Personal malpractice insurance....yes or no? - page 7

We had this discussion at work the other day. One of the points against it was that lawyers will go for the person(s) with the most malpractice insurance. Also I know, I've been told that the... Read More

  1. by   James Huffman
    The reality is that attorneys go after individuals who have assets which are available. In most such lawsuits, the attorney makes money as a percentage of the damages collected against the one sued.

    So, if damages are won of, say, $600,000, the attorney might get 1/3 of that: $200,000. (This would depend on how things were originally worked out with the one doing the suing, the plaintiff).

    The attorney is going to first have to lay out money to try the case. Money for the attorney's time, money for expert witnesses, money for investigation, etc.

    Let's say you make a sue-able error, and a patient wants to sue you. Let's also say that you -- like many reading this board -- aren't rich. Let's say you live pretty much from paycheck-to-paycheck. Why would the attorney agree to take your case? The suit might be one the attorney could easily win. But there's nothing to seize, and the court's not going to order you into slavery or something.

    The court could rule against you for millions, but if you don't have the money/assets, the plaintiff doesn't get anything besides the satisfaction of knowing they were right. And the attorney gets nothing for his/her time.

    Attorneys are usually (like most of us) out to make money. They are not doing their work as a cause. If you have essentially nothing of value, why on earth would they sue you?

    If you have malpractice insurance, suddenly you have instant assets.

    A trial is no fun. It is a headache, your name will -- rightly or wrongly -- be dragged through the mud, and many people will assume you are guilty, even if you aren't.

    Most nurses I know would prefer to avoid that. It's why I have no malpractice insurance. And it's why -- unless a nurse has assets bigger than what most people have -- I suggest that others do the same.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  2. by   Havin' A Party!
    Quote from James Huffman
    ... If you have essentially nothing of value, why on earth would they sue you?...
    Think we've been there already.

    Bob Dylan said it best: "When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose."
  3. by   mscsrjhm
    Thanks J. Huffman.

    If nurses will listen to experienced nurses for medical/nursing advice, why won't nurses listen to people experienced in the legal field?

    Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

    What is that saying... "fool some of the people some of the time..."

    I should definitely invest money in insurance companies...evidently fear + misleading info = money.
  4. by   James Huffman
    I think that's the beauty of the internet.

    I can look (as I have) on the net, and find that -- statistically speaking -- nurses never get sued. And on the basis of that, I don't feel that 99% of nurses NEED malpractice insurance, even if it were not a lawyer magnet.

    But malpractice insurance does attract the lawyers. I don't begrudge attorneys their living, I just think we have too many of them. So I am quite happy to do things -- like not buying malpractice insurance -- that will make sure that attorneys have to find more productive ways to make a living.

    Insurance companies make their business from insuring against risk. And the higher the risk, the greater the insurance premium. So, given those 2 factors, why is malpractice insurance such a bargain? (Around $100 a year for most nurses).

    The answer, of course, is because there is almost no risk. Statistically speaking, there's about the same amount of risk of your being hit by a meteor. And, statistically speaking, neither event (lawsuit or meteor hit) are going to happen.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  5. by   rainbows4me
    The very large facility I work for is a not-for-profit - and they actually are self-insured. How does this change the insurance issue? I know (after talking to the house attorney) that the max payout from the hospital is $25,000 (not-for-profit cap of some type). My thought about this would be that an individual with insurance would be even more appealing to a money-hunting attorney if an incident occured in this facility because of the lack of payout available from the institution. Is this a logical way of thinking? Moving forward with this logic, however, I question then if my assetts ($100,000 equity in my home) suddenly becomes more appealing as well when the facility can only produce $25,000. I tend to be of the 'no insurance' camp, but do admit that I am struggling with the possible reality vs. theoretical probability.

    Thanks!
  6. by   mscsrjhm
    Quote from rainbows4me
    The very large facility I work for is a not-for-profit - and they actually are self-insured. How does this change the insurance issue? I know (after talking to the house attorney) that the max payout from the hospital is $25,000 (not-for-profit cap of some type). My thought about this would be that an individual with insurance would be even more appealing to a money-hunting attorney if an incident occured in this facility because of the lack of payout available from the institution. Is this a logical way of thinking? Moving forward with this logic, however, I question then if my assetts ($100,000 equity in my home) suddenly becomes more appealing as well when the facility can only produce $25,000. I tend to be of the 'no insurance' camp, but do admit that I am struggling with the possible reality vs. theoretical probability.
    Quote from rainbows4me

    Thanks!


    Many non-for-profit carry only the law-appointed amount of insurance in order to become less appealing. One of the first questions asked of potential clients is whether the facility was not-for-profit. Some had very definite cases of med/mal/neg, but couldn't find an attorney to take the case.

    100,000$ equity in your home is nothing to worry about. It would take an attorney many years to get a judgement, along with thousands of his own money, and then what guarantees the attorney that he would get any judgement or money? There is no guarantee... this is why it just isn't done. Besides, you could go through the 100,000 defending yourself. Attorneys know this. If attorneys ran their firms with "maybe's", they would go bankrupt.

    Remember, litigation continues regarding three mile island.
    Last edit by mscsrjhm on Aug 24, '04
  7. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Yes. It's only $26. per year for excellent coverage. Surprisingly, nursing malpractice insurance was available as part of my homeowners' ins policy.
  8. by   mscsrjhm
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    Yes. It's only $26. per year for excellent coverage. Surprisingly, nursing malpractice insurance was available as part of my homeowners' ins policy.


    Not surprising. Insurance company is out to make $$$, they will clip on every extra that won't end up costing them anything.
  9. by   laughing weasel
    30 years = 3,000 dollars. One case perfectly innocent lawyers fees= 2000+. I plan on getting it as soon as I am no longer a student.
  10. by   CrunchRN
    I have carried NSO for 10 years, but just dropped it because it went up to $280.00 year from $87.00 year. My question is this - have any nurses out there been sued and would they tell us their story (in general - no details)?.
  11. by   Havin' A Party!
    Amazing what some people here will write. Attorneys ignoring $100 K in home equity alone, never mind other potential sources of revenue streams. Ridiculous.

    No doubt the folks here will use their common sense and protect themselves.
  12. by   mscsrjhm
    Quote from LarryG
    Amazing what some people here will write. Attorneys ignoring $100 K in home equity
    Quote from LarryG
    alone, never mind other potential sources of revenue streams. Ridiculous.

    No doubt the folks here will use their common sense and protect themselves.


    No doubt you have very little to no experience in the legal field, or you would know what it costs to sue someone. Ridiculous? No.
    Misinformation? Yes.
    Other potential sources of revenue? So, an attorney would spend 75 thou or more on a civil action, WHICH he might not win, to obtain what amount of money? are you talking about wages? Ha. A person would just quit working. No law against that.
    So many experts with no information.
  13. by   Havin' A Party!
    Ridiculous? Absolutely!

    $75 K to sue an individual... again, generally ridiculous.

    Oh, but I forget. Per the above poster, attorneys don't sue individuals. That one was just brilliant!

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