Should I Carry Malpractice (Liability) Insurance? - page 14

by sirI, MSN, APRN, NP Admin | 206,820 Views | 203 Comments

This question comes up frequently and is asked of me quite often, "should I carry malpractice insurance?" Many nurses are covered under their own individual liability insurance carrier. Many more are not. I am.......... Are you??... Read More


  1. 1
    what is appropriate insurance for private duty nurses?
    Check out the links on the first page for liability insurance companies.
    lamazeteacher likes this.
  2. 5
    Contact an insurance company to find out what coverage would suit your needs best. One that you can check out is the Nurses Service Organization (NSO / CNA) at Professional Liability Insurance for nurses, nursing medical malpractice..

    As I have posted in the past, the primary reason that I advocate that nurses should have their own liability insurance is not because of the risk of being sued for malpractice, but rather because the policy covers attorney fees for license protection. The number of complaints against nurses (usually by the nurse's employer) to the state boards of nursing are on the rise. This fact makes it much more likely that a nurse may be the subject of a complaint and nursing board investigation rather than a defendant in a malpractice lawsuit. Most nurses know at least one nurse who has had to face potential disciplinary action against their license by the board. Just look at your State Board of Nursing's website for the statistics. Even first time DUIs are now being investigated by some nursing boards and may jeopardize a nurses' license. Your license is your livelihood. If you were being investigated by a nursing board, wouldn't you want an attorney to represent you? Legal representation for a board action, depending on the complexity, can cost thousands of dollars. NSO's license protection provides up to $25,000 for legal fees and costs. I'd say that's well worth the $100 premium.
    surviveslu, cherryames1949, sirI, and 2 others like this.
  3. 7
    hi-

    i've read a good number of replies here. and, i'm writing this from the perspective of someone who has managed litigation in a large medical center where nurses (including the nurse executive (yes, cnos can be held culpable for nursing care in their departments)) were named as defendants. so, here is the input from my perspective.

    most risk managers will tell you that you do not need to carry pl (professional liability) insurance because you are covered under the policy of the institution you are working. generally, this is true. there are caveats to this, like if you're a mid-level provider (np, nm or crna, for instance). but, most institutions will cover you under their policy. here's where it may get 'sticky':
    are you an agency nurse? if you are, the organization you work for needs to have $1m/$3m limits. however, some agencies have 'issues' with their coverage and limits. also, agencies have gone after their staff (that has since moved on) for damages awarded to plaintiffs if anything the nurse did as a registry staff was questionable. if you are an agency nurse, you are an idiot if you don't have this type of protection.
    do you work in a highly litigious specialty? labor and delivery, or and ed are very heavy with malpractice allegations. who's going to compensate you for deposition/discovery time, travel time, time off work, etc. if the malpractice claim was opened 4 years ago and you've since moved on?
    do you believe the 'if i have insurance it's just a reason to be named as a defendant' motto? don't. while it's true that if you have pl coverage and you are named, the organization you are a co-defendant with may attempt to collect part of the defense costs w/ your pl carrier, this is a small draw-back from knowing you have participated in the defense effort. and, what happens if during the course of discovery the organizations defense strategy doesn't mesh with yours? if you have your own pl coverage, your carrier is able to secure you separate defense council.
    and, the big one: what happens if your license is called into question? no organization is going to willingly provide you with counsel for this type of hearing. your pl carrier will (depending on the coverage you purchase).
    bottom line: nurses are being called more often to provide aggressive nursing care. simply stating "i called the doctor" isn't cutting the mustard any longer. as society has gotten older and the healthcare system has become more burdened, nurses have moved from 'custodial' roles to 'professional' roles. this makes having pl coverage a no-brainer.
    talaxandra, NRSKarenRN, surviveslu, and 4 others like this.
  4. 5
    I still believe the risk of a nurse being named as a defendant in a malpractice case is remote. I have practiced law for over 17 years now. In the past I handled medical malpractice cases - both defense and plaintiff - in California and Nevada. I have never seen a staff nurse named individually in a lawsuit. The hospitals are named as defendants because (1) they are legally responsible for the actions and negligence of their employees, including nurses; and (2) their insurance policy will cover any claims for negligence. Thus, there is no reason to name the nurse individually, even if he/she carries his/her own malpractice insurance. Further, an attorney cannot discover whether a particular nurse has insurance until a lawsuit has been filed against that nurse. Therefore, the fact that a nurse has insurance is not the determining factor of whether or not they will be named in the lawsuit. However, nurses are usually called as witnesses in malpractice cases since they have knowledge and information regarding the alleged negligence and care of the patient. In any event, if a nurse is either named as a defendant or as a witness, if they have their own liability insurance, they will be able to hire their own lawyer to protect their interests, which, depending on the facts, may be adverse to the hospital's interests. Nurses often mistakenly believe that the hospital's attorney is "their" attorney - - nothing could be further from the truth. The hospital attorney is hired to protect the hospital, not the nurse.
  5. 0
    Medical professionals are compensated for appearing at depositions (preliminary trials for recording testimony that may conflict with that given in court, at attorney's offices), court appearances, conferences, and any research they do. Nurses should expect nothing less (or more) than their hourly rate for that, and can bill the attorney and client on the side for which they appear. They should not bill for their time while working and receiving pay for that at the same time (duh, but some people have done that).

    I haven't heard of any malpractise/negligence lawsuits that take years for a judgment.... so you shouldn't be without compensation very long, if you request being called by the legal party when the time for your testimony has almost (giving you time to get there, park, and find the courtroom) arrived. That is, spending days doing nothing (in most courts) is a thing of the past. Nowadays, courts give attorneys pagers, so they can be earning their pay, not sitting around reading stuff that has nothing to do with the trial, while waiting for a court room. (I used to tell my husband - a civil trial attorney about that possibility, decades before it actually happened - and it did, though it took much longer than it should have.) Clients are billed for time the attorneys take to get to court, at court, etc. A law firm that receives money from clients who are plaintiffs up front, should pay a nurse from that amount, in a timely manner, despite what the former hospital administrator, DougMSN,RN said in post # 132.

    He was right about having your own insurance policy, but that is so that an attorney represents you, and keeps anything you might say in court from harming you. The hospital's attorneys work for the hospital, not the nurse. They know whose "pockets are deeper".
  6. 0
    I have always carried malpractice insurance. It was called to my attention as a new grad and I took the advice. Thanks for the timely reminder.
  7. 0
    I think It's a must have.
  8. 1
    @lamazeteacher post #122

    Hi! I wanted to know what insurance did you have that cost $67/yr. I looked through the links that were posted and haven't found one for that rate which I rather pay than anything over $100. If you remember could you please let me know? Thanks!
    lamazeteacher likes this.
  9. 2
    Quote from yaya21
    @lamazeteacher post #122

    Hi! I wanted to know what insurance did you have that cost $67/yr. I looked through the links that were posted and haven't found one for that rate which I rather pay than anything over $100. If you remember could you please let me know? Thanks!
    Just like auto or homeowner's insurance, typical premiums for professional liability coverage vary from state to state. The rates that you get offered will depend on (among other things) what state you're practicing in -- it doesn't matter how low or high premiums are in other states.
    talaxandra and lamazeteacher like this.
  10. 0
    I see...ah well such is life. Sucks though lol.


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