Malpractice insurance?

  1. Hello everyone,
    I was wondering what everyone thought about personal malpractice insurance. I have heard pros and cons about holding your own insurance. I just don't know which way to go. Any thoughts on the subject? I work in the ER if that makes any difference. Maybe a higher liability area? I don't know... Any comments to help me decide would be appreciated. Thanks!!

    enguin:
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   royr
    Quote from nursequeenie
    Hello everyone,
    I was wondering what everyone thought about personal malpractice insurance. I have heard pros and cons about holding your own insurance. I just don't know which way to go. Any thoughts on the subject? I work in the ER if that makes any difference. Maybe a higher liability area? I don't know... Any comments to help me decide would be appreciated. Thanks!!

    enguin:
    My school requires all of us students to pay for personal malpractice insurance. They bill it as part of our tuition and we are not allowed to do clinical experiences without having it. There must be a good reason for it if they insist that students with no income incure this additional expense and higher debt before we are even compensated for our labor as employees. It can't hurt you to have insurance, especially if you own a car or a home.
  4. by   TazziRN
    That's because as a student you would not be assisted by the hospital or your instructor's insurance if sued.

    Yes, it's a good idea to have your own insurance, Nursing Services Organization is one of the best known carriers. If you are sued your employer may or may not assist you with legal defense, but even if they do they will help only enough to protect their interests. You need to have someone protecting YOUR interests.

    Last month's issue of Nursing 2006 had an excellent article about why you should carry your own insurance and what to do if sued.
  5. by   flowerchick
    Ditto what Tazzi said. I carry the malpractice insurance through NSO and if you are a new grad, you get 50% off the first year. I'll take the peace of mind for 48.00!
  6. by   nursequeenie
    Ok, here is another silly question. I have "heard" that you are more apt to be sued if they know you have insurance. I personally think that sounds rather silly, but I thought I would toss that out there to be sure....

    Oh and by the way, thanks for the information of where to get insurance.
    Much appreciated.
  7. by   TazziRN
    Not true. How would pts have any idea if you have insurance or not?
  8. by   mscsrjhm
    Attorneys do hope that nurses carry individual insurance. They do not pick and choose defendents according to insurance coverage, but list all staff involved and work with all insurance' companies involved.
    Many states have caps that limit the amount plaintiffs can receive. If this cap is $350,000, then that $$ will be taken from the physician and nurses' insurance. If a physician is involved, his insurance would probably cover the cap- if more than one company is involved- they would fight it out amongst themselves. However, I don't believe there is a hospital liability cap. So, hospital, physician, and nursing staff are named in the suit. Once the nurses contact their insurance companies, then those companies get in touch with the plaintiffs.
    Federal courts do not have the cap. Many claims are filed in this system to avoid the cap.
    No one is going to take your car, house, furniture, pets, or the clothes on your back if you don't have insurance. Doesn't happen.
    There are lots of misunderstandings, promoted by the insurance companies- which graciously provide numerous helpful classes, seminars, CEU courses, and are very involved in the world of student nursing (can anyone say propaganda?)
    It really isn't much money to spend if it makes you feel more secure. But, it isn't necessary.
  9. by   barbyann
    Don't have it, won't buy it, not worried about it.
  10. by   doris66
    Most places cover you for malpractice up to 5,000,000 per occurance. If you carry your own insurance you are more likely to be named individually in a law suit. Lawyers will find this out.
  11. by   TheCommuter
    I work at a nursing home. Personally, I carry a malpractice insurance policy with limits of $1 million per incident and $6 million aggregate. My nursing home wouldn't support me if a lawsuit were to ever arise, so I carry my own insurance. I wouldn't want to lose my house, car, savings, and investments because I was too cheap to pay $100 per year for a malpractice insurance policy.

    You can and will still be named in a lawsuit even if you do not carry insurance. Lawyers can find other ways to suck money out of you. They'll take your house, retirement account, savings, checking, car(s) and anything that will net some cash.
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Aug 17, '06
  12. by   mscsrjhm
    In reality, lawyers won't take you personal possessions. Doesn't happen. Insurance is where their money lies. Even low life, smarmy, ambulance chasers don't go after working class joes- no money in it.
    Personally, I don't carry it- however, due to hospital issues re my grandson, a hospital, physician, and two nurses are soon to receive notice of a lawsuit.
    Many states have malpractice caps- most of the damages will be taken from the physician's insurance.
    However, federal actions are another story-there are no caps.
  13. by   elkpark
    The discussions/debates about individual professional liability insurance on this board always focus on a nurse's (admittedly slim) chances of being included in a malpractice suit, but there's more to the issue than that. Most nursing professional liability insurance policies include coverage for legal representation if you're called before the BON for any sort of disciplinary action against your license -- you're much more likely to find yourself in that situation at some point in your career than you are to be sued for malpractice. Also, many (most?) policies include coverage for legal representation if you're called to be deposed or testify as a witness in a malpractice suit.

    If you choose to "go bareback" (without your own insurance) because you just don't think insurance is necessary as a nurse, period, that's certainly your choice to make and I'm not going to try to change your mind. However, if you are not buying your own coverage because you believe that you are protected by your employer's insurance, I urge you to think again!

    I've worked for several years as a hospital surveyor/investigator for my state and the Feds, and I cannot tell you how many times I have personally witnessed hospitals/facilities attempt to avoid responsibility/liability for a bad outcome (suspicious patient death, serious injury, etc.), either in terms of getting cited by the state or Feds for deficient practice or in terms of a potential lawsuit by patient/family members, by scapegoating a particular nurse (who, often, hadn't done anything worse than just be the RN who happened to be caring for that patient on that shift) and, as a pre-emptive and self-protective gesture, promptly firing her/him. If you were to find yourself in that unfortunate situation, 1) the moment the hospital blames and fires you, you're no longer covered under their policy, and 2) no insurance company on earth will sell you a policy to cover you for an event/incident that has already occurred -- so you, as the nurse, are left out in the cold, completely on your own. If you do end up needing an attorney for any reason connected to the incident, whether it's being named in a suit, having to go before the BON (guess what else the hospital does at the same time they fire you, to reinforce their claim that you're a BAD NURSE and it (whatever "it" was) was all your fault????), or just being called as a witness in a case against the physician and/or hospital, you're going to have to pay for that person out of your own pocket, and just the first hour of consultation will cost you more than the annual premium for your own coverage would have ...

    For me, it's a no-brainer -- best $100 (roughly) I spend every year. My father, a physician, advised me 'way back when I was in nursing school to never think about practicing without my own liability coverage, and everything I've seen over the >20 years I've been in nursing has just reinforced for me the wisdom of that advice.
  14. by   TheCommuter
    In addition, I know of a nurse who was sued successfully after her workplace blamed a patient injury on her. She did not carry personal insurance and was no longer covered by her hospital's policy. The lawsuit arose back in the late 1970s; however, her wages are still being garnished almost thirty years later. Nearly $300 is taken from each paycheck she receives. This nurse would never have had to worry about her wages being garnished if she had carried her own malpractice insurance policy.

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