Fear of Lawsuits

  1. Are there any students out there that are worried about being hit by a lawsuit? Working as a paralegal & seeing & hearing people & the stupid lawsuits they want to file, it started me thinking.

    Teachers have it bad. Some worry about disgruntled kids & their parents fabricating stories about them. Others, have to punish kids who act up & whose parents say that it is up to the teachers to teach them respect. I was just wondering if nurse's or future nurse's worry about the real possiblility of having a lawsuit slapped on them for a mistake them made or didn't make.

    What's your opinion?

    justjenn
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   dosamigos76
    We are required to purchase malpractice/liability insurance. Fortunately, it is only $20 a year. The company has a website that you can check out different states and see what their rates are. They're at http://www.nso.com
    Cheryl
  4. by   VickyRN
    Yes, it is a real concern as we live in a very litigious society. For some people, malpractice claims have become the new national lottery (just look at the plague of sophisticated malpractice lawyer sites on the web). There is also little consequence for someone to sue. In NC, for instance, anyone can sue you over anything with impunity--it only costs the litigant $75 to file a suit. It can cost the defendant tens of thousand of dollars to go to court over one of these frivolous claims, even if he/she is totally innocent. My advice is to always treat your patients with the utmost respect (as if that were your mother, father, sister, brother, son, or daughter lying in the bed). The "mother test" is a very good rule of thumb. Patients are less likely to sue the nurse who bonds well with them. Also, most importantly, always know and follow your facility's policy and procedure, and document succinctly but thoroughly and objectively (over documenting can be just as bad as under documenting). For, as we all learn in nursing school....if it is not documented, THEN IT IS NOT DONE in the eyes of a court of law. Purchase your own malpractice insurance (don't rely on the hospital's!!!!)... NSO is a bargain at only $20/year for students and ~$80/year for practising RN's.
  5. by   Carolanne
    We get the NSO policy for our school too. For $20, it's good peace of mind and protection for the year. When I took my CPR renewal class last weekend, the instructor said it is his experience that an alarming number of people who have the ability to help in an emergency situation do not help because of the fear of being sued if the situation has an unhappy ending. This saddened me, the thought that people hold back because of the fear of people with dollar signs in their eyeballs. I meant to ask him if a policy such as NSO would cover for example us students who might become involved in a situation outside of the hospital clinical setting. If we assisted someone on the street and were faced with a lawsuit later, would the insurance still cover us?
  6. by   VickyRN
    "If we assisted someone on the street and were faced with a lawsuit later, would the insurance still cover us?" Very good question--don't have the answer. You may want to email NSO and get the answer from them, straight from the "horse's mouth" so to speak (and then please let us know what you find out ). I do know that most states have Good Samaritan laws in place. Don't know the specifics of these laws or how much "protection" they offer in the event of lawsuits.
  7. by   Jen2
    I also had to purchase liability insurance through my school for $17.00. This gives us 3 mill in coverage.
  8. by   Monica RN,BSN
    Originally posted by Carolanne
    We get the NSO policy for our school too. For $20, it's good peace of mind and protection for the year. When I took my CPR renewal class last weekend, the instructor said it is his experience that an alarming number of people who have the ability to help in an emergency situation do not help because of the fear of being sued if the situation has an unhappy ending. This saddened me, the thought that people hold back because of the fear of people with dollar signs in their eyeballs. I meant to ask him if a policy such as NSO would cover for example us students who might become involved in a situation outside of the hospital clinical setting. If we assisted someone on the street and were faced with a lawsuit later, would the insurance still cover us?

    I have carried NSO for many years, and my policy is for 1 million dollars / 6 million aggregate. It does cover you off the job as a good samaritian. Cost: 89.oo a year. Well worth it in my opinion.

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