Elisheva is right -- the insurance is not just about covering a judgment against you, it's also about paying for legal representation. Just the first hour
of consultation with an attorney will cost you more than the annual premium for the insurance -- why take the risk?
Also, if you believe that your employer hospital's insurance will cover you if anything serious happens you are living in a dream world
. I worked for several years as a hospital surveyor for my state and the Feds, and part of my job was investigating patient complaints and unusual/unexpected deaths. Often (typically
), when an incident had occurred with a really bad outcome, an incident that obviously had the potential to turn into a lawsuit for the hospital, by the time my team arrived to investigate (often just a day or two after the incident occurred), the hospital administration had already figured out which RN to "blame" and had promptly fired that RN in attempt to minimize the facility's liability ("it wasn't our fault, it was that crazy, dangerous nurse ..."
) Often, in reviewing the records and investigating the occurrence, it appeared obvious that the RN who got blamed and fired hadn't done anything worse than just happen to be the poor schmoe who had been caring for that
patient on that
shift. If I saw this scenario once (with my own two eyes), I saw it a hundred times ...
BUT, as soon as the hospital fires her/him, s/he's no longer covered by the hospital's insurance. And, if s/he doesn't already have an individual policy, there's no insurance company on earth
that will offer you coverage for an incident that has already happened
, so this nurse is screwed and left to dangle in the wind, all alone.
Another consideration is that most standard nursing liability policies cover you for legal expenses related to being a witness in a suit against someone else -- and, if you are going to have to be deposed or testify in court for or against a colleague, you want
to have your own legal representation. Most standard policies also provide coverage for legal representation if you have to go before the BON for any kind of disciplinary action against your license. Both these situations (being called as a witness and having to defend your license before the BON) are much more likely than you ever actually being sued ... But, again, jut the first hour of consultation with an attorney will cost you more than the annual premium for the insurance.
My father is a phyician, and he advised me when I was in nursing school (a hundred years ago
) to never even think
about practicing without my own coverage -- and everything I've seen since then has just reinforced to me what good advice that was. It's the best ~$100 I spend every year.