MALPRACTICE INSURANCE: FAQS - page 3

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   elkpark
    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?
    Well, yes, the whole point of the insurance companies is for them to make a big profit, otherwise, they wouldn't be offering the insurance. Like every other kind of insurance, the company carefully calculates how many lawsuits it is likely to be involved in each year, what the average payout/settlement is likely to be, how much they can charge for the annual premium without pricing themselves out of the market, and probably many other factors I can't think of offhand. Your auto insurance company is making big profits off selling you auto insurance, but you still carry the insurance, right? My auto and homeowner's insurance companies are making much bigger profits off me than NSO is, but I still pay for the coverage every year ...

    I consider it the best $89 bucks I spend each year. If I were involved in any kind of legal matter related to nursing and had to hire my own attorney, the first hour would cost me more than $89. My standard NSO policy (which I've carried for 20 years now) covers me while I'm at work, covers me for any extra nursing I do anywhere else (whether a second job or volunteer work), covers me for any appearances before the BON, and covers me (pays for legal representation) if I'm called as a witness or deposed in someone else's lawsuit.

    I've worked for the last several years as a hospital surveyor/inspector for my state and the Feds. A big part of the job was investigating complaints and unusual/suspicious deaths, and I've personally seen, more times than I can count, that the first thing a hospital does when something goes terribly wrong is to point to the staff nurse, say, "It was all HER/HIS fault!" and immediately fire that person to show how vigilant they are about maintaining the highest standards of care ... Well, if there's going to be a lawsuit and that nurse doesn't have her/his own insurance and was relying on being covered through the hospital's policy, s/he is screwed. The coverage under the hospital's policy ended the moment the hospital fired her/him, and there's no insurance company on earth that will sell you a policy to cover something that already happened ... So, whatever happens, whether it's a lawsuit or "just" having to go before the Board and defend your license, you're entirely on your own, and paying for legal representation out of pocket.

    My father is an MD (now long retired), and his advice to me in nursing school was to never even consider practicing without my own liability coverage -- and everything I've heard and seen in the 20 years since then has only convinced me further that was the right advice.
  2. by   mscsrjhm
    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
    Becky,
    I bow to your common sense. This has been my beef for years.
    Yes, they are making money off nurses' fears. Massive bucks. Odd isn't it that insurance companies are so involved in the nursing student's world? Seminars, educational classes. They want to catch them young and early, to continue to collect millions of dollars.
    It is amazing how nurses will gladly ask for advice from experienced nurses, even seeking out those that they know have that specific experience. However, when it comes to malpractice insurance, they will not listen to any nurse who has experience in the legal field.
    As one with experience in both health and legal fields....I would ask you to keep your money in your pocket. Hate to see hard working people propaganda'd (new word) out of their cash.
    Seek out posts from Mr. Huffman. He can explain it so well. Obviously from both a legal and health field experience.

    Mschrisco
  3. by   gwenith
    Australia is less litigious than America and it has, I believe stronger vicarious liability laws but ALL our unions offer professional indemnity cover as part of your union dues. Why? Because for years no insurance company in Australia would write out a policy - they maintained there was not the market for it.

    Is it worth it - you better believe it is. There have been some very solid cases here that have been covered well with the legal representation.

    Following the argument that if people know you are covered by insurance then you are more likely to be sued we should be at a higher risk of being sued than our US counterparts (given the different rates of litigation) but that is not happening. I think that in itself proves this is a strawman argument.

    I firmly believe that having liability cover be part of your Union is a good thing as it also assists the union to take action AS A PROFESSIONAL BODY. If you are unfairly treated you can go to the union and they then have the capacity not just to assist you with negotions but to access legal advice and representation.

    It makes for a powerful package on your side.
  4. by   ZASHAGALKA
    I bit the bullet and bought malpractice insurance for the first time in my 12 yr career.

    I bought from proliability.com under a deal with AACN that provides 2,000,000 incident/4,000,000 total for 94.00/yr.

    NSO offered me 100,000/300,000 at 240/yr on their website.

    I don't know much about proliability except that it was recommended by Amer Assoc of Critical-Care Nurses.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  5. by   grannynurse FNP student
    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.

    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
    I hate to tell you this Jim, you can and are name, in suits, even without insurance. And without insurance, you have to pay for your own attorney, out of your own pocket. And even if the suit is found to be unwarrented, it can take more then one or two years for it to be dismissed, during which time you are paying for that attorney. I was sued and it took me 18 months to have the case dismissed as unwarrented. Fortunately, I had had my own insurance. Insurance that provided an attorney to protect my interests.

    Grannynurse
  6. by   RainDreamer
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    I bought from proliability.com under a deal with AACN that provides 2,000,000 incident/4,000,000 total for 94.00/yr.

    NSO offered me 100,000/300,000 at 240/yr on their website.
    The proliability is obviously the better deal then ..... I'm so confused as to what I should go with. It sounds like so many others use the NSO.

    I guess I just need to research it more. I feel so ignorant about all this.

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