MALPRACTICE INSURANCE: FAQS - page 2

MALPRACTICE INSURANCE: FAQS Should you have your own policy even if you're covered by your employer? Gold Sheet 4(2) 2002 Carolyn Burpee RN, JD Free registration required: Although this... Read More

  1. by   Judee Smudee
    Thankyou for the information. I have more questions requarding this subject than any other.
  2. by   James Huffman
    Quote from caroladybelle
    Ditto
    Sigh.

    The point I made in the article, of course, is that no one is going to "sell you out" if there's nothing to get. It's explained in some detail, if someone is inclined to read it.

    Think logically, folks.

    If someone wants malpractice insurance, that's their call. However, by taking out the policy, a nurse immediately acquires deep pockets of their own, and render themselves far more open to lawsuits.

    No lawyer is going to sue someone or some thing which has minimal assets. The lawyer is not there to prove a point: he hopes to make some money off of the case.

    I have no beef with lawyers wanting to make money. I just don't want them making it off of me.

    As an earlier post rightly noted, problems with a BON are FAR more likely than a lawsuit. If you feel the need to worry about legal problems, that's the one to fear.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  3. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from James Huffman
    If someone wants malpractice insurance, that's their call. However, by taking out the policy, a nurse immediately acquires deep pockets of their own, and render themselves far more open to lawsuits.

    No lawyer is going to sue someone or some thing which has minimal assets. The lawyer is not there to prove a point: he hopes to make some money off of the case.
    I've always been an opponent of insurance for the reasons you listed.

    But I went to a lecture on the topic at Amer Assoc of Critical Care Nurses annual conference this past May on the topic.

    This is what was discussed.

    1. As said, check that your policy provides coverage for BON issues (possibly even representation at a local peer review proceeding) - a policy is worth it for that alone.

    2. Nobody can know (unless you tell them) that you have insurance. The only way to find out is through discovery - and that means that you are already party to a suit. Having insurance can't protect you from being sued, it's the proverbial deep pocket after you've already been sued.

    3. Either you're culpable or not. If you are, the hospital isn't going to be dropped from the suit, so neither are you. If you aren't, it will be difficult to keep you as a party to a suit, deep pocket or not. While it's true that attys name everybody to see who has a pocket, they also name everybody so that you can be deposed without additional effort on their part.

    4. Regardless whether the hospital atty claims to represent you or not, s/he represents the hospital first. That atty only represents you so long as your interests directly align with the hospital's. Think long and hard about that: Do you want your interest in a major legal event to be represented by an attorney who's CHIEF job is to best represent another party at the table and to only represent you, if in doing so, it doesn't compromise a potentially competing interest?

    5. A good insurance carrier can and will provide you with an attorney that specializes in dealing with cases involving nurses. They will have the knowledge to look at the record in ways that specifically benefit you. This is in direct contradiction to entrusting your defense to a hospital atty who may or may not care about that focus.

    6. If you are culpable, lawsuits exist for a reason. If you make a mistake and it costs somebody something that money can't replace, aren't you being a professional by having the insurance to be the deep pocket to help cover that mistake??? People put their lives in your hands everyday. Would you take your child to that daycare if you knew that they had no way for you to recover expenses for something that happened to your child while in their care? We all think of lawsuits as avoiding being 'screwed over by the system' but what about the case where the lawsuit is completely justified? We aren't perfect.

    This is the way it was represented to me: Yes, having insurance may slightly increase the risk of your name being carried forward in a lawsuit (but won't affect at all the risk of actually being sued, unless you disclose that you have insurance prior to being sued), but the attys know that it does no good to have you stay on the suit unless they can prove some culpability (the public loves nurses) - and if they can prove culpability, you aren't likely to be dropped in any case (got to keep you to keep the hospital on the hook). Either way, on balance, you are much better represented having your own 'dog in the fight'.

    And finally, the best insurance (after you've paid your premium) is positive relationships with patients and family. The atty at the lecture quoted several statistics that said people were much, much less likely to sue somebody with whom they felt they had had a good relationship.

