Personal malpractice insurance....yes or no? - page 3

We had this discussion at work the other day. One of the points against it was that lawyers will go for the person(s) with the most malpractice insurance. Also I know, I've been told that the... Read More

  1. by   Jolie
    Quote from James Huffman
    Fine. Then I ask my original questions again.

    If you make a mistake, will you immediately compensate for the damage done?

    Or would you wait for a jury trial?

    And if you would wait, why would you wait? Why should an attorney get 35-40% of a settlement from your insurance carrier?

    Jim Huffman
    Jim, I already answered this question on the other thread. While I find this to be an interesting topic of debate, I don't have the time or inclination to repeat my posts. Please check there, and add your comments.
  2. by   mscsrjhm
    Quote from Jolie
    Jim, I already answered this question on the other thread. While I find this to be an interesting topic of debate, I don't have the time or inclination to repeat my posts. Please check there, and add your comments.


    With all due respect, you didn't quite answer the question as to why you would wait for a jury trial (which wouldn't happen), instead of paying. If you made a mistake that greatly affected someone's life, would you just sign over your checks/house/auto?
  3. by   ayndim
    Quote from Mschrisco

    With all due respect, you didn't quite answer the question as to why you would wait for a jury trial (which wouldn't happen), instead of paying. If you made a mistake that greatly affected someone's life, would you just sign over your checks/house/auto?
    I wouldn't be able to sign over all my checks/house/auto as I have a family to support to. That is why I have insurance. If I thought I was at fault and the insurance denied the claim, which I am not sure they can do if I said "Yes I am responsible" then I would try to do what I could. If I knew I did something life altering I would let my insurance company know and have them contact the person/family first. Maybe it could be done without a lawyer then. If I could help monetarily I would. But no I would not take from my own family to give to someone else. I am not that unselfish. My own children will always come first. However, I would not be buying them designer duds in that case. If I could help in other ways (i.e., babysitting a child w/cp so parents could have a break or helping the family find resources, such as social security benefits for the disabled.)

    My biggest pet peeve is lack of responsibility. I hate when people try to get out of stuff. Like if someone rear ends another person when driving. They still try to make excuses. Just step up to the plate and admit what you did. And deal with it. NO EXCUSES! And the people who are out to make a quick buck. The point of compensation is not to make you in a better position than before. It is to make sure you aren't in a worse position. Some pain and suffering compensation is normal but some of the verdicts are ridiculous. So if you are a drug addict who lives on the street with no job you cannot expect your family to be compensated as much as the family that lost a bread winner who earned $50,000 year.

    My personal experience is that I lost my mom in May 2000, three days before Mother's Day. It was thought to have been a heart attack but it was a blood clot. My mom had suffered from these before and was on Coumadin. She was taken off for a test but then they scheduled it so far out and she wasn't told to start taking it again (she was in her 70's). Well if the dr would have followed up or if the nurse would have told her to take it until X days before the test she would probably be alive. The dr told her not to take it until the test and didn't realize that it would be so far. The nurse didn't realize the dr told her not to take it. We didn't sue the dr but you can bet I reported it. No money could replace my mom. There is no way to put our family back to its original position. Why is it people think money is due them in that case. What is due is an apology from the dr and to admit he caused my mom's death. No I didn't report the nurse as she had no way of knowing my mom was even on it.
    Last edit by ayndim on Jul 1, '04
  4. by   BabyRN2Be
    If I become a nurse (and as I mentioned in another forum, my dreams of becoming a nurse might be slowly fading off into the sunset ) and I remain single... I don't know, after reading what SmilingBluEyes wrote a few posts back, it's probably worth the peace of mind. But, suits follow the money trail, and as a nurse, I probably won't have the assets to worry about it.

    Now, if I'm married to the guy I'm currently dating, he'll MAKE me buy insurance. He's a natural born worrier and I can definitely see him insisting that I buy a policy. Not that I blame him if we are married.
  5. by   mscsrjhm
    Quote from ayndim
    I wouldn't be able to sign over all my checks/house/auto as I have a family to support to. That is why I have insurance. If I thought I was at fault and the insurance denied the claim, which I am not sure they can do if I said "Yes I am responsible" then I would try to do what I could. If I knew I did something life altering I would let my insurance company know and have them contact the person/family first. Maybe it could be done without a lawyer then. If I could help monetarily I would. But no I would not take from my own family to give to someone else. I am not that unselfish. My own children will always come first. However, I would not be buying them designer duds in that case. If I could help in other ways (i.e., babysitting a child w/cp so parents could have a break or helping the family find resources, such as social security benefits for the disabled.)
    Quote from ayndim

    My biggest pet peeve is lack of responsibility. I hate when people try to get out of stuff. Like if someone rear ends another person when driving. They still try to make excuses. Just step up to the plate and admit what you did. And deal with it. NO EXCUSES! And the people who are out to make a quick buck. The point of compensation is not to make you in a better position than before. It is to make sure you aren't in a worse position. Some pain and suffering compensation is normal but some of the verdicts are ridiculous. So if you are a drug addict who lives on the street with no job you cannot expect your family to be compensated as much as the family that lost a bread winner who earned $50,000 year.

    My personal experience is that I lost my mom in May 2000, three days before Mother's Day. It was thought to have been a heart attack but it was a blood clot. My mom had suffered from these before and was on Coumadin. She was taken off for a test but then they scheduled it so far out and she wasn't told to start taking it again (she was in her 70's). Well if the dr would have followed up or if the nurse would have told her to take it until X days before the test she would probably be alive. The dr told her not to take it until the test and didn't realize that it would be so far. The nurse didn't realize the dr told her not to take it. We didn't sue the dr but you can bet I reported it. No money could replace my mom. There is no way to put our family back to its original position. Why is it people think money is due them in that case. What is due is an apology from the dr and to admit he caused my mom's death. No I didn't report the nurse as she had no way of knowing my mom was even on it.


    I am so very sorry to hear about your mother. Such a sad example of how easy it is to make very simple, yet lethal mistakes.
  6. by   cabbage patch rn
    Just curious, for those that have mp insurance, what company did you go with?

    On a side note, I attended a conferernce a few years back that talked about ways to avoid being named in a lawsuit. The biggest thing I took from it was that patients do not usually sue people that were kind to them or nurses/doctors that they liked. I've always tried to follow that advice because it makes a lot of sense.
  7. by   P_RN
    This is a very frequent topic here. A search will reveal many, many previous threads.
  8. by   rdhdnrs
    I work in a University Hospital in OB. We had a meeting with our risk-management attorney on just this subject. She advised against getting insurance because where I work, if the hospital is sued, it does not go to civil court, it goes before a board of governors appointed by the state, and they can only hear lawsuits against the hospital, not individual nurses. I think it's different with MDs, though.
  9. by   breastfeedingRN
    just wanted to add a comment on patient's not suing doctors/nurses they thought were nice to them and "liked". i had a post-op gyne patient a few weeks ago. she went in for a bilateral tubal ligation and the doctor accidentally perforated her uterus. it was small and was repaired. there was a question as to whether her bowel was also injured, so they admited her for observation. in report i was told she was there to "pass gas."

    anyway, during the whole night she kept saying sorry for being in pain, etc. she also said how horrible she felt for the doctor that operated on her. i could tell she genuinely liked him and that he must have been open and honest with her about what happened. she wasn't bitter at all, mostly kept apologizing for not being able to get her pain under control, etc. i later found out he had perfed her bowel and she had to have a second surgery and was lucky she didn't get septic and die.

    anyway, my point is, she liked him and i really doubt she would sue. so i think there might be something to the fact of if they like you or not.
  10. by   lauriesalRNC
    I dont have it, mostly b/c it is EXTREMELY hard to find a nurse liable in a " birth injury " suit b/c as we all know most of the lawsuits that occur are bogus. In cases of legit lawsuits, usually it is STILL hard to find the nurse liable b/c in order to do so it would have to be proven that the nurse either had malicious intent to harm someone ( and not too many nurses actually do this!) or that the nurse was totally incompetent which also doesnt happen often. If you know how to read a strip and notify the doc accordingly and follow your L&D policy book, it is very difficult for anyone to find you guilty. In shoulder dystocia cases, unless you apply fundal pressure, the nurse really isnt liable. But again, that falls under knowing your policies....every L&D nurse knows not to apply fundal pressure for a dystocia , if you do then the jury SHOULD hang you. In cases of CP, studies show that most CP occurs as a result of infarcts in the brain prior to the mom ever going into labor so you;d have to be looking at a pretty crappy strip and the nurse totally ignoring it in order for her to be found guilty. No nurse that i know is going to sit there and watch a crappy strip and not intervene. Also where I live ( NJ) no nurse has ever been sued for the amt greater than what was covered by the hosp ins and found guilty... so i feel pretty safe about that. Now, I know I could pay $100 and have more coverage but to me I just dont think it would change anything.

    Quote from palesarah
    I just picked up coverage this week actually. Most of my coworkers (in LDRP) don't have it, they throw out the lawyers will go after you if you have it argument... but some of these same nurses also don't hold any property in their name "just in case". Personally I'd rather have the peace of mind a personal policy provides. I'm a young, new nurse, I've got a good 30+ years of potential wages that could be garnished should a suit be filed and lost.

    It's not about being a good nurse or a bad nurse; you can be the best nurse in the world and still have a case with a bad outcome.
  11. by   Mahogany
    In some Units, there is "normalization of diviance". Although standards of practice exists, when there is a shortage of "nursing leadership", and the docs. are allowed to create a new "Unit Policy" whenever they feel like, and there is a poor outcome, do not expect my hospital or nursing management to stand by you, the good nurse.

    I do not know one way or the other, if m/p insurance would be advantageous, but what I do know is that you be legal-minded. You need to document as though an Attorney is always sitting over you. The docs. get to write retrospective notes, nurses don't.
    Last edit by Mahogany on May 10, '05
  12. by   midwife2b
    Not sure if this helps, but my sister in law was deposed in a lawsuit several years ago when she worked in a psych facility. She did have her own malpractice insurance (1 million/3 million) and she thought she was "protected". Initially the lawsuit didn't specify her by name, but lumped "employees of xxx psych center working on ward c, 5/13/95". She was later named because the plaintiffs wanted to go to trial.
    Let me tell you... it was a NIGHTMARE for her! Her personal malpractice insurance would not pay a dime until she liquidated all her personal assets. Most of her property was held in both her and my brothers names, so they were at a standstill for about 2 years. All that "protection" didn't kick in until she and my brother were almost penniless. Yes, they decided to sell all their jointly owned property because there were her personal attorney fees, etc. to pay.
    She was the supervising RN on the unit and didn't have anything to do with the actual patient event, but "should have known" about it. Very complicated and unfortunate case that eventually was settled just before the trial began. They are back on their feet again, and she has since become a FNP, but she will be the first to say NO! to personal malpractice insurance if you are a staff nurse.
    Maybe laws differ in different states...
  13. by   James Huffman
    Quote from midwife2b
    Not sure if this helps, but my sister in law was deposed in a lawsuit several years ago when she worked in a psych facility. She did have her own malpractice insurance (1 million/3 million) and she thought she was "protected". Initially the lawsuit didn't specify her by name, but lumped "employees of xxx psych center working on ward c, 5/13/95". She was later named because the plaintiffs wanted to go to trial.
    Let me tell you... it was a NIGHTMARE for her! Her personal malpractice insurance would not pay a dime until she liquidated all her personal assets. Most of her property was held in both her and my brothers names, so they were at a standstill for about 2 years. All that "protection" didn't kick in until she and my brother were almost penniless. Yes, they decided to sell all their jointly owned property because there were her personal attorney fees, etc. to pay.
    She was the supervising RN on the unit and didn't have anything to do with the actual patient event, but "should have known" about it. Very complicated and unfortunate case that eventually was settled just before the trial began. They are back on their feet again, and she has since become a FNP, but she will be the first to say NO! to personal malpractice insurance if you are a staff nurse.
    Maybe laws differ in different states...
    I'm a little baffled by this, but let me throw out a few thoughts.

    I don't think that malpractice insurance is a good idea for most nurses, but there's something not right about this story. In the first place, ANYONE should read a policy (of any type) very carefully. If there's a provision in a policy such as was mentioned above, the "liquidation of personal assets, such a policy should be completely avoided. Having said that, I've NEVER heard of an insurance policy -- malpractice or otherwise -- that only kicked in after such a provision. Are you sure this was a malpractice policy? And did the policy (after their "liquidation of assets") reimburse them for the assets?

    If it was a malpractice policy, and if it was structured like that, the issue is probably not one of state law, but of a very, very bad contract. (Bad for the nurse, not for the company).

    As I said, something's not right about this scenario. Malpractice insurance is not a good idea, but this was not a normal malpractice policy.

    Jim Huffman, RN

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