? Get Malpractice: Importance of Professional Liability Insurance in Managing Risk

  1. info under activism link, now placing own thread to this important topic. karen

    the importance of professional liability insurance in managing risk added 9/15/2004

    the information and knowledge gained should assist nurses in all clinical practice areas to take control and manage the risks within their individual workplace and nursing practice.
    ceu credit no longer available, but good info. karen

    the nursing risk management series:
    these independent study modules are:

    i: "an overview of risk management"

    ii: "the rewards and risks of the functional aspects of nursing education, information systems and management" and

    iii. "ethical issues and specific risk hazards faced by nurses in their practice."

    to purchase or not to purchase, that is the question

    many nurses believe that if they purchase professional liability insurance, they will increase their chances of being named in a malpractice suit. many employers encourage this notion, as it is easier and more economical for an employer to manage a liability claim if the interests of individual employees are not being individually protected. the fact is, however, that most. lawsuits are filed before a plaintiff's attorney has any knowledge of whether a defendant has insurance or not. it is only during the discovery phase that this information is learned. and, in today's world, the plaintiff's attorney will name everyone who is remotely connected to a patient's care in order to have the largest sum of money available as possible to satisfy a damage award. if you have signed the chart, you will probably be named, even if the care provided is tangential to the events which actually caused the injury.

    other nurses believe that their employer's professional liability insurance provides all of the coverage needed. while this is certainly true in the majority of cases, there may be instances in which the interests of an individual may be in conflict with that of the employer. in fact, if the event leading to a malpractice claim was contrary to the policies and protocols established by the employer and the employer is sued, the employer can file a claim against the practitioner to recover awarded damages and attorney fees.

    a third reason for considering the purchase of personal professional liability protection is for acts performed outside of the scope of employment. as an example, if a nurse accepts a moonlighting position, a full-time employer's insurance plan will not cover any adverse events. nurses are commonly called upon by friends, neighbors, and relatives to assess a medical situation and to provide care or to suggest a course of action. if erroneous advice or care is given, the nurse can be sued for the resulting injury. again, the employer's policy would not respond as the event did not occur in the course of employment activities; the nurse would be personally liable for all resulting expenses.

    and what about good samaritan acts such as stopping to assist in an automobile accident or attending to a person who falls on the street? while most states have good samaritan statutes which prevent making a claim against an individual who assists another without being remunerated for care given in an emergency situation, individual events such as a claim for gross negligence could waive the protection afforded by such a statute. and, furthermore, these statutes, although providing some protection against loss, do not protect against being sued and incurring the cost of defense.

    if, after understanding the limitations of employer supplied liability insurance, a nurse makes an informed decision to rely on this risk transfer vehicle, he/she should investigate the nature of the policy/plan affording the protection. it might also be advisable to request a copy of your employer's policy/plan and have it reviewed by an insurance professional.

    adapted from: massachusetts nurse - may 2005
    taking risks: does your employer provide enough liability insurance coverage?
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jul 21, '07
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    About NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN Moderator

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 27,409; Likes: 13,622
    PI Compliance Specialist, prior Central Intake Mgr Home Care Agency; from PA , US
    Specialty: 35+ year(s) of experience in Home Care, VentsTelemetry, Home infusion


  3. by   linzz
    Thanks for posting this article. Although I am in Canada, with all the cutbacks occuring, it seems that the risk we take each day seems to really be increasing. Great article.
  4. by   sinagbayan
    wow! this is very enlightening. thanks.
  5. by   VickyRN
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jan 12, '09 : Reason: Updated link
  6. by   VickyRN
  7. by   llg
    The bill for my annual renewal of my professional liability insurance came in the mail just today. It's $114.00 per year. It's such a small price to pay for secruity it provides, I can't imagine going without it. I bought my first policy 30 years ago when I graduated from school and have never let it lapse.
  8. by   SlimDivaLPN07
    This is very good and useful information, espically for nurses just starting out. thanks:spin: