Understanding Nurse Liability report

  1. 6 I receive these very interesting updates periodically and thought they might be of good general interest, to contribute to the recurrent "losing my license!!" and "should I have malpractice insurance?" threads.


    "The report offers nurses...greater insight into malpractice claims as well as licensing board actions brought against their colleagues and facilities. ... Surveys were conducted using practitioners having experienced a professional liability claim along with those who did not to compare factors which may have contributed to increased exposure.

    Understanding Nurse Liability, 2006-2010: A Three-Part Approach (Full Report)
    Understanding Nurse Liability, 2006-2010: A Three-Part Approach (Summary)
    This three-part report covers professional liability claims, licensing protection claims and selected samples from the NSO 2011 Qualitative Nurse Work Profile Survey.
    Highlights of the report include:
    • Professional Liability Claims: Over $83 million was paid in indemnity (judgments and settlements) and expenses on behalf of nurses during the study period, realizing an average total incurred of $204,594 per claim.
    • License Protection Claims: Fifty-seven percent of RNs who experienced a license defense paid claim worked in a hospital while 56% of LPN/LVNs worked in an aging services setting.
    • Nurse Work Profile Survey: The number of claims significantly increased, the longer respondents worked as nurses. The highest percentage involved respondents who had worked more than 21 years as a nurse."

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  3. Visit  GrnTea profile page

    About GrnTea, BSN, MSN, RN

    GrnTea has 'since Florence was a probie' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'legal, teaching, LCP, CM'. From 'out in the country'; Joined Apr '11; Posts: 10,905; Likes: 25,606.

    16 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  Wise Woman RN profile page
    Very thought-provoking article. Thank you..
    Firestarter_RN likes this.
  5. Visit  Ginger's Mom profile page
    Thank you for sharing very interesting.
  6. Visit  amygarside profile page
    Thank you for sharing this important piece of information.
  7. Visit  shamrokks profile page
    Most employers carry malpractice on their nurses...you may want to check into it with them. If not you can get a policy for fairly cheap.
  8. Visit  Jacktastic profile page
    I remember being told once that simply having malpractice insurance, makes you vulnerable as a deep pocket. It's still my precluding fear.
  9. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    Not true at all. First, the hospital or practices malpractice must pony up the money for a claim. It is only if it goes over a certain amt (Usually set by the state) that your malpractice would kick in. This is YOUR protection - your employer is NOT going to go to the BON with you if you have a complaint, they are not into protecting YOU once the malpractice claim is settled. If any money is paid on your behalf, the BON gets a notification and your license is then subject to discipline. Your employers malpractice insurance stops once their portion of the suit is settled. They are not going to give a hoot what the BON does or does not do to your license.
    Wise Woman RN, GrnTea, and shamrokks like this.
  10. Visit  GrnTea profile page
    Quote from Jacktastic
    I remember being told once that simply having malpractice insurance, makes you vulnerable as a deep pocket. It's still my precluding fear.

    This is the biggest misconception there is about having insurance. It is total nonsense. My dad was an insurance exec for years and insured a lot of hospitals. He made me get insurance the day I graduated and I've had it, in one form or another, ever since. One thing I learned was that if the hospital's insurer has to pay a claim because of something you did, they are perfectly within their legal rights to turn around and recover their loss from YOU, and no amount of verbiage from the hospital about what a nice person you are is going to stop them.

    Never, never, never, never go without your own insurance. It will also pay for your own attorney-- do NOT believe for one minute that the hospital's law firm cares about you. They will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat if it saves the hospital's interest, since you do not pay them and as above, the insurer will go after you anyway and they know it. They will also defend you at the BON if needed-- and they will do an excellent job, because they work for YOUR insurance.
    Wise Woman RN likes this.
  11. Visit  somenurse profile page
    Quote from shamrokks
    Most employers carry malpractice on their nurses...you may want to check into it with them. If not you can get a policy for fairly cheap.

    A long time ago, i was actually a defendant in a lawsuit. I never met the patient, never got report on the patient, wasn't my patient, but, i did answer the code, and i was working on the floor when the patient committed suicide in a hospital, so my name was included in the patient's family's lawsuit. Their complaint had nothing to do with the code itself, nor how it was run,
    but, on the fact the patient was not protected from suicide while in a hospital. It was unknown the patient was suicidal, he was in for a gall bladder removal.

    Horribly upsetting for all.
    I remember that night clearly, all staff nurses were replaced by other nurses who'd been scraped out the float pool, or called in from home. The hospital top dogs and their LAWYERS all arrived to help us document the event.

    Years later, I move to another state, and later, to yet another state. I move a lot. More years and years pass. I think it was about 10 or 15 years later, i am working in the ER in another state,
    and some sherriff arrives, says he wants to talk to me, alone. He asks if there is some quiet room we can go to to talk.
    He looks rather sick and worried.

    Instantly, my heart is racing. My teenagers, are both driving cars now, where are they? My mind is racing, well, they rarely drive out of our own town, and they are not in THIS E.R., so they are dead? Are my kids dead? Is it my dad? Has he had an accident? Is it my sweetie, did he have some heart attack or something? Who is hurt, who is hurt? I have no words to describe to you, the state of absolute terror i had gotten myself into by the time this sherriff and i got to the "quiet room" of the ER, where families whose relatives are dead,
    are told their family member is dead.

    The sheriff stalls, and stutters around, trying to get his words out. Finally, he says, "You are a defendant in a negligent homicide case by some patient." and hands me the paper work. I was SO RELIEVED my kids are not dead somewhere, i cried out, "That's it? I am being given some paperwork for a court case? OH WONDERFUL!!" and i wanted to hug that guy.

    he was baffled at my joyous reaction to being sued, til i explained what *I* had been imagining he'd come to tell me. Made a bunch of legal papers seem not so bad! ha. this sheriff later told me, his wife was a nurse, and it seemed a horrible thing to him, so he was nervous how i'd react to such a paper.

    My old hospital payed for my entire trip back, all my expenses, and paid for our lawyer, and it was rather fun to see everyone again, like a re-union,
    and we were all amazed at the stories our lawyer, who specializes in DEFENDING nurses (hard to find that kind of lawyer) told us of other cases against nurses that he'd defended. Amazing stories.

    We had a jury trial which lasted several days. I had to testify, it was kinda scarey, but, our lawyer had given us tips on how to answer questions, and i had done nothing wrong.

    Everyone involved was found to be innocent.
    anyway, i was not only found innocent, i was found "not involved"/charges dropped completely, and the judge even admonished them for including me at all.
    so most of the time, depending on the way it is worded on employee applications, or BON applications, i can often say no to such questions.
    Last edit by somenurse on Dec 28, '12
    shamrokks and GrnTea like this.
  12. Visit  somenurse profile page
    i can't actually recall now, what the charge against me was, negligent homicide is probably wrong, but, it was something that sounded very dreadful.
  13. Visit  shamrokks profile page
    Quote from Jean Marie46514
    i can't actually recall now, what the charge against me was, negligent homicide is probably wrong, but, it was something that sounded very dreadful.
    That's such an awful charge. I'm so glad that it worked out in your favor. It is so scary to think of the legal aspect of healthcare from a nurses point of view.
    somenurse likes this.
  14. Visit  somenurse profile page
    Quote from shamrokks
    That's such an awful charge. I'm so glad that it worked out in your favor. It is so scary to think of the legal aspect of healthcare from a nurses point of view.

    so was i! It turns out, they apparently had been postponing the case til they tracked me down. They finally amped up their efforts to locate me, as some kind of statute of limitations was approaching. Not all states have such limitations, especially not for suing nurses (doctors, yes, often are statutes of limitations to sue them, but for nurses, no, in some states, you can still sue the nurse who helped deliver you at birth...decades ago!!!!).

    I'm not sure why they had trouble tracking me down, but, they did. Each state i'd lived in temporarily, i'd let my that state's license expire, when i moved away again,
    but, still, my state of original licensure had paperwork indicating my most recent application, (maybe they can't just tell anyone who asks?)
    still, they said they had a bit of trouble tracking me down, which i found amazing. It was a long time ago, though, but still, hard to believe it'd be hard to find me,
    even just by tracking my SS# or something.

    In my deposition, (sworn testimony in some office, NOT the court case itself)
    the other lawyer tried so so hard to make hay out of my frequent moves, trying to make it seem i was running away from one dead patient after another,
    although i stayed in that first state for years after, and was not involved in any other court cases ever, still,
    it was kinda creepy how hard he tried to make THAT seem very very bad. I could have easily explained each and every move, "well, we moved to this next state, for my husbands education at so&so university" or "my husband got transferred" etc etc,
    my lawyer had instructed me to give as short of answer as possible, and offer nothing that is not specifically asked. Like, if the other lawyer asks, "Do you have an apple?" don't add that you also have an orange too, kinda thing,
    so they tried hard to make me out as some kind of problem nurse since i moved so often.

    BUT, at the actual court case, my lawyer said i can now explain each move, if i am asked why we moved so often. And the other lawyer DID ask, "and then, after this event, YOU moved across the country, didn't you!?"
    but now, my lawyer said i could explain when he said such things.

    took a lotta air outa the other lawyer that i had such reasonable answers....nothing sinister about it, at all.

    Oh, the other lawyer tried all kinds of dirty moves, all kinds of horrible questions and accusations at all of us, tried very hard to make us out as horrible.
    Last edit by somenurse on Dec 28, '12
    GrnTea likes this.
  15. Visit  somenurse profile page
    Our lawyer told us of a case, where he had defended some very tiny nurse, who was being sued,
    cuz her patient, who was in police custody, but not handcuffed to the bed for some reason,
    jumped up, escaped the ER, and ran outside, and knocked out someone to steal their car to get away. <---this car owner is the one sueing the nurse.

    i know, i know, what was the tiny nurse supposed to do to stop this guy? sue the police maybe, but, sue the NURSE? what?

    oh, he had all kinds of crazy stories of various cases....

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