    As a result of that lecture, for the first time in my 12 yr career, I'm currently looking at insurance plans.

    Hope this helps,
    faith,
    Timothy.
  4. by   grannynurse FNP student
    In response to your question, I strongly recommend the occurance coverage. I was sued approximately one year after I was seriously injured. I had to allow my coverage to laspe. Without the occurance coverage, I would have been out of luck and out of gas. The suit was dismissed, with prejudice, after a year of court shannigans.

    Grannynurse
  5. by   caroladybelle
    Quote from James Huffman
    Sigh.

    The point I made in the article, of course, is that no one is going to "sell you out" if there's nothing to get. It's explained in some detail, if someone is inclined to read it.

    Think logically, folks.
    If someone wants malpractice insurance, that's their call. However, by taking out the policy, a nurse immediately acquires deep pockets of their own, and render themselves far more open to lawsuits.
    No lawyer is going to sue someone or some thing which has minimal assets. The lawyer is not there to prove a point: he hopes to make some money off of the case.
    As an earlier post rightly noted, problems with a BON are FAR more likely than a lawsuit. If you feel the need to worry about legal problems, that's the one to fear.
    And a "sigh" of my own.

    Lawsuits frequently have little to do with logic. Everyone that is named in the medical record generally will get called in on a case, nice to the patient or not...insurance or not.

    Of the people I have known involved in suits at one time or another, insurance or not made little difference in whether they were sued. The malpractice insurance did make a difference in whether they had money for adequate representation on their behalf rather than representation through the facility...which has its own interests to serve, not necessarily the nurse.

    Some people on this BB believe that malpractice insurance helps the nurse and some believes that it harms the nurse. And you will probably find stories on both sides of the issue. Most of us have seen both sides of the issue.

    But please do not condescend and think that we "have not read" the article...it is just that we have seen both sides of the issue.
  6. by   James Huffman
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    I've always been an opponent of insurance for the reasons you listed.

    But I went to a lecture on the topic at Amer Assoc of Critical Care Nurses annual conference this past May on the topic

    6. If you are culpable, lawsuits exist for a reason. If you make a mistake and it costs somebody something that money can't replace, aren't you being a professional by having the insurance to be the deep pocket to help cover that mistake??? People put their lives in your hands everyday. Would you take your child to that daycare if you knew that they had no way for you to recover expenses for something that happened to your child while in their care? We all think of lawsuits as avoiding being 'screwed over by the system' but what about the case where the lawsuit is completely justified? We aren't perfect.

    And finally, the best insurance (after you've paid your premium) is positive relationships with patients and family. The atty at the lecture quoted several statistics that said people were much, much less likely to sue somebody with whom they felt they had had a good relationship.

    As a result of that lecture, for the first time in my 12 yr career, I'm currently looking at insurance plans.

    Hope this helps,
    faith,
    Timothy.
    Thanks for some very good and thoughtful input.

    Others have mentioned before about wanting to cover damage done by our mistakes. A couple of thoughts, however:

    1. In the first place, the insurance is not going to kick in without a trial (or at least an out-of-court settlement). So, basically, one's malpractice carrier is going to fight AGAINST the injured party, seeking to limit what the person will get, or keep them from getting it at all. Malpractice insurance is not a means of charity; it's in essence a fight between you (at least through the insurance company) and the person who's suing, whether the claim is legit or not.

    2. Secondly, damages are seldom cut and dried. In other words, an injury or damage might be caused by any number of actions or omissions, and the insurance company will seek to determine that. If a nurse wants to fall down and plead total accountability for a damage, that's their call, but it's not usually that simple.

    As to the positive relationships, I completely agree with you on that. Of course, a nurse should not develop those positive relationships because of a fear of a lawsuit, but cultivating friendly, positive, professional relationships with clients and their families will make us better nurses, help those we are caring for, not to mention helping to avoid a suit.

