nursing lawsuits

  1. recently I went to a nursing legal issue class where we talked about diffrent lawsuits recently that nurses have been faced with.I know of two cases personally of 2 nurses currently in court.It seems with the work load and the increase in responsibilities by nurses and the fact that lawyers now not only go after the hospital,doctor but now are including the nurses that it is a increasing trend to get sued.I dont carry liability insurance on my license and have heard pros and cons on rather to get insurance.What does the panel think and do you see this accuring more in your area?
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Doc
    This is a double sided issue. On the one hand, both the courts and the lawyers that plaintiffs and insurance companies use prefer to sue/award costs against the person with the deepest pockets, meaning that you are last on their list. You are also entitled to free advice and representation from the hospital attorney.

    On the other hand, you can still be sued separately (in addition to the hospital), although I don't know of any cases where this has been done. Where a complaint is made, your state nursing board can be notified and your licensure reviewed. This is more of a concern as it can happen regardless of any legal action.

    You are correct that the number of nurses who have been sued (as well as the number who were successfully sued) have risen in recent years. In my opinion this issue will be addressed in about five years time, when these figures will have further risen and the shortage of nurses will be even more dire. The high risks of getting sued demands a "risk penalty" rate, such as miners get. Doctors already have a high enough pay to be able to purchase professional liability insurance, but few nurses can afford this luxury. Another possibility is that legislation will be passed which directs that liability be matched to the level of responsibility and autonomy the practitioner works under. To some extent this is already happening, but if properly legislated, a RN will no longer be liable under some cases. These are issues we should be writing our senators about right now.
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    In USA, Nursing malpractice insurance costs less than $100.00 for 2 million coverage per year for general nursing. That is affordable by all. I pay $104.00/yr for 4 million thru Maginnis associates, discount due to ANA membership. Have had insurance since 1977 to protect my license/finances but never need to use it. After I complete my FNP training, I've seen policies from $500 to $1,000 depending on area.

    DOON"T depend on the hospital to support YOU in a suit! They can always countersue you.
  5. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    Originally posted by NRSKarenRN:
    <STRONG>In USA, Nursing malpractice insurance costs less than $100.00 for 2 million coverage per year for general nursing. That is affordable by all. I pay $104.00/yr for 4 million thru Maginnis associates, discount due to ANA membership. Have had insurance since 1977 to protect my license/finances but never need to use it. After I complete my FNP training, I've seen policies from $500 to $1,000 depending on area.

    DOON"T depend on the hospital to support YOU in a suit! They can always countersue you.</STRONG>
    There is another policy provider available at http://www.epolicy.com. The carrier is Kemper and for 2mil/5mil, the cost is $100

    chas
  6. by   fiestynurse
    Yes, hospitals generally do go after the "deep pockets", but nurses are being named more and more in lawsuits, especially when there has been what they consider a grossly negligent breach of care or an intentional act of negligence. Nurses have even been criminally charged in some cases.
    The hospital attorney represents the hospital-Period. You will need your own representation if you are named in a lawsuit.
    Don't count on the hospital to come to your rescue. Nursing malpractice insurance is relatively cheap for the amount of coverage that you get. They will assist you if your license is threatened. They will cover your legal expenses. The hospital won't do that. The insurance, NSO, which is advertised on this site is one of the best.
    Many of you have assets (such as your home) and a license to protect. Why risk it?

    [ June 13, 2001: Message edited by: feistynurse ]

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