycheck to paycheck. In other words, you don't have a lot of cash around. And let's imagine that you did something really wrong, and get sued. Suppose the jury found for the plaintiff, and ordered you to pay them $500,000. Where are you going to get the money? If you're like most people, you're going to declare bankruptcy. Relatively easy, relatively fast, and you no longer owe $500,000. And the lawyer gets no money, or very little. Neither does the plaintiff. End of story.
    So what are you saying? Too bad to the person and people who suffer due to a licensed professional's negligence? This is skirting accountability and borders on unethical.

    Listen, if someone's negligence results in the maiming or death of me or someone I know, I EXPECT the responsible person to be held accountable. In this circumstance, you can't bring back a dead loved one and you can't undo permanent damage. The only thing left is monetary compensation.
  12. by   begalli
    Quote from James Huffman
    But I do not recommend that your average nurse have any malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance is not worth it. Not because it costs too much, but because it is just too inviting to lawyers.
    So are you not recommending it because it does nothing to protect your patients in the event of a mishap or are you not recommending it just to spite attorneys?

    And btw, a reputable attorney would NEVER take a case on contingency if they didn't think it was a viable case.
  13. by   James Huffman
    Quote from begalli
    Are you an RN?

    I wonder what your qualifications are to give recommendations and advice on RN malpractice insurance? And to whom are you giving this advice?

    Sure hope you have a disclaimer at your blog.

    Your first post, James Huffman, sounds just like this ncbi study done about the reasons people sue:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...t_uids=8002688

    I posted the above link on a thread discussing open ICU visitation on another thread:
    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthre...1&page=6&pp=10

    I would definitely say that every nurse should carry malpractice insurance (even student nurses). There are so many obstacles that nurses face every day in the workplace. Our licenses are always on the line.



    So what are you saying? Too bad to the person and people who suffer due to a licensed professional's negligence? This is skirting accountability and borders on unethical.

    Listen, if someone's negligence results in the maiming or death of me or someone I know, I EXPECT the responsible person to be held accountable. In this circumstance, you can't bring back a dead loved one and you can't undo permanent damage. The only thing left is monetary compensation.
    1. Yes, I'm an RN.

    2. I'm giving advice to any nurses who choose to heed it.

    3. A disclaimer for what exactly?

    4. As to "skirting accountability," please read my first post again, in which I encourage professional behavior, keeping up-to-date professionally, and not doing things we are not competent to do.

    Jim Huffman, RN

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