    Thanks again for your good thoughts. Even if you are thinking about buying malpractice insurance. :chuckle

    Jim Huffman, RN
  7. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from James Huffman
    Thanks for some very good and thoughtful input.

    Others have mentioned before about wanting to cover damage done by our mistakes. A couple of thoughts, however:

    1. In the first place, the insurance is not going to kick in without a trial (or at least an out-of-court settlement). So, basically, one's malpractice carrier is going to fight AGAINST the injured party, seeking to limit what the person will get, or keep them from getting it at all. Malpractice insurance is not a means of charity; it's in essence a fight between you (at least through the insurance company) and the person who's suing, whether the claim is legit or not.

    2. Secondly, damages are seldom cut and dried. In other words, an injury or damage might be caused by any number of actions or omissions, and the insurance company will seek to determine that. If a nurse wants to fall down and plead total accountability for a damage, that's their call, but it's not usually that simple.

    As to the positive relationships, I completely agree with you on that. Of course, a nurse should not develop those positive relationships because of a fear of a lawsuit, but cultivating friendly, positive, professional relationships with clients and their families will make us better nurses, help those we are caring for, not to mention helping to avoid a suit.

    Thanks again for your good thoughts. Even if you are thinking about buying malpractice insurance. :chuckle

    Jim Huffman, RN
    Excuse me, my insurance company did kick in, just as soon as I notified them I was being sued. I do not understand your comment. I should hope the MY insurance company is going to fight for me, that is what I am paying them to do. I do not expect them to go quietly into the night and pay out the big bucks. And you are incorrect, it is a fight between the attorneys, not me and the patient. It is the attorney that files the suit. It is the attorney that comes after me. And not all suits are warrented. I was sued because a client failed to obtain a certification. Actually the university would not give it to her because the WC company hadn't completely paid her tuition. I was sued because her attorney maintained I SHOULD HAVE PAID IT. Me, her case manager and rehab nurse. By your estmitation, they should have paid because she was wronged. And by they, I mean my insurance company.

    And a lot of times, your employer is looking to limit his damages. And he doesn't give two hoots and a holler about you. One of the major reason's I have always carried my own insurance.

    Grannynurse
  8. by   stormy45
    Thanks a lot for the information. I have always been told that if a nurse has insurance that opens her up for a suit because she has deep pockets, I think this will help me out a lot for my report which is due july 6th.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    This thread ought be a sticky someplace....
  10. by   RainDreamer
    I agree with Deb, can someone sticky this? I did a search for malpractice insurance and had to dig a bit for this thread to come up.

    I just got a thing in the mail today from NSO. It shows that it's $89/year for malpractice insurance ..... not bad at all, and I'll sign up for it. I'm just so confused about all of it. It sounds like the $89/year is what most people have, right? That covers everything we need?

    Thanks for all the great info!
  11. by   dreamlandeals
    link does not work
  12. by   PhoenixGirl
    Forgive me for this question because I'm still a student nurse and haven't researched this issue a lot...

    But doesn't such cheap coverage like that (89/year) mean that it is pretty much highly unlikely that a nurse would ever be sued? I wonder if insurance companies are just trying to make money off of nurses? Because if the likelyhood of being sued is small, but say, at least 50% of nurses have coverage (pulling that number out of thin air), they are making BIG bucks, aren't they?

    Becky
  13. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from PhoenixGirl
    Forgive me for this question because I'm still a student nurse and haven't researched this issue a lot...

    But doesn't such cheap coverage like that (89/year) mean that it is pretty much highly unlikely that a nurse would ever be sued? I wonder if insurance companies are just trying to make money off of nurses? Because if the likelyhood of being sued is small, but say, at least 50% of nurses have coverage (pulling that number out of thin air), they are making BIG bucks, aren't they?

    Becky

    I would agree with this quote:

    As an earlier post rightly noted, problems with a BON are FAR more likely than a lawsuit. If you feel the need to worry about legal problems, that's the one to fear.

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MALPRACTICE INSURANCE: FAQS